TRENTON, N.J. (CBS/CNN) — New Jersey lawmakers are set to vote on a controversial bill that would eliminate religion as a reason not to vaccinate public school children on Monday. Anti-vaccination protestors demonstrated outside of the State House in Trenton last week after final amendments were made to the bill.
“I’m against taking all the control out of parents’ hands and putting it in the government’s hands,” Beata Savreski, a mother of three children, said. “I grew up in communism. This is worse than communism.”
Critics say requiring the vaccinations is unconstitutional, but the Centers for Disease Control says vaccinations are essential to protect children.
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, a sponsor of the bill, said vaccinations are a public health issue and pointed to the fatal consequences of infectious disease in a statement to CNN.
“Everyone is entitled to express their opinions but we have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of all children, the people in their lives and in their communities,” Weinberg said. “We will get this done because it is the right thing to do and I believe we have the support in the Senate to get this legislation approved on Monday with the exemption for private schools and day care centers that choose to allow unvaccinated students.”
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s office declined to comment, citing the pending legislation.
The legislation is expected to pass in both the Senate and the Assembly.
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