Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Legislative Process - Vaccine Hearing

We just returned from attending a hearing of the CA Assembly Health Committee on Assembly Bill 2109. This bill proposes a new law making it mandatory to get authorization from a licensed medical doctor (or, as amended, a naturopath "under the supervision of an M.D.") if you wish to opt out of the already "voluntary" vaccination requirements of schools, etc., and only after the doctor verifies that you have received sufficient education about vaccines.

What seemed like hundreds of doctors and others in the medical industry were somehow able to leave their practices, or educational facilities, to be present and give testimony in favor of this bill. This was a mystery to me, until someone passed around a note during the hearing, claiming that the AAP (American Association of Physicians, I think) had held a lobbying class or expo in Sacramento, just so their constituents could be present at the hearing. This was obviously nothing more that anti-vaccine propaganda. It was actually the California Medical Association that held their "Legislative Lobby Day" today for precisely those reasons. Seriously, people. Get your facts straight.

This, of course, is of no importance whatsoever.

Except that Assemblyman Pan, the sponsor of AB2109, has received more money in campaign contributions from Health Professionals, including the California Medical Association, than from any other source. So, the people who stand to benefit most from the passage of this bill - those who will be paid to administer the vaccines to your children - have contributed the greatest amounts of money to the sponsor of this bill, and showed up in large numbers to support it. Interesting.

Mysteriously, this conflict of interest was never mentioned during the hearing.

The other conflict that was never mentioned was that this bill puts citizens at the mercy of doctors to "approve" their choice to not vaccinate. We heard testimony from every one of the aforementioned "medical professionals," i.e., lobbyists, that they would love to sign waivers for any parent who declines vaccines. What we didn't hear is how much money these doctors stand to put into their own pockets in direct proportion to the number of vaccines they administer. A choice which, I'm sure, would have absolutely no bearing on their decisions.

The opposition to this bill, including ourselves, were represented in greater number than the supporters, although there were many supporters. The majority of the opposition were chiropractors (specifically excluded from the language of the bill), parents of vaccine-injured children, vaccine-injured adults, medical doctors, and parents.

Although many stories of vaccine injury were shared, this issue was, again, mysteriously never addressed during the hearing.

Dr. Pan, the bill's sponsor, assured everyone time and again that there were approximately 150,000 doctors who would be authorized to sign these waivers. One of the other Assemblymen pointed out that this is an awful low number of contact points for a state of approximately 38 million people. The opposition also pointed out that studies have been done which show that 30-39% of doctors polled will not sign vaccination waivers. That drops it to... what, around 100,000? So, have fun driving around the state looking for a doctor to sign your "permission slip." And when you do find one, you will most likely still be stuck footing the bill for your visit whether or not you get the vaccine. The bill's supporters claimed that this can all be taken care of during regular visits; however, if school is approaching and vaccines are mandatory, there will be a surge of parents who will have to schedule appointments just for this purpose. Who benefits from that, I wonder? Last I heard, extremely lengthy hospital visits were on the increase in this country.

The opposition contended strongly that this bill was un-Constitutional, as it mandates vaccines, unless authorized by an agent of the government. The bill's supporters claimed that it merely ensured that parents would receive "unbiased" vaccine education before being then free to choose for themselves. In fact, as pointed out by another of the Assemblymen, educational materials are already available, and there is no evidence that parents are making the decision not to vaccinate based on lack of education. They also stated that this bill is redundant to current practice, which is that parents are already inundated with vaccine information and coercion when they go in for regular visits! Where is the need to put a government mandate behind something that is already being done? All the parents present who were in opposition testified that this was true; I know it is true from my own experience; and everyone I know that has mentioned the issue has said the same thing: doctors are already quite forceful in pushing vaccinations on parents.

Although the opposition tried to say people were getting their education from bad sources on the internet, much of the information shared by the opposition's representation came directly from the CDC's website. The information I personally submitted to the Assembly also contained information from the CDC.

In what world do doctors give unbiased information about a medical procedure that they will profit from? In the world I live in, parents get thrown out of doctor's offices all the time for refusing vaccines, and employees are fired for holding anti-vaccine viewpoints. Many of these people testified at today's hearing.

In what world are you "free" to opt out of vaccinations, when doing so will cause your child to be deemed unfit to return to public school*? The bill's sponsors claimed that there is a need to increase public education about vaccines because an increased number of people refusing vaccines leads to a public health risk, including, in their own words, their own vaccinated children. I fail to see the logic in such an argument. If vaccines are a shield against diseases, and I choose not to put this armor on my child... how does this put your armored children at risk?

Another issue that remained unaddressed today was the fact, brought up by objectors to the bill, that many people get sick, and even die, from taking vaccines! This is backed up by scientific evidence, which the opposition provided to the Assembly. Which leads us directly into the fact that, in the event that you or your children are in fact harmed by a vaccine, there is no recourse!

In the end, the bill passed the Assembly, and will now proceed to the Senate, where it will be "considered" on our behalf by the Socialists in the CA Senate. Good luck with that.

* I strongly advocate for homeschooling. However, for the millions who still put their children in government education centers, this is a valid concern.