by Jennifer Stella
Well, until recently there have been three bills we are watching (S9, H98/S53), but the political pressure has increased greatly over the last days and at this time we need all thinkers engaged. Here are the issues, concerns and action items:
#1: Who, exactly, decides the “best interests of the child”?
S9, the “Child Protection Bill” declared as a Senate priority, seeks to codify “best interests of the child” into a law that already spells out the need for compliance with medical advice- over the parent/family hierarchy that is currently considered priority #1.
As written, S9 could inadvertently restrict or even criminalize health choices for parents if they disagree with a pedatrician or hospitalist, and could enable some of the nightmare scenarios that we have been witnessing playing out in some states. Examples 1,2,3:
1. Justina Pelletier heads home [from Boston Children’s Hospital] after judge ends state custody; Ruling caps 16-month battle over diagnoses and parental rights (Boston.com 6/17/2014)
2. Can Connecticut Force A Teenage Girl To Undergo Chemotherapy? (NPR 1/8/2015)
NOTE:: S9 needs your action now. Please see: http://www.vaxchoicevt.com/s9-child-protection-bill/
Last week, the “VIAN” held a press conference calling for a repeal to ALL non-medical exemptions, and announced bills they plan to introduce through Rep. Sarah Buxton (and co-supporters), and Sen. Mullin. According to Rep Leigh Dakin, a supporter of exemption repeal, these bills would take us into the land of Mississippi and West Virginia, where no exemptions are allowed if a parent wants their child to go to school, and where medical exemptions which are IMPOSSIBLE to get.
The vaccine choice issue is not about political affiliations or economic status. It is an issue but about civil rights, parental rights and protecting the human right to informed consent to medical risk taking.
Many of us have always considered that parent choice and informed consent are implied already, always. However, a repeal of the philosophical exemption would affect Vermont parents’ ability to make independent health choices that may not fit within a pharmaceutical paradigm; it would affect our rights as parents to make medical choices for our babies and children; and it also cuts off access to our right to a free and appropriate public education.
Being able to say no to drugs is an inalienable, fundamental human right in a free and just society. If the philosophical exemption goes, Vermont parents will presumably be prevented from sending our children to school unless we agree with latest CDC recommendations, and follow them precisely. If we selectively vaccinate, space out the shots, deviate from the “schedule” or refuse, then parents may be investigated for neglect unless we get S9 amended and preserve our exemptions.
For example, a bill recently introduced in Nevada reads as follows:
Nevada SB 117 would add new mandates for HPV and Meningitis for both public and private school children in Nevada. Nevada does not allow conscientious belief exemptions. Children can be excluded if they do not comply with the law. A child who is excluded from school pursuant to this section is a neglected child for the purposes of NRS 432.0999 to 432.130, inclusive, and chapter 33 432B of NRS. NRS 432.09 to 130 is a Statewide Central Registry for the Collection of Information Concerning the Abuse or Neglect of a Child.
“It’s tempting to vilify but it’s a higher vibration to stand for what we believe in.” – Louise Kuo Habakus
Exemptions are right now the only safety valve that parents have as consumers. The philosophical exemption is a right that parents may exercise to say no to these liability-free pharmaceutical vaccine products, regardless of their purported benefit – and if this right is “revoked” we will not get it back.
Here is a video and some photos to give you an idea of what happened last Thursday in Montpelier (sorry for the bad quality).
(sorry, not done yet!)
#3, Rep. George Till wants to enable access to your private health information
Two other new bills (H98 and S53) have been introduced. These bills propose to change current statute (18 VSA 1129) to include the sharing of your child’s immunization records for “research purposes” and would give access to your child’s vaccination records to school administrators; They also appear to eliminate current penalties on violations of sharing private health records and information. And there is no “opt-out. This seems like a recipe for more of the intimidation that we, as caring parents, are already facing.
Jennifer will be providing testimony to the House Human Services Committee on our H98 concerns tomorrow, 2/11/2015.
If you have not taken the time to call your representative(s) to check in, then please do so immediately. They are VERY open to hear from constituents and often need to know that you want the freedom of health choice (the ability to make non-pharmaceutical health choices including vaccine choice).
Contact them by PHONE, ASAP. (lookup phone numbers: http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/search/2016).
Be sure to reiterate that you want them to enact specific language in S9, the child protection bill, that would specify that, “Decision to provide the child with immunizations in and of itself does not constitute medical neglect. The decision to obtain preventative health care is a parental decision.” Direct them to Oppose H98/S53 unless an “opt-in” is enacted.
PRTECT YOUR RIGHTS BEFORE THEY ARE LOST…..
You can also peruse the news stories, below, to get up to speed on what is happening.
Child Protection Bill News Coverage:
Coverage on DiNicola, Mullin, Buxton threat to Repeal Vaccine Exemption:
VPR 2/4 – Gov. Shumlin says, “Leave it Alone” http://digital.vpr.net/…/leave-it-alone-shumlin-weighs-phil…
WCAX coverage 2/5
“We spend so much time in this state talking about the right to know, the right to know what we put into our bodies, the right to choose. This is one of those issues, as well,” said Jennifer Stella of the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice.
“The vast majority of parents do vaccinate, but for the parents that are selectively vaccinating or even delaying, they need this exemption in order to proceed on any other schedule other than the CDC’s schedule at this time,” Stella said. http://www.necn.com/…/Push-Growing-to-Roll-Back-Vaccine-Exe…
The vaccine industry may not succeed in their efforts to split VT communities over this issue. This article focusses on Lake Champlain Waldorf School and shows that community if more important than medical politics. http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/…/vermont-scho…/22945035/
Branding us as “the right” http://thevpo.org/…/action-needed-on-vaccines-and-were-not…/
“House Speaker Shap Smith, D-Morristown, wants to understand the impact of the state’s current educational efforts around vaccines before considering the removal of the philosophical exemption.”http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/…/doctors-shum…/22952865/
“A health department spokesperson said in 2014 the department spent “$21,000 on a broadcast and online campaign to promote the HPV cancer prevention vaccine,” and “74,000 on social media and online advertising for OK to Ask childhood immunization promotion.” The department says “OK to Ask” is not a pro-vaccine website but “a research-based communications campaign to educate and equip Vermont parents with factual and up-to-date information about the benefits and risks of vaccination.” Meanwhile the National Vaccine Information Center, a pro-choice vaccination organization, spent $2,460 in Vermont last year on CCTA bus signs.