I have been ignoring this, but I just had to write about the idiotic anti-vaccine legislation that right-wing nutjob Representative Louie Gohmert has introduced to the US House of Representatives on 2 November 2021. It’s like a treasure trove of anti-vaccine tropes and myths.
This anti-vaccine bill has almost a 0% chance of being passed in the current House, but with the Democrats running into a stiff headwind of typical midterm lack of support, crackpot Republicans will probably be running the House of Representatives in 2023, which means this dumb bill might get voted out of the House.
Let’s take a look at the bill, so you can laugh even more about Louie Gohmert.
Who is Louie Gohmert?
Louie Gohmert is the U.S. representative from Texas‘s 1st congressional district and has been so since 2005. Gohmert is a Republican and was part of the Tea Party movement.
Gohmert is a certifiable nut job. He pushed the “terror babies” myth that there were terrorist cells that were sending young women to become pregnant so they would deliver the baby in the United States, and then take the baby with them back to be raised as a terrorist. When they became an adult, this operative — a U.S. citizen by birth — could be easily infiltrated in the U.S. to carry out terrorist actions. This is not true.
He compared President Obama to Hitler.
He filed a federal lawsuit to force Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results of the 2020 US Presidential election.
Louie Gohmert thinks everyone believes he’s the dumbest person in Congress. Let’s just say that I’d need evidence that he has functioning neurons.
On 29 July 2020, after refusing to wear a face mask, he contracted COVID-19. Talk about predictable. He is also an advocate for hydroxychloroquine for treating the disease, even though there is no robust, repeated, and reliable evidence for its effectiveness.
I could write a 10,000-word essay on this revolting, despicable Republican congressman from Texas. But this is a science website, so I’ll let you explore more about the dumbest person in Congress elsewhere.
The anti-vaccine bill
So, let’s take a look at this bill introduced by the aforementioned Louie Gohmert. There is certainly a lot to examine, but I’ll stick to the highlights.
The purpose of the bill, called the “National Informed Consent Exemption (NICE) Act,” is:
To prohibit the Federal Government, or State or local government or other entity receiving Federal funding, from requiring any citizen to be vaccinated, including Federal agencies from requiring its employees to take any vaccination, without the citizen being fully advised in writing of all known potential risks from the vaccine and consultation with a physician followed by the voluntary informed consent of the citizen, and for other purposes.
It is an anti-vaccine mandate bill at its core. I’ve begun to look at anything that says “informed consent” to be, at its essence, anti-vaccine. The anti-vaxxers believe that “informed consent” means “here are all the evils of vaccines,” instead of informing the patient of the minimal risks compared to the vast benefits.
The foundation of the bill, called “findings,” is filled with anti-vaccine nonsense. Here are some of the highlights.
- Vaccine mandates aren’t in the constitution. It isn’t, but that’s not how constitutional law is made. The Supreme Court interprets the constitution, and in the landmark decision in Jacobson v Massachusetts, the Supreme Court expressly gave governments the right to create vaccine mandates for the public health.
- ” It is unconscionable for any entity to use force or coercion to compel individuals to take a vaccine without their informed consent.” Except we all give informed consent to all medical procedures. I was given a sheet of paper explaining the risks and benefits of the vaccine prior to getting it. Not that I would have been convince to not take it, because I am a real scientist, and I knew exactly what I was getting.
- “Mandating vaccines, including experimental vaccines, does not fall within any of the executive authorities, according to article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.” Prof. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss has written about this before — it is allowed.
- “Vaccine ingredients are commonly sourced from foreign nations.” What does this matter? Everything manufactured in medicine has ingredients sourced from other countries, and the FDA closely regulates it. Vaccine companies aren’t going to source something from a dodgy basement lab in the middle of the Antarctic ice.
Given all of this, what does the dumbest person in Congress, Louie Gohmert, want to pass into law.
a) The Federal Government, and persons receiving Federal funding, are prohibited from requiring any citizen to be vaccinated or tested for an infectious disease without due process of law. Citizens have the fundamental right to decline vaccination for an infectious disease without penalty.
b) Vaccination shall henceforth be optional to citizens, except as provided in section 5, for their participation in society, including but not limited to education, travel, employment, government service, housing, social welfare programs, access to courts, and medical care.
c) Any laws, regulations, or policies, purporting to authorize any form of discrimination against any citizen, whether in the form of denial of education, travel, employment, government service, housing, social welfare programs, access to courts, and medical care, which is based solely upon their refusal to consent to vaccination for an infectious disease, are repugnant to the United States Constitution and are therefore unenforceable, except as provided in section 5. Nor shall any laws, regulations, or policies, require an individual to provide any “vaccine passport” or documentation, whether digital or otherwise, certifying vaccination or post-infection recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from an institution within the United States, except as provided in section 5.
d) The exemption from vaccination for infectious disease provided by this Act shall be known as the National Informed Consent Exemption (“NICE”) and may be exercised by any individual, including on behalf of their child or dependent, without any precondition or requirement, except as provided in section 5.
e) With the exception of emancipated minors, no child shall be vaccinated without (1) the consent of each parent or guardian for the child, or (2) the consent of one parent or guardian for the child and prior written 3-day notification to the other parent or guardian(s) for the child regarding the vaccination appointment.
This law eliminates all mandates. It makes vaccines optional, including for education, in states like California, West Virginia, and Mississippi that requires vaccines for all school children unless they have a valid medical exemption. This bill even strips away the whole meaning of exemptions by allowing anyone to refuse a vaccination for any reason, including “I just don’t like them.”
This isn’t just targeted at COVID-19 vaccines, it’s for ALL vaccines, including ones that have nearly eradicated diseases like polio, measles, diphtheria, and others in the USA. We did eradicate smallpox with a vaccine, and smallpox killed 30% of people who were infected. Smallpox would be rampant in the USA without a near 100% vaccination rate 50 years ago.
Republicans, like the dumbest person in Congress, like to believe they are pro-business, but they take away the power of companies to make decisions for employees. I worked for a company that required, before traveling to certain countries, like Brazil or Colombia, various vaccines like yellow fever and typhoid fever. If you refused the vaccines, you simply couldn’t do your job and you could be terminated. We had a huge meeting in Brazil, with about 50 people from North American offices attending, and we all compared notes on our vaccines (I got 6 different ones). The company was trying to protect its valuable employees.
As I mentioned at the top, there is a near 0% chance of this bill passing in the House in 2022. However, that may be different in 2023, if, as expected, the Republicans retake the House. But it would probably die in the Senate, and even if it were passed there, it’s very unlikely that President Joe Biden would sign it into law.
But this bill is Nirvana for the anti-vaccine forces — it’s everything they desire. They pro-disease probably because they think their superior genes will keep them from dying. I’m sure that’s what goes through the minds of people like Louie Gohmert — they think the only people who are dying are people of color or old people, who they considered to be less than worthy of consideration.