If you’re a regular reader of this blog, or are just generally aware of current issues regarding vaccinations, you know that Governor Jerry Brown of California signed SB 277 into law. The law removes so-called “personal belief exemptions” for vaccinating children before they enter schools.
Personal belief exemptions were used (and frequently abused) by parents in California to exempt their children from vaccinations using religious beliefs (hardly any mainstream religion is opposed to vaccinations) or the “I don’t like vaccines” belief statement. So many California children were not fully vaccinated, especially when they were clustered in certain areas of the state, lead to several outbreaks of measles, whooping cough and other infectious diseases.
Thus, the California Senate, led by Senator and Dr. Richard Pan, voted for SB 277, which sailed through the California Senate and Assembly, subsequently becoming law. It’s sole purpose was to protect the children of California, the country’s most populous and wealthiest state, from ravages of diseases that were once on the verge of extinction.
Despite the overwhelming support from the legislature and citizens of the state, some groups remain steadfastly opposed. One trope being pushed is doubts about the constitutionality of mandatory vaccinations for children.
Even a group of lawyers wrote a letter to the California legislature, “Statement of Lawyers Opposed to California SB 277,” that tries to deny the constitutionality of mandatory vaccinations for children. The letter concludes:
…we strongly urge you to decline the temptation to tamper with California’s legislative scheme that works to achieve public health objectives while protecting the rights of individuals to make conscientious medical decisions regarding their own health.
Please take the responsible course by rejecting SB 277 and avoiding the legal, educational, and health decision-making chaos that would follow from enactment of this legislation.
The letter is signed by over 150 attorneys, but appeared to be written by one Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, a famous attorney with a long history of playing “fast and loose” with the science regarding vaccines. Last month, this blog’s good friend, Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, who spends most of her time (as far as I can tell) writing about legal issues with vaccines, replied to Kennedy’s letter with real science, real constitutional law, and real facts.
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