Maine House Votes To Strike Down Nonmedical Vaccination Exemptions

Apr 24, 2019

The Maine House voted on Tuesday to repeal all but one exemption to Maine vaccination laws, but not without lengthy debate.

House members debated for over an hour before voting 78 to 59 to repeal the exemptions to state law, which requires vaccinations before a child can attend school. The lone remaining exemption is for medical reasons. An attempt to keep the religious exemption in the law failed 64 to 72.

Supporters argued vaccinations save lives and prevent the spread of dangerous diseases such as measles.

York Democratic Rep. Patty Hymanson is a retired doctor who supported the bill.

“It was completely within my discussion with the patient and a decision between the two of us that we would come to a decision yes or no, based on science and data,” she says.

Opponents argued forcing a parent to have their children vaccinated is a civil rights violation.

“This is a civil rights violation. We are violating the civil rights of these individuals. Quite frankly, this is un-American,” says Rep. Beth O’Connor, a Berwick Republican.

The measure now goes to the State Senate for consideration.

Originally published April 23, 2019 at 3:36 p.m. ET.