By one vote margin, Maine Senate removes religious exemptions from vaccine bill

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The Maine Senate has voted to remove religious exemptions from vaccination requirements for children.

The decision came down to a single vote.

The 18 to 17 vote reverses a vote in the Senate last week that kept religious exemptions in the bill.

The House has already approved the measure.

The bill requires that starting in 2021, Maine kids would have to be immunized in order to attend school or daycare, unless a physician determines that the vaccine would cause a health risk to them.

Northe Saunders, a parent says, "I'm really proud of our legislature today. My kids are vaccinated and I really believe in the science behind vaccines. They are proven and it's a public health issue. "

Representative Stacey Guerin, a Republican representing Glenburn says, "I think this was a very dark day for religious freedom and for personal freedom. Our bodies as when we are born we should have the right to maintain that impurity and not be forced by the government to have vaccines."

If the Governor signs off on the bill, Maine would become one of 31 states in the U.S. to enact similar legislation.