Tell Gov. Brown: Sign SB 277 and End All "Personal Belief" Vaccine Exemptions

UPDATE 6/29/15:

With your help, today California Senate Bill 277 — a bill that would end vaccination exemptions for school-children based on their parents’ philosophical or religious beliefs — finally passed both houses of the legislature, and is headed to Governor Brown's desk!

Unfortunately, in 2012, Gov. Brown added a last-minute religious exemption to a similar bill, a retreat that would cripple SB 277. Religious exemptions are easily abused by mistaken people looking for any excuse to avoid vaccination, and they put the state in the untenable position of having to determine authentic and sincere religious belief. Like philosophical beliefs in general, sectarian religious beliefs are no excuse to undermine public health. Under the guise of "religious freedom," sectarian religious exemptions only serve to put everyone — especially children and the most vulnerable adults — at risk of otherwise easily preventable diseases and suffering.

The Center for Inquiry strongly supports SB 277 as it is written, and urges you to do the same by contacting Gov. Brown now, using our quick, pre-filled form below, and urging him to sign SB 277 without re-allowing easily abused religious exemptions.


In 2000, the United States announced a historic victory for public health: the Measles virus was effectively eliminated within U.S. borders. But fifteen years later, measles is back with a vengeance, in an outbreak infecting hundreds of people — nearly two-thirds of whom are Californians. Measles infection rates, along with those of whooping cough (Pertussis), are at their highest level in decades.

Why? Because not enough Americans are getting vaccinated.

They’re not getting vaccinated due to religious dogmas, disproven conspiracy theories, and other deep-seated views that, unfortunately, reject accepted science. These mistaken beliefs lead to negligent acts that harm others, and they’re too often protected by law: 19 states, including California, allow parents to exempt their children from vaccination requirements if they deem the vaccination “contrary to their beliefs.”

That’s why California state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Sen. Ben Allen (D-Redondo Beach) have co-authored an important bill (Senate Bill 277) that would end vaccination exemptions for children based on their parents’ beliefs — religious or otherwise. The Center for Inquiry (CFI) strongly supports this measure and urges you to tell Gov. Brown to do the same.

Here’s why this measure is so critical for public health: Aside from protecting individual children, vaccines work through “herd immunity,” whereby those who can’t receive a vaccine — because they're too young, too old, sick, or pregnant — and those few people for whom the vaccine doesn’t work, are shielded from a disease by everyone around them who can be vaccinated getting vaccinated. As the recent past has proven, when vaccination rates are high enough the measles vaccine (MMR) is nearly 100 percent effective at halting the disease. Yet California has one of the lowest measles vaccination rates in the United States, which explains the latest eruption and spread of measles from there.

CFI urges you to use our pre-made letter to contact Gov. Brown right now and ask that he stand up to protect sound science, and his fellow Californians, by signing Senate Bill 277 as it is written, without re-allowing easily abused religious exemptions!


  • Your Governor


*Required fields


Sign SB 277: End All Personal Belief Vaccine Exemptions

Dear Governor Brown [Decision Maker],

As a constituent, and friend of the Center for Inquiry, I am writing to urge you to sign a crucial bill, Senate Bill 277, introduced by Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Sen. Ben Allen (D-Redondo Beach), and to do so without re-allowing easily abused "religious" exemptions, which would only serve to undermine public health.

I strongly support Senate Bill 277, and the sound science it represents. I ask that you stand up for the people of California--including our most vulnerable neighbors--by signing SB 277 as it stands, without re-allowing easily abused "religious" exemptions.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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