Why States Are Getting It Wrong with Medical Mandates

“No Mandates” Policies Benefit Public Health and Promote a Healthy Society

Landmark legislation was introduced in South Dakota on February 5, 2020 to outlaw all medical mandates, including those for vaccination. In addition to safeguarding bodily integrity and informed consent, the bill sought to criminalize medical coercion and prevent discrimination for refusing an unwanted medical intervention. It was the first bill of its type seeking to bolster citizens’ rights by giving them the ultimate authority to choose or reject any medical procedure, free from threats or compulsion.

The legislation, HB 1235, immediately received widespread attention from medical freedom advocates across the nation, and South Dakota advocates sent more than 15,500 letters supporting the bill through Stand for Health Freedom’s advocacy portal. The bill attracted several key sponsors, was assigned to a committee, and made it to a hearing — all in three short weeks. However, after HB 1235 was introduced, a house committee voted to move it to the 41st day, which effectively killed the bill for this year. (The South Dakota legislative session is only 40 working days in odd-numbered years and 35 working days in even-numbered ones.) Despite the outcome, there is support for the bill to be looked at further during a special summer legislative study.

The strong opposition to HB 1235 did not come as a surprise. However, pro-medical mandate groups such as medical industry lobbyists, industry players, the Board of Health, and others completely missed the mark about the bill’s intent and how it would actually affect the citizens of South Dakota.

HB 1235 was not introduced to discourage, dissuade, or prohibit vaccination. Rather, the bill sought to shield individuals from forced vaccination and other medical procedures by outlawing mandates and medical bullying.

Health freedom advocates and groups like the Sioux Falls Immunization Coalition actually share the same goal: to protect and promote the health and wellness of all South Dakotans. However, Stand for Health Freedom believes this goal can be achieved through sound health policies that encourage vaccination and make it widely available, while putting in place strong protections for medically frail individuals for whom vaccination is contraindicated as well as those with sincerely held religious beliefs against vaccination. Below, we take a look at what “no mandates” policies look like — and the benefits they bestow.

  • No mandates policies are not about the appropriateness of vaccination as a practice. They focus on establishing policies that afford citizens the opportunity to opt out of vaccination or other preventative medical interventions without scrutiny or harassment should they feel that intervention is not in their (or their child’s) best interest.
  • No mandates policies are not intended to eliminate a state’s ability to recommend a list of certain vaccines for attending school.
  • No mandates policies are not intended to end the state’s ability to require vaccine records as a part of school attendance.
  • No mandates policies are not intended to take away the state’s ability to exclude students missing one or more vaccines during an infectious illness outbreak.
  • Most of all, no mandates policies do NOT discourage vaccination.

The real impact of no mandates policies is empowering individuals to determine which medical procedures are in their and their children’s best interest. As far as vaccinations, families would no longer have to obtain an exemption or win the approval of any individual or institution to obtain that exemption. Exemptions are problematic because they can be difficult to obtain, and they can be removed at any time by lawmakers. They also open up the door for discrimination and make it acceptable to interrogate others about their religious beliefs. This is a blatant violation of individuals’ religious rights; the Constitution provides protections that allow citizens to exercise their religious beliefs according to the dictates of their conscience.

Parents with deeply held religious beliefs should not have to choose between their religion and their children’s education.

Parents with medically frail children should not have to choose between their children’s health and their children’s education.

An employer should not be able to threaten an employee with the loss of a job or other punishment for failing to receive an injection of a non-therapeutic preventive medical intervention that is unwanted.

The state should not have the ability to withhold access to a constitutionally guaranteed and taxpayer-supported education (also known as a free and appropriate education) when a child — healthy or otherwise — fails to receive every injection of every CDC-recommended vaccine.

We live in a free society; presumably, the state should allow citizens to make choices that are in their best interest and their family’s best interest. However, with a hostile legislative climate, lawmakers around the country continue to introduce mandates under the guise that parents lack the intellectual capacity to make sound decisions for their children, so the state needs to do it for them.

