Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Despite impassioned protests outside the statehouse, California Gov. Gavin Newsom authorized new rules late Monday that place limits on who can go without vaccinations.
Newsom signed two bills containing the updated language, which are intended to keep physicians from giving bogus exemptions to parents who don't want to vaccinate their children.
"I thank the governor for standing with science, and once again making California a leader in safeguarding children and communities from diseases that threaten our public health," said California Sen. and pediatrician Richard Pan.
"We are protecting those communities that have been left vulnerable because a few unscrupulous doctors are undermining community immunity."
Republican lawmakers argue the change takes power away from parents.
"This goes past vaccines and is again a major government overreach," Assemblyman Devon Mathis said. "Our medically fragile children are what are at stake."
The changes are a direct result of what's known as the "anti-vax" movement -- led by American parents who believe vaccinations are dangerous, in the face of repeated declarations from the medical community that inoculations are vital to child health.
"[The rules] make clear that [California] will not tolerate physicians who practice outside the accepted standard of care and will prioritize public health and protections for children," the California Medical Association tweeted.
Outside the statehouse in Sacramento, about 200 demonstrators rallied against the new rules. The noise from the protests affected debate in both legislative chambers.