Attack On Parental Rights!
JOINT LEGISLATIVE ACTION ALERT – April 12, 2012
From: Roy Hanson — Family Protection Ministries and Mike Smith — HSLDA
Bill: AB 2109 (as introduced 2/23/12)
Subject: Vaccination Waiver Threatened – Attack On Parental Rights!
Author: State Assemblymember Richard Pan
Position: Strongly OPPOSE
Status: Hearing set for Tuesday, April 17, 2012, in California State Assembly Health Committee.
Our parental rights and homeschool freedoms in California are under attack in an unprecedented way this year. Your help is key to the defense of our freedoms. It is critical that you read every alert and take the suggested action in each one ASAP. Quickly pass these alerts on to others so they can take action.
Summary of Concern:
AB 2109 creates a new additional requirement for parents who choose to use the current personal beliefs waiver to exempt their child from one or more of the vaccinations required for school enrollment. AB 2109 would require a parent to obtain the signature of a doctor, stating that he has provided the parent with information about the benefits and risks of vaccinations, and about specified communicable diseases, before their child would be exempted. This would apply to all children regardless of what type of school they are in, including a private homeschool. The personal beliefs waiver, by itself, would no longer be enough. In short, AB 2109 would diminish parental rights by effectively requiring parents to receive what will be viewed as a “permission” from a doctor to not vaccinate their child.
Information Included In This E-mail:
A. Action Items
B. Opposition Points to Share with Legislators
C. Background Information
A. Action Items:
1) CALL IMMEDIATELY (No later than 3:00 p.m. on Monday, April 16th) the member of the Assembly Education Committee according to the first letter of your last name as indicated in the alphabetized list below.
“Please vote no on AB 2109 (by Pan). I oppose requiring parents to arrange an office visit to obtain a doctor’s signature as a new condition for exempting their child from vaccinations.”
2) AFTER you have called, consider following up your call by emailing (or faxing) a brief letter.
(Please refer to the “Opposition Points to Share with Legislators” for additional ideas that you could include if you can write a follow-up letter to email or fax. A brief one paragraph letter writing down what you told them in your phone call would be adequate.)
- Call and write as a parent and citizen. This bill directly affects all families with children.
- Do not disclose the source of this Alert. All bills are available on the Internet.
- Calls are most effective in this time-limited situation.
- Pass this on to your friends, church, school, and group.
- Pray for a proper outcome.
For Action Item #1 above, please call the member of the Assembly Health Committee according to the first letter of your last name as indicated in the following list:
California State Assembly Committee on Health
Dan Logue – 916-319-2003
William W. Monning – 916-319-2027
Tom Ammiano – 916-319-2013
Toni Atkins – 916-319-2077
Susan Bonilla – 916-319-2011
Mike Eng – 916-319-2049
Martin Garrick – 916-319-2074
Richard S. Gordon – 916-319-2021
Mary Hayashi – 916-319-2018
Roger Hernandez – 916-319-2057
Bonnie Lowenthal – 916-319-2054
Allan Mansoor – 916-319-2068
Holly J. Mitchell – 916-319-2047
Brian Newsstand – 916-319-2064
Richard Pan – 916-319-2005
V. Manuel Perez – 916-319-2080
Jim Silva – 916-319-2067
Cameron Smyth – 916-319-2038
X , Y, Z
Das Williams – 916-319-2035
After you have called, you may use one or more of the “Opposition Points to Share with Legislators” stated below if you email a letter to a committee member — preferably before 3:00 p.m. on Monday, April 16th.
(For more information about the Health Committee members and addresses for sending letters please visit http://ahea.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff.)
B. Opposition Points to Share with Legislators:
AB 2109 is an attack upon parental rights and an attack on religious and personal conscience liberties. It proposes a requirement that, in effect, will burden and restrict the current right of a parent to exempt their child from any or all required vaccinations for school enrollment. The law already allows for non-vaccinated students to be restricted from attending a school while there is an outbreak of particular communicable diseases.
Parental rights attacked
AB 2109 forces parents into a paid contractual relationship with a health care provider they might not otherwise utilize for their children’s health care, which is a violation of basic parental rights.
AB 2109 forces health care practitioners into a gate-keeping role that creates a hurdle for parents desiring to freely exercise their parental rights to direct the health care of their children.
AB 2109 forces parents to attempt to arrange an office visit with a healthcare provider hoping they will obtain the required signature of the doctor. There is no requirement that the specified health care providers either make the appointment, charge an affordable rate, or give the parent their signed statement required by this bill.
Personal conscience & religious freedom attacked
While a visit with and signature from a physician is appropriate for the allowed “medical exemption,” it is not appropriate for the “personal beliefs exemption.” It is not right for the state to put physicians in a role where they can attempt to influence the personal beliefs or the religious beliefs of the parent.
