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Vaccine Exemptions and Civil Liberties at Risk in Virginia

Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC)

Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC)

The following was excerpted from a statement made on behalf of the National Vaccine Information Center at the Virginia General Assembly’s Healthy Living Health Services Subcommittee meeting on Aug. 3, 2016 in Richmond, VA, where lawmakers are considering introducing legislation in 2017 to eliminate the religious vaccine exemption and restrict the medical exemption to narrow federal (CDC) vaccine contraindications.

When a child is brain injured or dies from a vaccine reaction, a disease—or for any reason—there are no words to take away the pain from the mother and father mourning for what will never be for their beloved child. Every life has value and that is why this conversation about “no exceptions” mandated use of vaccines, which are pharmaceutical products that are supposed to keep us well but can cause harm or fail to work, evokes such strong responses in people, no matter where we stand.

The General Assembly affirmed in 2013 that parents have “a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education and care” of their minor children. The Virginia Constitution affirms that every citizen is “equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience,” and shall not be required to “support any religious worship” or undergo “any religious test whatsoever” to participate in society.

Freedom of religion is a civil liberty and so is the right to be educated, whether in home or in school. Freedom of religion and conscience in America means that we are allowed to have faith in God and hold personal religious beliefs that may or may not be part of an organized religion or established church without our civil liberties being taken away.

Virginia’s historic Act for Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson in 1786 and reaffirmed by the General Assembly in 2007, states that, “Almighty God hath created the mind free” and that “all attempts to influence it” by punishments are an “infringement of natural right.” The law affirms that no person has the right to assume “dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible” and “impose them on others.” Pointing to differences of opinion among scientists and philosophers, the law states, “Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.”

Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have declared federally licensed and government mandated vaccines to be “unavoidably unsafe” and shielded drug companies and doctors from vaccine injury lawsuits. Under the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, 3.5 billion dollars in federal compensation has been paid for vaccine injuries and deaths caused by government mandated vaccines.

Who has the moral authority to deny anyone the right to pray to God for guidance and obey our conscience when making a decision about a pharmaceutical product that can brain injure or end our life or our child’s life?

While we are all born with equal rights under the law, biologically we are not born all the same. Vaccine risks are not being shared equally. Some of us are genetically and biologically more vulnerable to harm from prescription drugs and vaccines, and doctors cannot accurately predict who will be harmed because doctors, like all of us, are fallible. Medical science is not perfect, either. This why voluntary, informed consent to medical risk taking is recognized internationally as a human right guiding the ethical practice of medicine.

Utilitarian health policies that force everyone to be treated the same are cruel and immoral. Without flexible medical and religious exemptions, enforcement of one-size-fits all vaccine laws create fear and distrust of government and doctors.

Virginia has one of the lowest vaccine exemption rates in the nation, with 1.1 percent of children attending kindergarten exempted for medical or religious reasons. Where is the compelling state interest to discriminate against these families? Please reaffirm freedom of religion and conscience and the right of physicians to exercise professional judgment and conscience in the Commonwealth of Virginia by recommending that no change be made to current vaccine laws.


References:

1 Code of Virginia. 1-240.1. Rights of Parents. 2013.
2 Constitution of Virginia. Article 1: Bill of Rights. Section 16. Free exercise of religion; no establishment of religion.
3
U.S. Constitution. First Amendment. FindLaw.
4 Civil Liberties. The Free Legal Dictionary by Farlex.
5 Code of Virginia. 57.1 Act for Religious Freedom Recited. Jan. 16, 1786.
6
Code of Virginia. 57-2.02. Religious freedom preserved; definition; applicability; construction; remedies. 2007.
7 Supreme Court of the United States. Bruesewitz v. Wyeth Majority Opinion. Also Dissenting Minority Opinion (Sotomayor, Ginsberg), Pg. 30.

