The Florida legislature is moving to eliminate religious exemptions and limit medical exemptions to mandatory vaccination. SB64, a Florida bill entitled “Exemptions from School-entry Health Requirements” was filed by State Senator Lauren Book (D) on August 2, 2019. This bill draws its key points from two other states, which passed new laws removing religious and parental rights. New York bill S2994A and California bill SB277 terminated religious and philosophical exemptions. California bill SB276 proposes that only state-appointed officials, not your doctors, are permitted to grant vaccine exemptions. Most people don’t like politics and may not follow how a bill becomes a law. It’s time for a crash course in civics. These are your rights as individuals, parents, and patients. You deserve to know what they are, the reasons you have them, and the very serious implications that await you when they are taken away. These laws and bills severely impact your ability to make critically important choices for yourself and your children.
“SB 64 would eliminate the religious exemption to vaccines required for public and private school children. It would also add a new section of law requiring the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine to jointly create a medical exemption review panel that shall review all medical exemptions.” –The National Vaccine Information Center
SB64 doesn’t just impact Floridians who worship in a religious building and read a book that says, “Thou shall not….” Religious rights, and the beliefs they protect, are much broader and more comprehensive. Religious beliefs address the cause, nature, and purpose of your existence. You are entitled to your religious tenets and to worship, observe, and express devotion in the manner of your choosing. There is no hierarchy of religions. All religions are equal. The first of all amendments to the Constitution could not be more clear in its intent and importance. It protects the legitimacy and integrity of all citizens to worship in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, without interference or scrutiny. The removal of religious exemptions affects every citizen’s right to make decisions for himself and his family.
No-exceptions public health laws, which enforce nearly liability-free pharmaceutical products in the name of the greater good, violate basic human rights to bodily sovereignty, informed consent, religious freedom, and conscientious decision making. Your state representatives are seeking to eliminate your Constitutionally-protected rights to make medical and religious decisions that impact your and your family’s health and well-being. They are trespassing on your privacy and interfering with the trusted relationship you have your doctor. The confidence and faith you hold in your doctors to recommend what’s best for your health and the health of your children is the foundational underpinning of medicine. At best, SB64 will create an unnecessary and costly State bureaucratic review of your private medical decisions. At worst, SB64 will allow politically-appointed officials (who know nothing about you) to overrule your doctors. The Florida Board of Medicine already has procedures in place to investigate and discipline any doctor accused of inappropriate conduct. It will be you, the taxpayer and the patient, bearing the adverse economic and medical burdens of this unnecessary and unduly restrictive law.
Florida currently requires 39 doses of 11 vaccines as a condition of day care and school admission. This is approximately a three-fold increase in the past 25 years and a four-fold increase since the National Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 was passed, granting near blanket liability protection to vaccine makers and the health professionals who administer vaccines. If SB64 passes, the entire current vaccine schedule—and any future vaccines the state may choose to mandate in the future—will be mandatory for virtually all children. In effect, the state will be practicing, and enforcing, one size fits all medicine. Vaccine manufacturers are large and powerful multinational pharmaceutical corporations and vaccines are a $59 billion global industry. Big Pharma spent a record $283 million lobbying government officials in 2018.
It is becoming more difficult to protect your rights to choose how you care for your body. Are you comfortable granting wholesale power to government and industry to decide what pharmaceutical products you must receive?
SB64 needs to be stopped, early and decisively, to protect Florida citizens. The 2020 legislative session in Florida convenes on 1/14/2020, however, bills are filed in advance. It is very important that families who support the protection of religious and medical exemptions get out ahead of Senator Book’s bill. It is time to reach out to your elected officials and like-minded family and friends and get involved now. Take a stand and click below to contact your Florida legislators.
What to Tell Your FLA Legislators
- SB64 repeals religious freedoms and interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. The only person qualified to make a decision about a patient is the patient with guidance and support from his or her doctor, not a state bureaucrat who has no connection to — or history of caring for — the patient. The bill would create a special medical exemption review panel charged with approving and rejecting all medical exemptions, giving the state the authority to play doctor.
- The overreach of removing freedoms for public health is not necessary. There is no credible evidence that Florida’s vaccination rates are an issue, and there’s no credible evidence that unvaccinated kids spread illnesses at a higher rate than vaccinated kids. Vaccination rates for Florida school children are already high and exemption numbers are already low. According to state data, only 3% of kindergarteners and 1.7% of 7th graders have religious exemptions. Less than 0.5% of students have medical exemptions. Moreover, infectious disease experts say that illnesses like measles will occur with or without the practice of removing exemptions, as outbreaks are the result of primary and secondary vaccine failure.
- Exemption rates are being misrepresented by the bill’s sponsor. The CDC’s ever-expanding vaccine schedule is not accounted for when looking at why exemption numbers have increased. The schedule requires children to receive 69 doses of vaccines for 16 different viral and bacterial illnesses. This is more than double the government-sanctioned childhood schedule of 34 doses of 11 different vaccines in the year 2000. When looking at exemption data, it is incorrect to assume that a student with an exemption is completely unvaccinated, as students with exemptions could be partially vaccinated or simply opting to get a particular vaccination at a later date. That’s because a vaccine exemption must be filed whether someone is seeking an exemption for a single dose or for all required doses. Over the past two decades, 35 doses and five more unique vaccines have been added to the CDC schedule, which has heightened the need for exemptions.
- Formal religious doctrine and opinions of religious leaders are immaterial to religious freedom. The right to hold —and exercise — personal religious beliefs is granted by the US Constitution and the Constitution of Florida. Both allow for the freedom to operate by the dictates of your own conscience. Claims by SB64’s sponsor that parents are misusing religious exemptions are not only unsubstantiated, they are misguided. According to the Constitution, someone does not have to belong to an organized religion to be able to exercise their sincerely held religious beliefs, nor does the religion that someone belongs to have to formally oppose vaccinations in order for their beliefs to be deemed sincere or valid.
- Vaccine exemptions need to be expanded and preserved for an aggressive and constantly expanding schedule. Vaccines inevitably cause injury and death to some, and manufacturers and doctors have no liability for those injuries or deaths. The US Government has paid out more than $4.2 billion to claimants through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which is funded by a 75-cent consumer excise tax on each recommended childhood vaccine. At present America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are developing nearly 300 vaccines, and the US vaccine market is expected to jump from $36.4 billion to $50.4 billion over the next three years. The pharmaceutical industry is extraordinarily powerful and spends more each year on lobbying than any other industry. With vast resources to influence policy and remove parental rights, the pharmaceutical industry benefits financially every time a vaccine is mandated; it grows their market while forcing a product for which they have zero liability on innocent school children.
- Florida already has emergency provisions in place, so the bill is unnecessary. State health and education agencies already have broad unrestricted statutory powers (Statute 1003.22) to adopt rules concerning vaccination, including adding more vaccine mandates and enforcing a schedule. This makes SB64 unnecessary.