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Just days ago, the Arizona House Health and Human Services Committee panel voted to approve a series of bills that expand exemptions for mandatory vaccinations. In the current climate we find ourselves in, this is a huge breath of fresh air.
Currently, Arizona parents are allowed to seek “non-medical personal belief exemptions” to vaccinations for schoolchildren in kindergarten through 12th grade. The new bill would include exemptions for religious beliefs and expand non-medical vaccine exemptions to include preschoolers. It would also remove the requirement for parents to sign a state health department form to get a vaccine exemption for their child. (Something Rep. Nancy Barto (R), the committee chairwoman who sponsored the three bills, calls “coercion.”)
Barto’s two other bills create more work for physicians:1
- One would require doctors to offer parents an “antibody titer” blood test to see if the child is already immune to an illness or needs the vaccine. Critics say that the tests are unreliable and hard to interpret but we LOVE this idea.
- The third measure, an informed-consent bill, would require physicians to provide an additional 30 pages to parents with information about the ingredients in the vaccinations and the risks.
Barto says the three bills she sponsored are about parental rights; she believes that “vaccines have a place” but that every parent should have the right to decide what’s best for their children.
As you might imagine, there are doctors accusing those in favor of the bills of encouraging “vaccine skepticism.”
Dr. Steven R. Brown, a family physician in central Phoenix, asked the committee, “Do we want the next outbreak news story to be in Arizona? As a family physician who cares for the health of our citizens and especially our children, I am disheartened and frightened that this is up for debate. … Nobody is here to tell the stories of people who are alive and not disabled by vaccine-preventable illness.” I suppose no one was there to speak on behalf of the vaccine injured or dead children, either.
And big technology companies (like Pinterest) are also growing less tolerable of “vaccine skepticism.” Last week, Pinterest announced it will be removing vaccine search content from its platform. Months back, Pinterest banned my site Health Nut News and Dr. Mercola’s account, likely for posting vaccine skeptic content. And I had close to 1,000,000 followers.
When discussing vaccine-related legislation, we often find ourselves debating vaccine safety. However, sponsors of the bills are determining vaccine safety. Instead, they are preserving parental rights.
The Arizona news has likely prompted increased debate over the extent of medical rights a parent should be allowed. One thing is for certain, deeper government involvement which erodes parental rights almost certainly ends poorly.