8 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (PL99-660). Nov. 14, 1986.
9 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) Data and Statistics. Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) July 1, 2016.
10
U.S. Constitution. 14th Amendment. FindLaw
11
Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality: Evaluating Biological Mechanisms of Adverse Events: Increased Susceptibility.  Washington, DC: The National Academies Press 2012.
12
Nir E. Informed Consent. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2011 (Fall Edition).
13
Anderson K. Utilitarianism: The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number. Probe Ministries International 2004.

14 Mariner WK, Annas GJ, Glantz LH. Jacobsen v Massachusetts: It’s Not Your Great Great Grandfather’s Public Health Law. Am J Pub Health 2005; 95(4): 58-590.
15 CDC. Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten United States – 2014-15 School Year. MMWR Aug. 28, 2015; 64(33): 897-904.

19 Responses to Vaccine Exemptions and Civil Liberties at Risk in Virginia

  1. Raymond Laskoskie Reply

    August 26, 2016 at 2:22 am

    Many doctors recommend a delayed vaccine schedule for some patients, and not always the recommended one-size-fits-all CDC childhood schedule. Other doctors choose to recommend vaccines based on the actual science and merit of each vaccine, recommending some, while determining that others are not worth the risk for children, such as the suspect seasonal flu shot. These doctors who do not hold extreme positions would be opposed to government-mandated vaccinations and the removal of all parental exemptions.

  2. J Reply

    August 11, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    To d: the status of vaccines must be changed from biological to pharmaceutical as I understand it, to make these pharma criminals accountable. The reason that these giant iatrogenic drug makers came running to congress after the original swine flu debacle was the result of 1,000’s, 100’s of thousands of lawsuits against them. It was a deal made then that’s lasted all these years with the setting in place of the vaccine injury court. Which is a rouse and congress knew it then. This is the way of corrupt USA politics! And internationally under capitalist democracy.
    To g: I don’t think “progressives” are channeled in any direct effort or in some coordinated way to achieve mandatory vaccinations by way of eliminating protections for the pharma clique. That, at least to me is extreme twisted logic. Eliminating these protections would rather I believe force these profit mongering pharma ceo’s to either admit their vaccines are completely non-efficacious and a lie and/or clean them up and force true clinical studies exposing the dangerous ingredients due to the hundreds of thousands of individual and class action law suits that would immediately ensue against them. The only reason that any prostitute politician of either party do anything is to ensure the steady flow of campaign contributions and the perks lifestyle they come to know.

  3. d Reply

    August 9, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    I see where you are going with this. In a perfect world where justice is absolute, you should be able to get a lawyer and win a case that allows everyone to benefit from your reinterpretation of the law. Once a case has been made and won, it sets a precedence for future claims. But what if you get a bad lawyer who pretends to do his job just so he can get a pay check? What if your judge and jury is being manipulated by Big Pharma? What if you can’t afford the lawyer that will win it for you? What if the lawyer that could do the job won’t take your case? What if I don’t care if it’s possible to make vaccines safer by suing Big Pharma? If they fraudulently prove that vaccines are safe in court then you wasted all your money on the lawyer for nothing. The results of such a case could mean that mandatory vaccinations would be enforced; it’s like opening Pandora’s box. I wish I could be more optimistic, but you need to account for the possibility that the justice system could be corrupt. Somehow you have to get a very rich person to fight this fight, someone who has no intention of losing but has money to lose if that happens. In the meantime vaccine exemption should be preserved no matter what the outcome of the potential lawsuits. I know you have to start somewhere, but we need to make sure we don’t lose the ground that we already have with the vaccine exemptions.

  4. Law Reply

    August 7, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    They should be asking the person, or parent/guardian, for permission before administering any vaccination.

    Nobody owns anyone else.

    We have the 100% equal inherent inalienable right of bodily intake and exclusion.

    I oppose the use illegal drugs, recreational drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, but because of this right, there should be no laws against these, but there should severe penalties for those causing property damage and harm while under the influence. This type of justice is required for those in free society.

