LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Southland parents and other protesters gathered Monday in downtown Los Angeles for what they say is their right to choose whether their children are vaccinated against measles and other diseases.

Under California Senate Bill 277, all students would be required to be immunized against measles and whooping cough with one exception – a doctor’s note.

The bill was passed by the Appropriations Committee and is headed for a vote on the State Senate floor. If passed, California will join only two other states without exemptions, Mississippi and West Virginia.

California has been at the heart of the vaccine debate since an outbreak of measles linked to Disneyland earlier this year.

Since then, medical professionals have stressed that vaccinations are needed to protect infants that are too young to get immunized, with many say the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risk.

Other experts have argued against any scientific link between vaccines and autism.

According to the Parents Against SB 277 Facebook page, children who cannot prove they have received all state-mandated vaccinations “will be denied both public and private education, forcing them to receive their education through homeschool.”

Most parents gathered near City Hall for the rally Monday said they’re simply not convinced.

“Our approach to vaccination is it’s ‘one size fits all’, but we all have different genetic makeup,” said protester Alan Hysinger. “We all have different abilities to accept and withstand the toxins that are inherent in vaccines.”

Similar protests were expected to be held across the state today hoping to spark debate ahead of the vote next month.

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