Impractical & unworkable for many parents and therefore selectively discriminatory by its very nature
It may be difficult to find a health-care provider who will be willing to do this in California, based on their busy and already overwhelming schedules. Some doctors may decline these appointments simply because they don’t want to give people an excuse to not get vaccinations or don’t want to handle “non-treatment” related issues.
AB 2109 ignores the fact that some parents, who have a personal belief that any required vaccination is not appropriate for their child, may not have a regular doctor for their child and family, and from whom they could readily get the required documentation. Many doctor’s offices are not taking new patients. This has already been the experience of parents in Washington where they passed essentially the same law last year.
Health care practitioners cannot fully educate a parent regarding the risks and benefits of each required vaccination and the health risks of the related diseases in 20 minutes or less. A study in Pediatrics Magazine showed 80% of parents reported “well” visits lasted less than 20 minutes. One third of parents reported visits of less than 10 minutes.
There is no guarantee that, just because you pay money to a provider, you will get a signature. In fact, you probably won’t get one. Doctors will not want to sign these for fear of liability.
Creates financial hardship for many families
AB 2109 would impose a burden on families both financially and time wise. It requires that parents, who believe that a particular vaccination or all vaccinations are not in the best interest of his or her child, make and pay for an appointment with an appropriate health care practitioner merely to obtain their signature on a document. This document declares that they provided the required information. This information is available for free on the web or elsewhere.
AB 2109 will negatively impact many poor or disabled parents by forcing them to make an unnecessary and maybe difficult trip to the doctor’s office. Many have jobs that do not have the flexibility to take time off merely for an information appointment. Insurance will likely not cover such an appointment, and therefore must be paid by the parent.
This requirement is clearly an obstructive roadblock for parents being able to get an exemption for their child.
Physicians – financial conflict of interest
A parent is forced to pay for information from a health care provider and then hope they can get their required signature. Reports from the state of Washington, which implemented this requirement last year, are that doctors are pressuring parents to join their practice. This is a coercive way of throwing more business toward the classes of health care providers specified in the bill while excluding other sources of the same information.
Physicians – philosophical beliefs conflict of interest
Health care practitioners should not have anything to do with a parent’s personal beliefs exemption.
AB 2109 gives the physician the power to refuse to give an appointment. Even if he sees the parent, he is not required to sign the statement that is required for the “personal beliefs exemption.”
This bill requires parents who are exercising their rights under the law to pay money to be harassed by someone who disagrees with their views.
Physician-patient relationship negatively affected
AB 2109 will likely have a very negative impact on some doctor-patient relationships. This bill requires a health care practitioner to sign a form that acknowledges a child will be exempt from a vaccination. This will be repugnant to some health care practitioners who will not sign the required statement and will result in the development of an unfortunate adversarial relationship between some patients and their doctors. Families will even lose their doctor over this, as has happened under Washington’s similar law implemented last year.
C. Background Information:
As introduced, AB 2109 requires further documentation to be received by a school regarding a parental personal beliefs waiver (HSC section 120365) for required vaccination. The bill would require a health care practitioner to provide information about the benefits and risks of all required vaccinations and the health risks of specified communicable diseases to the parent, and for the health care provider to sign a Public Health Dept. form indicating the receipt of that information. The signature will need to be obtained on a separate form provided by the Department of Public Health, which states that the health care practitioner has provided risk and benefit of vaccinations information to the parent. The bill defines Health Care Practitioner to be a physician or surgeon, a nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant, as further specified in the bill by reference to other code sections.
This proposed requirement in AB 2109 would apply to all pupils enrolled in a public or private school (including homeschools). Currently, a parent may exempt their child from any or all of the required immunizations by one of two ways: (1) a medical waiver (HSC Sec. 120370) by a statement from a physician or (2) a personal beliefs waiver (HSC Sec.120365) by a parent signing a statement on the immunization form that reads:
PERSONAL BELIEFS AFFIDAVIT TO BE SIGNED BY PARENT OR GUARDIAN—IMMUNIZATION
I hereby request exemption of the child, named on the front, from the immunization requirements for school/child care entry because all or some immunizations are contrary to my beliefs. I understand that in case of an outbreak of any one of these diseases, the child may be temporarily excluded from attending for his/her protection.
(This waiver for vaccinations is documented by signing the back of the immunization form, PM 286B (www.cdph.ca.gov/pubsforms/forms/ctrldforms/pm286b.pdf) that becomes a part of their school’s pupil records.)
Parents who want to “waive” one, or more, or all vaccinations for their children should make sure their school’s immunization records for each of their children reflects their desires. Waivers for vaccinations are documented by signing the back of the immunization form, PM 286B (www.cdph.ca.gov/pubsforms/forms/ctrldforms/pm286b.pdf). This form must be kept in the permanent file for each school-age child enrolled in your school.
For information on how to contact your state assembly member and state senator, please visit http://bit.ly/HpgytN.