Vaccine opponents erupted into cheers when the New Jersey legislature postponed a vote for what could possibly become one of the strictest vaccine laws in the country: a bill to end all religious exemptions.
The delay of the bill, which would apply to all students at any school or college, including all private institutions, came during protests by anti-vaxxers, according to the New York Times.
The decision came amid raucous protests, with dozens of parents and children who oppose mandatory vaccines standing just outside the door to the State Senate stomping and chanting, “Do not touch my child!” Hundreds of other protesters shouted from outside the building.
After the State Assembly passed its version of the bill — 45 to 25, with six abstentions — on Monday afternoon, the bill moved to the Senate, where the vote had been expected to pass by a small margin. But as the evening wore on, lawmakers realized they did not have enough votes.
Cheers from anti-vaccination protesters erupted from the Senate chamber gallery just after 8 p.m. as lawmakers announced the vote would be postponed.
As is often the case, it appears as though some lawmakers may have changed their position on the measure due to the protests from anti-vaxxers. In other words, they let the anti-vaxxers win by pausing legislation that could save lives.
The applause at the delay, seen below, shows how the anti-science activists think they’ve won this one — and many of them have issued celebratory statements — but fortunately not every politician is caving in.
“They can cheer all they want. We’re not walking away from it,” Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney said about the jubilant roar in the chamber after the Senate adjourned without voting on the bill. He added, “It’s just remarkable how people are looking at this and not trusting the science on it at all. They’re trusting the internet…”
Lawmakers can revive the bill in January, before the end of the legislative session on Jan. 13.”
This is a great answer from a lawmaker on this issue because it points out that these anti-vaccine protesters are really just anti-science and pro-disease. After all, the reason this bill was even proposed was because of a massive measles outbreak in the region.
Let’s hope the bill is revived as soon as possible and that other states start applying similar restrictions to private universities that are often the sources of harmful outbreaks of measles and other preventable diseases.
(Screenshot via YouTube)