ASHLAND, Ore. — As the Oregon legislature considers a bill that would end non-medical vaccine exemptions for children in Oregon schools, some Southern Oregonian families gathered on Friday to protest what they see as government overreach.
The rallies, planned for 9 a.m. at the Ashland Plaza and 3 p.m. at Vogel Plaza in Medford, featured at least some parents who opted to keep their kids home from school in protest of the bill. Heading the rallies is a group called Southern Oregonians for Medical Freedom.
"The members of Southern Oregonians for Medical Freedom wish to expose the visual reality of what Southern Oregon schools will look like if the many children affected by this bill are ostracized, prevented from attending school, and forced into social isolation from their peers, the clear outcome of HB 3063 if it passes," supporters said in a statement. "The group also seeks to draw attention to the negative financial impact the bill will have on Southern Oregon schools and businesses should it pass."
HB 3063 passed the state House early this week and is set for deliberation in the Senate soon. The bill arose after a measles outbreak that straddled Washington and Oregon earlier in the year, spread primarily through unvaccinated children.
"Southern Oregonians for Medical Freedom believes that medical decisions should be made in the privacy of a doctor’s office and that education should not be weaponized by the state in an attempt to force and coerce families into medical procedures they fundamentally disagree with," the group said.
This is a developing story, and NewsWatch 12 will have more coverage throughout the evening.