- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A spokeswoman for Gov. Greg Abbott says he encourages all parents to have their children vaccinated but supports Texas law allowing families to opt out of them.

In an email Thursday, Abbott spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said the governor “recognizes the important public health benefits of vaccines” and noted that his daughter was vaccinated.

But Chasse said Abbott “supports current Texas law that he believes strikes the right balance.”

Since 2003, Texas has allowed parents to opt out of vaccinating their children if they have medical reasons for doing so or religious or personal objections.

The law drew national attention after a recent measles outbreak. As he mounts an expected 2016 presidential run, Abbott predecessor Rick Perry has defended the law but says vaccination rates rose during his tenure.

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