Compulsory sterilizations were commonplace in the United States from the early 1900s through the 1970s. They were legally sanctioned by state governments, supported by medical societies, and performed by members of both. Forced sterilizations, part of the larger eugenics movement, were performed in the same vein as vaccinations — for the greater good. In 2013, it was reported that approximately 150 females in two California prisons were sterilized over a four-year-period in a voluntary program. However, it was later determined that the prisoners did not consent to the procedures; California subsequently enacted legislation in 2015 banning sterilizations in women’s prisons.

Forced sterilizations were a 20th century practice with a dark history that shouldn’t have lasted into modern-day times. We must never let the state have that kind of power again. Without medical freedom we are not truly free. The concept that a state can compel invasive medical interventions through coercive tactics is dangerous. That’s why we must work to abandon medical mandates in favor of no mandates policies. Our country cannot revert back to the stone ages. We must call on states nationwide to promote policies that encourage, recommend, and make vaccines readily available while protecting the freedom of citizens.

South Dakota advocate Mya Olson (left), who submitted HB 1235, sits with one of the bill’s prime sponsors, House Majority Leader Lee Qualm, during a committee meeting in which testimony was presented on the no mandates legislation.

Stand for Health Freedom would like to thank the two prime sponsors of HB 1235, House Majority Leader Lee Qualm and Senate President Pro Tempore Brock Greenfield, along with the 12 co-sponsors; South Dakota constituent Mya Olson for submitting the bill and working tirelessly to promote it; the doctors, religious leaders and advocates who took time out of their schedules to testify in support of the bill; and the South Dakotans who wrote letters, made phone calls, and showed up at the capital building in Pierre on February 25 to voice support for the measure.

Though this effort was not victorious this go-around, we are committed to STANDING together to change history by supporting public policies that simultaneously promote individual health, public health, and medical freedom of choice.

Jill Hines

Directory of Advocacy
A former banker turned homeschool mom, Jill Hines began researching alternatives to conventional medicine in 2010 and what she discovered changed the trajectory of her life. She corrected a worrisome health issue, and embraced a natural approach to wellness. Advocating for informed consent and parental rights became a full-time mission when she joined the board of the Georgia Coalition for Vaccine Choice and later became the co-director of Health Freedom Louisiana. Due to her advocacy efforts during the COVID crisis, Jill was one of 25 Louisianans selected by Central City News as “a hero of the constitutional crisis.” She was also presented the Impact Award for Outstanding Public Service from the government watchdog organization Citizens for a New Louisiana. Jill now represents hundreds of millions of Americans who experienced censorship due to the Biden administration's efforts to suppress disfavored speech as a plaintiff in the landmark lawsuit Missouri v. Biden. Jill holds a marketing degree from Louisiana Tech University and now passionately “sells” health freedom full-time. Serving as Stand for Health Freedom’s advocacy director provides an incredible opportunity to advance the growing movement to preserve the sacred right to refuse unwanted medical interventions for ourselves and our children without fear of retribution.
“We have lived through a terrifying societal, psychological, and medical experiment which afforded us a knowledge that our forefathers tried to impart and we can no longer ignore: Our freedom is tenuous. For our children’s sake, the time is now to take a stand for health freedom.”

Chrissy Scott

Executive Assistant and Social Media Manager

A labor and delivery nurse with a lifelong passion for maternal and fetal health, Chrissy Scott left her job of 19 years after learning the truth about the harms caused by the medical system. In 2009, she was mandated by her employer to receive the H1N1 vaccine during her first trimester of pregnancy with her second child. She was assured that the vaccine was “safe and effective” for pregnant women, but her son was born with a kidney defect that could have been fatal. She didn’t connect the dots to vaccine injury until several years later when the declining health of her oldest son drove her to seek answers outside of allopathic medicine.

This personal journey ignited in her a new passion for truth and transparency in health care. As SHF’s Executive Assistant, Chrissy facilitates communication and local advocacy initiatives alongside Leah Wilson for their home state of Indiana. She also manages and creates graphics for SHF’s social media accounts and the website’s swag shop.

Chrissy earned her nursing degree from Anderson University and served her entire career at her local hospital. While she’s no longer a floor nurse, her five very active boys frequently test her nursing skills! She homeschools her children and has been co-owner of a successful home décor sign business with her sister.

“Parents, being the experts on their own children, are best suited to make decisions for the well-being of their family. To do this properly, they must be given full and accurate information and be free from force or coercion.”

