The following comes from a May 14 Southern California Public Radio story by Rebecca Plevin:

The California Senate Thursday approved a controversial bill that would abolish the personal belief exemption and require almost all children enrolling in daycare or school to be vaccinated.

Legislators voted 25 to 10 in favor of SB 277, which would eliminate parents’ option to not vaccinate their children due to philosophical or religious beliefs. It would retain an exemption for kids who can’t be immunized for medical reasons.

The legislation now moves on to the state Assembly. If it becomes law, California will become the 32nd state to ban the personal belief exemption, and the third state to ban the religious exemption.

Senators voted to set aside amendments introduced by Republican senators, including one by Sen. Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) that sought to reinstate the religious exemption. The Senate also tabled an amendment offered by Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) that would have required disclosure of a vaccine’s contents to a child’s parents before immunization. Anderson is concerned that some vaccines contain cells from aborted fetuses.

During the debate on the Senate floor Thursday morning, Sen. Anderson questioned why the bill was removing the religious exemption to vaccinations. He asked, “why is it that a religious exemption is so scary to this Senate body?”

Allen responded, explaining that he called several religious leaders and asked if they had concerns about vaccinations.

“I was consistently told that the Catholic Church does not have an opposition to vaccinations,” Allen said. “In fact, many Catholic priests are working very hard in other parts of the world to vaccinate children and people to protect them from dangerous communicable diseases, as a matter of faith for them, because they care so much about the sanctity of life and the preservation of human health.”