Earlier this month, an attorney for the venerable civil rights group wrote a letter to the bill’s two Democratic authors, Richard Pan of Sacramento and Ben Allen of Santa Monica, raising alarms about the bill’s constitutionality.
Under the California Constitution, wrote Kevin G. Baker, legislative director of the ACLU of California’s Center for Advocacy and Policy, children have the right to a public education.
The ACLU does not take issue with the wisdom of vaccinating children against the full range of childhood diseases, nor with the fact that serious public health risks can occur when vaccination rates fall below what is required for herd immunity. But, Baker wrote, the bill does not explain why the state has a “compelling interest” in requiring that all students in every school be vaccinated.
This, of course, dovetails neatly with the anti-vaccine camp’s overheated accusations that the bill will create a “police state.” “If SB 277 becomes law,”anti-vaccine activist Laura Hayes said at an April 8 rally at the Capitol, “police will be required to forcibly take our children, against our will, to be force-vaccinated.”