The activist group Mainers for Health and Parental Rights has submitted some 78,000 signatures certified by local registrars to suspend the state’s new vaccine law until the voters have their say on the issue next spring. Supporters of the law are vowing a fight to keep it.
“Many Mainers have never heard of this incredibly punitive and overreaching law that allows our government to mandate medical intervention in exchange for receiving any kind of education, whether private or public,” says Cara Sacks of Mainers for Health and Parental Rights.
At issue is legislation passed earlier this year by the legislature which mandates certain vaccinations for children attending public and private schools in Maine. The new law eliminates exceptions for personal or religious reasons, but does still allow an exemption for medical reasons. supporters of the legislation say its needed to protect the public from potentially serious diseases, and have created a political action committee to defend the measure.
The Secretary of State’s office is now reviewing the validity of the petitions.
“We have a great Secretary of State and we trust that Matt Dunlap and his team will do a really professional review of the petitions that have been submitted today and make sure they are all valid and we will take it from there,” says Caitlin Gilmet of Maine Families for Vaccines. “We will see what needs to happen in terms of a challenge or a campaign.”