S2173 Amendments Made the Bill Worse
- S2173, sponsored by Senator Weinberg (D-37) and Senator Vitale (D-19) and A3818, sponsored by Assemblyman Conaway (D-7), Assemblywoman Jasey (D-27) and Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-18) both seek to eliminate the religious exemption to vaccination for all NJ children in daycare and preschool through higher education.
- On December 16, the senate bill was pulled from the scheduled vote because there weren’t enough yes votes to pass the bill.
- On January 9, the Senate version of the bill was amended on the floor to allow private schools to decide if they would like to admit “non-compliant” students, provided that the private school posts the vaccination rate on every entry door of the school, and the parent signs a form stating they know the risks and benefits of vaccination to the student and to public health. There is a soundbite “sibling vaccine injury exemption” for families who have the legal means to fight through the arduous Vaccine Court and are lucky enough to receive a settlement.
- The bill now will go to the Assembly on January 13th for them to amend the Assembly version to match the Senate version, and then back to the Senate for a full vote.
- If these bills pass both the full Senate and full Assembly it would immediately be placed on Governor Murphy’s desk to be signed. There are indicators that the Governor would sign the bill into law.
- Sound public health policies are based in public education and trust, not coercion and fear. Telling families with sincerely held religious beliefs that they must vaccinate or lose the right to education breeds mistrust and resistance. It also separates healthy children from their community relationships and support systems.
- Religious principles, customs, and behaviors have always been based in beliefs about health, safety, cleanliness, and bodily integrity. Many vaccine ingredients are derived from pig and cow products, including amino acids, glycerol, detergents, gelatin, enzymes, and blood. Other childhood vaccines are produced on human cell lines (WI-38 and MRC-5) originated from terminated pregnancies. This includes MMR, Varivax, Pentacel, Havrix, Vaqta, Twinrix, and ProQuad. If individuals find these substances objectionable for religious reasons, they would be compelled to inject them into their children’s bodies or lose their right to an education. This is only one example of a personally held religious belief. Please note that the Constitution stipulates that it does not matter if your religious beliefs are part of an organized religion or endorsed by religious leaders.
- New Jersey already has effective disease control provisions in place, Statute § 26:1A-9.1. The law already provides that students with a religious exemption may be kept out of school during an emergency as determined by the State Commissioner of Health. Currently, there is no compelling emergency to unconstitutionally eliminate the religious exemption, especially when so few students (2.6%) use it.
- As Americans, we are entitled to observe our religious tenets and to worship and express devotion in the manner of our choosing — without government, industry, or medical interference or scrutiny. The removal of religious exemptions affects our right to make decisions for ourselves and our families. Instead, public health initiatives should focus on empowering individuals to take responsibility for themselves and their families.
- If S2173/A3818 passes with the intent to remove the religious exemption, the entire current vaccine schedule (69+ doses of 16 vaccines) — and any other vaccine the State of New Jersey chooses to mandate at a later time — will be mandatory for virtually all children. In effect, the state will be practicing and enforcing one-size-fits-all medicine.
- S2173/A3818 removes the religious exemption completely and instead will now call religious students “non-compliant”. The state of New Jersey will no longer acknowledge the rights and legitimacy of citizens to decline an invasive and serious medical intervention — acknowledged to cause catastrophic harm and death to some who receive them by our government that administers a national vaccine injury compensation program — known to contain intensely worrisome ingredients including from pigs, monkeys, cows, terminated pregnancies, and other unsavory excipients — manufactured by corporations and administered by medical professionals that have near blanket liability immunity — for deeply held, First Amendment-affirmed religious beliefs.
- Public schools will no longer honor a religious exemption, and “non-compliant” children will not be allowed to attend. No matter that you pay the highest property taxes in the nation, the lion’s share of which goes towards paying for those public schools.
- S2173/A3818 is discriminatory and pay to play. The bill allows private schools to enroll “non-compliant” students (only if they also post the vaccination rates at EVERY entrance to the school). How many religious NJ families can afford our high taxes AND to send an entire family to private school? S2173/A3818 chooses to cram the bill down the throats of NJ’s religious families while tossing a decaying bone to the more affluent and letting them fend for themselves.
- S2173/A3818 is unprecedented and includes adult mandates for students in higher education. Non-compliant students cannot enroll in ANY of NJ’s 30 public institutions of higher education, which enroll 81% of all NJ’s higher ed students, further deepening the financial burden this places on religious families. This will also have a significant financial impact on the state as the FIRST state in the US to add an adult mandate as a barrier to college admission. No other state in the entire nation currently has adult mandates in place.
- S2173/A3818 eviscerates the medical exemption. The doctor patient relationship is gone, and replaced with two possibilities for medical exemption per ACIP guidelines – anaphylaxis or encephalopathy.
- The S2173 amendment specifies that medical exemptions must be based on “valid medical reasons consistent with guidelines issued by the ACIP/CDC and subject to approval by physicians employed by or consulting for the state”. This is the narrowest definition and almost no one is eligible. Per the CDC and a provision in the amendment that allows exemptions for siblings of vaccine injured (or deceased) children compensated by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, you basically have had to sacrifice one child to know you have family susceptibilities in order to obtain an exemption.
- S2173/A3818 refers to the vaccine registry, a massive privacy issue. The amendment provides further insight into how this registry, called the NJ Immunization Information System (NJIIS) may (and will) be used in the future. The amendment says registry information will be given to various unnamed “private organizations” plus insurance companies to help them improve outreach and care, as determined by regulation of the commission.
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