    This right is not specified directly in the US Constitution, but this right is “obvious”. Without this right, those people with power can put anything in a person’s body or keep anything out. Fascists will abuse us as is being done with the vaccination mandates and the unwarranted protection of vaccine manufacturers.

    Eliminate this unwarranted protection of vaccine manufactures.

    Num Guy wrote:
    Please google “repeal immunity for vaccine makers” and sign the moveon petition to repeal the 1986 law that protects vaccine companies.
    Unless this law is repealed, we the people will never have any control over what happens to our kids.
    Please do sign.

  5. g Reply

    August 7, 2016 at 11:04 am

    I think preserving the vaccine exemption at all costs is the key to all our struggles on this issue. I am concerned that even if the extreme cases of vaccine injury were allowed to sue, what about the other children who suffer from food allergies or ADHD? Will their right to sue be respected as well? Sure there will be a ton of lawyers willing to jump on those cases, but would they do their job and help you win? Either way the lawyer gets paid. What about those who can’t afford a good lawyer? They get stuck with the consequences of an ADHD or extreme food allergies with no compensation or support? I am concerned that progressives want to repeal the act that protects vaccine makers just so they can have an excuse to implement mandatory vaccinations. Any thoughts on that?

  6. Denise Melton Reply

    August 6, 2016 at 8:42 am

    There are thousands of families that are fighting to save our children from the results of their children and grandchildren being destroyed by one vaccine or another. My granddaughter was one of those girls that lost her life just a few days after her third jab of the Gardasil vaccine. It is devastating not only to the family but friends as well. It has been eight years and the memory is still fresh in all our minds. Please keep fighting this war. Parents must be aware of what vaccines can do to our children. I tell every parent to do the research before any vaccine is given to their child or themselves. The CDC is only looking out for their pocketbooks.

  7. Annette Reply

    August 5, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I consider anyone forcing another person to undergo an unwanted physical procedure to their body or to the bodies of their dependents is committing assault and should be at the very least be prosecuted. There is NO moral argument for taking the right to control their own physical being away from an individual.

    • Law Reply

      August 7, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      The people in the government, for the most part, are self-serving anti-Americans. The vaccine mandates and self-serving government protection of pharma companies are prime examples. Hillary Clinton getting away with having classified documents on an un-secure e-mail server is a recent example of unpunished lawlessness. Another is the EPA getting away with polluting the river in the State of Colorado. To charge them with assault for forced vaccinations probably would do no good. I can only pray for an answer to eliminate this fascism.

      They should be asking the person, or parent/guardian, for permission before administering any vaccination.
      Nobody owns anyone else.
      We have the 100% equal inherent inalienable right of bodily intake and exclusion.
      I oppose the use illegal drugs, recreational drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, but because of this right, there should be no laws against these, but there should severe penalties for those causing property damage and harm while under the influence. This type of justice is required for those in free society.
      This right is not specified directly in the US Constitution, but this right is “obvious”. Without this right, those people with power can put anything in a person’s body or keep anything out. Fascists will abuse us as is being done with the vaccination mandates and the unwarranted protection of vaccine manufacturers.
      Eliminate this unwarranted protection of vaccine manufactures.
      Num Guy wrote:
      Please google “repeal immunity for vaccine makers” and sign the moveon petition to repeal the 1986 law that protects vaccine companies.
      Unless this law is repealed, we the people will never have any control over what happens to our kids.
      Please do sign.

  8. Christi Gram Reply

    August 5, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    To MAJ. Jesse Carnes and the previous posts:

    I love your well-articulated posts. As a mother of two vaccine injured children, I have a dog (or two) in this fight. How can so many people choose to be so ignorant of the truth? In public schools today, children are being brainwashed instead of being taught how to think. I have taught my kids to research both sides of the argument and then draw their own conclusions and make up their own minds. My son was a 4.5 pound preemie (9 weeks early.) Each vaccination took him further and further into the autism spectrum. At one point he was in the first percentile meaning that 99% of children at his age were higher functioning developmentally and cognitively. I found out that when the vaccine manufacturers were reporting their data on vaccine injury – they disregarded the cohort of babies who were low birth weight BECAUSE THEY HAD THE HIGHEST INCIDENCE OF VACCINE INJURY!!!!!!! No one explained this to me prior to us giving him the vaccines. We have spent over $250,000 trying to recover him from these injuries and I am thankful to say he is 95% recovered. We did this God’s way – using nutrition, vitamins, detoxification, organic foods, love and lots of prayer. Blessings to anyone who is on this journey. Thank you for your voices of truth. xoxo

