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Bill Would Support Parents Opting Out Of Child Vaccinations

DENVER (CBS4) - Many blame the expanding measles outbreak on the increased number of families choosing not to vaccinate their children. Now there may be a bill to support those parents who are against vaccines.

Parents can already opt out of state mandated vaccines for their children, but State Sen. Tim Neville, a Republican, wanted to make it clear in a bill already drawing sharp fire.

"Are vaccines important? Vaccines are important to people, sure, we've had vaccines for many things, but it should be up to the parents," Neville said.

Called the parents bill of rights, it would essentially turn everything from curriculum to mental health care into an a la carte menu for parents to choose from.

Neville explained, "There's no way that government can take care of all the needs of children if parents don't step up and aren't put in charge of their own children again."

Child protection organizations call the bill dangerous to at-risk children. Lauren Mueller said abused children could be re-victimized by their parents.

"It means parents who don't have the best interest in mind who may have abused or neglected them, have a lot of choices for their future," she said.

It would "make sure the child has no autonomy and completely subsume them to their parents," said State Sen. Irene Aguilar, a Democrat.

Democrats say the state already gives families enormous leeway for  personal choice, and calls the bill a partisan stunt.

"This feels like grandstanding and posturing, trying to get some press. In their case I almost wonder if they're trying to get negative press," said Aguilar.

The bill will be introduced by Republicans at a Senate hearing Wednesday afternoon. Democrats say it is unlikely to get to the governor's desk.

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