Only three months into the new year, the U.S. is already experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of measles in recent years. But even still, anti-vaccination lawmakers and constituents alike are pushing for laxer rules regarding whether kids get inoculated.
State lawmakers in Oregon will consider a bill supported by the "vaccine hesitant" that requires state health authorities to create a website that details all vaccine ingredients, package inserts, and other information.This is despite the 74 cases of measles this year in Washington state and Oregon, which make up almost half of the measles cases since Jan. 1.Meanwhile, anti- and pro-inoculation lawmakers in New York are fighting to both expand and eliminate vaccination exemptions, respectively. One bill in Texas goes so far as to prohibit the state government from tracking exemptions at all.
While most—if not all—are unlikely to pass, the present debate shows how controversial the topic has become during a time in which three Republican presidential candidates claimed falsely that vaccines cause autism. Donald Trump, who made the claim during his campaign, has been silent on the issue since his election.
Public health advocates and pro-vaccine lawmakers have even received harassment and death threats. Oregon state Rep. Mitch Greenlick introduced OR HB3063, a bill which proposes to eliminate all exemptions except those based on medical grounds. "We still get messages that say these diseases are good for you. And that old 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger,'" he said.
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