  9. Janet Reply

    August 5, 2016 at 11:43 am

    At this point religious exemption is the only way we can fight this especially when aborted fetal cells and all kinds of other animal stuff/adjuvants are used to manufacture vacs. The ACLU should be right on top of this! Anyway, I’m an RN and fought mandatory hospital workplace flu vac 3 years ago and won! You don’t have to belong to an organized religion to get an exemption. Atty. Alan Phillips was an instrumental resource along with the EEOC and CDC”S own material! We must stand up for ourselves. The hospital bureaucrats don’t seem to know and/or care they are trampling on your civil rights and count on you not knowing that they are either. They are just the cogs in the wheel doing what they are told. They rely on intimidation and don’t expect workers to fight back. We need to fight back with facts and the law and not back down!

    • Jo Reply

      September 3, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      The fact that the ACLU is NOT ‘on top of this’ should tell you all you need to know about that baloney organization of liars —-I mean, lawyers.
      The courts and the lawyers are part of the system and part of the problem; not part of the solution.

  10. Christine Marr Reply

    August 5, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Uphold the United States Constitution’s freedom of religion through maintaining religious exemption rights in Virginia. This right is critical to our country’s basic civil liberties and identified by one of our great founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson in the Act for Religious Freedom.

  11. MAJ. Jesse Carnes Reply

    August 5, 2016 at 10:50 am

    I am a Christian … a Calvinist, to boot. For people to have faith in Christ, they must LIVE, and we must not permit our children to be destroyed, mentally and physically by the adjuvants, mercury, peste viruses, stealth viruses, MSG, broken DNA-frags etc which pervade MOST of our Vaccines.

    This cannot be overstated : We cannot continue to have our children damaged or destroyed by Vaccines. Vaccines are the WORST way to acquire immunity against disease. Clean living spaces, potable water, healthy organic food, flush toilets, soap & water and antiseptics ACTUALLY prevent diseases. What you ingest has major healthful qualities in disease prevention. Also, breastfeeding infants, as opposed to toxic-formulae is God’s WAY of nourishing our infants. Are we so arrogant as to think WE can improve on God’s design? We better not be.

    • Kristina Reply

      August 5, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      Beautifully and accurately put. Thank you!

      • Alida Bowden Reply

        August 9, 2016 at 11:14 pm

        I agree.

    • Cheryl Reply

      August 5, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      I agree with you completely! Everyone should try to eat healthier and this would make a huge difference in our immune system and defeating disease.
      Personally, I have been gluten free for 3 years, and eat only irganic food for the last 2 years. I have never felt better! You can’t do it all at once though or it won’t stick. It took me one year to go completely gluten free. Organic foods wasn’t as difficult. Take care of your body and your body will take care of you!

    • Law Reply

      August 7, 2016 at 10:16 pm

      BTW we don’t need a religious exemption or any type of exemption. Anyone wanting to administer a vaccination requires the permission of the person or parent/guardian.

      Nobody owns any one else.

      We have the 100% equal inherent inalienable right of bodily intake and exclusion.

  12. Num Guy Reply

    August 5, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Please google “repeal immunity for vaccine makers” and sign the moveon petition to repeal the 1986 law that protects vaccine companies.

    Unless this law is repealed, we the people will never have any control over what happens to our kids.

    Please do sign.

    • Num Guy Reply

      August 5, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Please share with all your friends and family. Our legislators only care about the money they receive from Big Pharma, not the health of our children!!

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