Ellen Chappelle


Ellen Chappelle serves as SHF’s resident wordsmith. A seasoned writer and editor, she’s enthusiastic about ensuring that our content is clear, concise, and inspiring.

Ellen is most energized by working on projects that transform lives. A truth seeker as well as a journalist, she’s disturbed by the lack of accuracy in today’s media and determined to help share fact rather than fiction. And having found greater healing with alternative approaches, she’s also passionate about preserving our freedom to make informed health choices.

Past projects include serving as regional editor of a dog magazine, color and trend specialist for a small cosmetics company, arts columnist, newspaper reporter, ghostwriter, and creator of website content for artists and small businesses.

With a degree in journalism and theatre, Ellen is also a performer. She enjoyed singing and dancing on a cruise ship and traveling with a national musical theatre tour, as well as recording industrial videos, television commercials, and radio voiceovers. She also creates handcrafted jewelry in wire, chain maille, and fused glass.

“Despite what some would have us believe, the fact remains that this nation was founded on biblical principles by people who wanted freedom to worship God and live their lives without government involvement. It’s never been more critical to fight for those rights.”


Executive Director and Co-founder

An attorney with a background in complex litigation and advocacy, Leah Wilson is passionate about children’s health and has researched and worked on child welfare issues for more than a decade.

The overmedication of children in foster care as a form of behavior management is what compelled Leah to become an advocate and foster parent. During her time as a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children, Leah witnessed the rampant use of psychiatric drugs among foster kids. She also discovered that, in addition to many extensive requirements, the state had a policy that all foster children and foster families be fully vaccinated, without exception. Through her involvement in law, health and the foster care system, it became abundantly clear to Leah that the single most important issue affecting child welfare in the United States is the practice of one-size-fits-all medicine via medical mandates. This motivated Leah to expand her advocacy beyond foster care to all children nationwide and to start Stand for Health Freedom (SHF) in 2019.

A graduate of the Saint Louis University School of Law, Leah holds dual bachelor degrees in political science and Spanish from Indiana University. In addition to her advocacy work with SHF, Leah is the owner and former operations director of MaxLiving Indy, one of the largest natural health centers in the Midwest. She is also an educator on holistic health as well as a sought-after speaker on issues ranging from religious rights to greening your home.

“Parental rights and religious freedom are God-given natural rights that cannot arbitrarily be taken away by government authorities. Parents are the single most important factor in a child’s success; I stand in full support of this sacred relationship.”

Sayer JI

Director and Co-founder

Sayer Ji is a widely recognized researcher, author, lecturer, activist, and educator on natural health modalities. Among his many roles, he is an advisor to Stand for Health Freedom, a reviewer and editor of the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, an advisory board member of the National Health Federation, a steering committee member of the Global GMO Free Coalition, and the co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed Inc., a revolutionary scientific validation framework.

Most notably, Sayer is the founder of Greenmedinfo.com, the world’s most widely referenced, evidence-based natural health resource of its kind. He founded the platform in 2008 to provide an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. Today, Greenmedinfo.com has more than a million visits per month, serving as a trusted resource on myriad health and wellness topics to physicians, healthcare practitioners, clinicians, researchers and consumers worldwide.

Sayer attended Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where he studied under the notable American philosopher Dr. Bruce W. Wilshire. He received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy in 1995, with a focus on the philosophy of science. His new book, Regenerate: Unlocking Your Body’s Radical Resilience through the New Biology, was released in March 2020 and is an Amazon bestseller.

“I truly believe that education will be our greatest shield against accelerating the erosion of civil liberties, including the right to bodily sovereignty, as well as the greatest catalyst for positive change on this planet moving forward.”

Bailey Kuykendoll

Associate Director

Designer and visual marketer Bailey Kuykendoll began advocating for health and religious freedom and parental rights in 2014 after learning she was pregnant. A self-described skeptic, she’s not afraid to ask questions and do copious amounts of research to reach her own conclusions.

She’s also not afraid of hard work. As SHF’s Associate Director, Bailey truly keeps the organizational boat afloat. Working closely with our State Directors in each state, she ensures that SHF has calls-to-action for health-freedom bills and petitions on our website and across social media, spreading the word to encourage people to contact their legislators. She builds campaigns, graphics, website pages, and relationships.

