Rogue Valley residents travel to Salem to protest vaccine exemption bill
A group of Rogue Valley residents are gearing up for a trip to Salem to protest House Bill 3063, as a part of the Oregonians for Medical Freedom's protest. The legislation would require all Oregon students to get required immunizations against contractable diseases.
People who are in support of the bill believe is necessary to reduce the health risk of people, particularly those with compromised immune systems who cannot get vaccinations. However, those against the bill argue it is an infringement on their right to choose what medical treatments their children receive.
There's a local group of residents who are renting a school bus in order to allow southern Oregon residents to participate in the Salem rally.
"It's unusual that people would travel almost ten hours for a round trip in one day," science journalist Jennifer Margulis said. "I think that speaks to how strongly parents feel that we shouldn't exclude children from school, based on the decisions from parents."
Margulis, who is a speaker at the rally, said the group is not protesting the vaccines but are instead supporting medical choice.
"People in Oregon want to vaccinate their children," Margulis said. "They do vaccinate their kids, but they are opposed to medical mandates. They're in favor of religious and philosophical freedom. This is not about being against vaccines, it's about whether you think medicine has to be mandated."
Trip organizers said the trip will also give residents time to meet with their elected representatives in order to voice their opinions and concerns directly.
Margulis said they have at least 70 residents, both on the bus and through car pooling, to make the trip up north with them. The group plans to leave from the Natural Grocer's parking lot in Medford at 7 A.M. on Tuesday, April 23.