Debate over vaccine exemptions to come roaring through Maine

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The furious debate over vaccine exemptions will rear its head in Maine this week, when lawmakers begin to consider proposals to make it harder for people to forgo inoculating their children.

A legislative committee will hold a public hearing Monday on a bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Ralph Tucker that would remove the philosophical exemption that allows parents to avoid vaccinating their children. Another bill would require parents to get their doctor to sign off if they choose to opt out for personal reasons.

Supporters say they fear that the growing number of Maine parents declining to inoculate their kids is putting the health of other children at risk.

But the measures face fierce criticism from those who are skeptical about the safety of vaccines and believe lawmakers are trying to trample parents' rights.

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