by Jim Satney
The Arizona The House Health and Human Services Committee approved three contentious vaccine-related House Bills. Each of the bills loosens government authority over parental immunization matters. Critics believe the measures may lower vaccination density in the state. Republicans and Democrats split the vote, with Republicans mostly siding with approval.
The first measure of importance, House Bill 2470, allows parents to opt their children out of vaccines without having to sign a state health department form. Committee chairwoman Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, who supports and sponsors all three bills, says this measure is about protecting parents from government coercion.
“When a parent only has a government statement that they have to sign in order to qualify for an exemption that they don’t agree with, that is coercion. This allows them to either sign that or make their own statement,” said committee chairwoman Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, who sponsored all three bills. “We are talking about a policy decision now for parents and we should attribute the best expectations on parents, not the worst.”
The second measure, House Bill 2472, applies directly to doctors. According to the bill, doctors will need to offer parents an “antibody titer” blood test for their children. The blood test is used to determine if the child needs the vaccine.
The third bill, House Bill 2471, is an informed consent bill that gives parents information regarding vaccine ingredients. Additionally, it explains the vaccine court process, in the event, a vaccine injury occurs.
Doctors are accusing those in favor of the bills of encouraging vaccine skepticism. AZCentral.com quoted several physicians critical the bill.
“Do we want the next outbreak news story to be in Arizona?” Dr. Steven R. Brown, a family physician in central Phoenix, asked the committee. “As a family physician who cares for the health of our citizens and especially our children, I am disheartened and frightened that this is up for debate. … Nobody is here to tell the stories of people who are alive and not disabled by vaccine-preventable illness.”
But proponents of parental rights continue to become more brash with their sentiments. Recently, a Trump aide’s wife critized the media’s coverage of measles and vaccines, calling it “fake outrage.”
But big technology companies, such as Pinterest, are growing less tolerable of vaccine skepticism. Last week, Pinterest announced it will be removing vaccine search content from its platform. Months back, Pinterest banned GreenMedInfo’s account, likely for posting vaccine skeptic content.
Vaccine Bills Are About Parental Rights
When discussing vaccine-related legislation, we often find ourselves debating vaccine safety. However, sponsors of the bills are determining vaccine safety. Instead, they are preserving parental rights.
Rep. Nancy Barto explains it perfectly when she states, “We are here to acknowledge vaccines have a place, but it’s every parent’s individual right to decide the vaccine’s place in the child’s life,” Barto told committee members.
The Arizona news likely prompts increased debate over the extent of medical rights a parent should be allowed. One thing is for certain, deeper government involvement which erodes parental rights almost certainly ends poorly.