Bailey earned a design degree from Harrington Institute of Design in 2008. She then served as a production assistant on several shows for HGTV, followed by working behind the scenes on the X Factor, small indie films, music videos, and documentaries. Bailey joined Health Freedom Florida after moving to the East Coast, becoming co-president of the grassroots organization in 2019. While at Health Freedom Florida, she successfully filed a state bill designed to stop discrimination based on your health status. She joined SHF in the fall of 2020.

“God placed a calling on my heart back in 2008 to be a part of something bigger for Him. Twelve years later, the opportunity came knocking to help others lean into their natural-born rights and take a stand for themselves and their families. I knew this is where I was called to be, and I have never looked back.”

Valerie Borek


Valerie Borek is a passionate advocate for health rights and family privacy. A mother of two with degrees in law and biochemistry, she is perfectly positioned to lead SHF advocates through complex health-rights policy. Her work is guided by a love for American values, uncovering truth, and a passion for empowering others. Valerie has served as SHF’s policy analyst since 2021.

Valerie’s understanding of the value of freedom to make one’s own health care choices is not just academic. Health freedom has kept her boys alive and thriving. Her choice to have home births jump-started her advocacy for health privacy. Her eldest son survived a rare and deadly cancer because her family was able to navigate medical care while holding onto values that were sometimes at odds with recommendations.

Before joining SHF, Valerie specialized in health and parenting rights at her boutique law firm, especially surrounding birth and vaccine rights. She advocated for informed consent in health care and transparent food labeling in her state. She helped found the Birth Rights Bar Association and was honored to present their argument to the Delaware Supreme Court that midwifery is not the practice of medicine, in support of a trailblazing midwife.

“Health is the foundation of how we show up in this world to love, serve, and create. Americans are blessed to live in a country that gets stronger the more we protect fundamental rights, like informed consent and privacy, so individuals and families can thrive.”

Mary Katherine LaCroix


Mary Katherine LaCroix became involved with SHF as a volunteer in 2019 when the religious exemption for childhood vaccines was at risk in her home state of New Jersey. She believes strongly that parents have the responsibility for their children’s health, education, and faith formation and that only they have the right to make medical decisions and manage their care.

She has worked in fundraising for more than 25 years at various educational, cultural, human services, and political organizations. A graduate of the University of Scranton, she holds a degree in History and English Literature.

Mary Katherine is thrilled to have this opportunity to work with and help grow SHF, believing that together we can achieve even greater impact in protecting our rights and caring for our loved ones. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children and large extended family, as well as volunteering to support the special needs community.

“Parents are taught that they must trust the experts. That’s what we did, until we learned that the experts can be wrong and don’t always know what is best for your child. Parents should instead feel empowered by their natural, God-given ability to advocate and care for their children. SHF is here to give them the tools to do just that.”

Sheila Ealey

Political Analyst

Dr. Sheila Lewis Ealey is the founder and former director of the Creative Learning Center of Louisiana, a therapeutic day school for children who are on the autism spectrum or struggling with other nonverbal intellectual disabilities. The wife of a former U.S. Coast Guard Officer, she is also the mother of four children. Her son was diagnosed with severe autism spectrum disorder at 18 months. He is now a young man and considered moderate and emerging.

Sheila and her twins were featured in the documentary “Vaxxed.” She has traveled extensively, advocating for medical freedom. She continues to educate disenfranchised parents about their fundamental rights to religious and philosophical exemptions, their ability to live sustainably on a limited budget, and the importance of nutrition and biomedical interventions for optimum health with autism. She also writes individual homeschool curriculums for parents of children with autism or intellectual disorders. Sheila is a trustee for the Autism Trust, USA, and on the board of directors of Children’s Health Defense.

Over the past 20 years, she has educated herself to use natural healing modalities for the body and brain. Her formal education includes degrees in communication, special education curriculum, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership in Special Education. Sheila serves as an assistant content advisor and political analyst for SHF.

“It is not the Constitution’s job to protect our liberties, as it is not a philosophical document but a legal one. Its purpose is to limit the powers and authority of our federal government in hopes of preventing an intrusion upon our unalienable rights. We are obliged to maintain our government within its limits.”

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