Watch CBS News

Opponents Of California's Vaccination Law Gather Signatures For Referendum

COSTA MESA ( — Opponents of a mandatory vaccination law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this year have submitted signatures to county registrars statewide in an effort to put the issue up for a referendum.

On Monday, thousands of signatures against SB-277 were submitted.

But challengers didn't stop there.

Chanting "mandate is not consent," about 100 demonstrators gathered outside the Orange County Board of Education. Most of the protesters included mothers and children.

"He lost a lot of his function right after his 18-month shots. He lost language. He lost cognition. He lost eye contact with us and went into this bubble and never has come out," said Rebecca Goddard of her son, Franklin.

She explains that Franklin, who is autistic, had a bad reaction to a vaccination as a baby.

When asked whether Goddard's doctor agreed that it was the vaccination that caused the damage, she said: "Not my first pediatrician but other doctors later, yes."

Lisa Heyrend is the Orange County coordinator of a campaign to challenge SB-277 by putting it to a referendum vote of Californians.

"I really don't believe that this bill is about vaccinations. It's about parental rights. Parental rights to make medical decisions for their children, and if we start giving up these rights, when is enough?" she said. "And that is why I am in this fight."

The author of the vaccination law, Sen. Richard Pan of Sacramento, a pediatrician, says the law will protect children and their classmates in school. He believes the referendum campaign will fail.

"Certainly, they have the right to pursue a referendum, but at the same time, I believe the people of California want to see the communities protected against diseases like measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases," he said.

"My 7-year-old will be vaccinated over my dead body," said Caroline Morgan at the Orange County Board of Education meeting. She and other opponents of the mandatory vaccination law gave board members an earful.

"This mandate is written so that new and more vaccines can be added at any time," Thelma Davis, a mother, said. "They will not all be in our best interest. They will be in the pharmaceutical companies' best interest."

But Pan says the campaign against mandatory vaccinations has included fear and misinformation.

More than 300,000 signatures are required to place the referendum on the ballot. The new law goes into effect next year.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.