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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Why Pro-Vaccine Advocates NEED Vaccine Exemptions

A Community Conversation About Health and Responsibility: Vaccines and Beyond

Informed Consent: Why Fully-Vaccinated Citizens Need Vaccine Exemptions

When you go to the doctor, you may take the right to informed consent for granted. The doctor makes a recommendation, which usually includes information about the risks and benefits of that recommendation. You may choose to follow that recommendation, ask more questions or decide to do more research before making a decision. Perhaps you choose to seek a second opinion. In the end, you may refuse the doctor's recommendation. These are all your rights under informed consent.

Imagine, for a moment, going to a doctor for medical advice regarding a procedure. The doctor gives a recommendation which you listen to respectfully. Before you have a chance to make up your own mind, the doctor casually mentions, "Oh, by the way." "If you don't agree to my recommendation, you will be kicked out of school and/or fired from your job. This medical procedure is mandatory in the state of Washington. But as long as you're willing to give up education and employment, feel free to make your own decision."

Would you be okay with this? Even if you absolutely agreed with the doctor's medical opinion and planned to follow the recommendation, would you be comfortable being subjected to this kind of coercion?

History tells us repeatedly that patient involvement in their own health decisions is vital for safe and effective health care. When coercion becomes part of health care, people get hurt. Even if that coercion is well-intended.

Freedom of speech protects us all, but only if we defend it universally. For instance, we don't get to pick and choose whose speech is acceptable enough to be worth protecting. That freedom is protected for all of us. To protect your own rights, you must protect the rights of others, even if you strongly disagree with them. Even if you think they're dangerous idiots. Rights are rights.

The right of informed consent also protects us all. To retain this right, we must all defend it, in every area of healthcare. Allowing a profit-driven industry with known conflicts of interest to decide which areas of medicine and which patient groups deserve the benefits of informed consent is a naive and dangerous proposition.

In 2015, a very small handful of representatives in Olympia crafted & tried to pass HB 2009. This bill was designed to eliminate our right to file a Philosophical/Personal Vaccine Exemption on behalf of our families and our children. It was designed to coerce parents into compliance by threatening their child's access to childcare and public/private education.

The corporate pharmaceutical companies are using powerful marketing techniques to undermine the right of informed consent. Their messages suggest that informed consent is a public health risk and that only mandates can save us all from the scourge of disease. This is fear-mongering. Such legislation will undermine public health while it increases corporate pharmaceutical corporate profit. Any medication or drug (as vaccines are classified according to the CDC) that can be made universally mandatory guarantees a universal consumer base for the manufacturer and a predictable profit. This is even more so if the manufacturer is protected from liability for any harm that drug may cause.

In 2015, corporate pharmaceutical lobbyists spent more than $2 million on changing California vaccine laws.* Laws were passed that remove the right of informed consent for both children and adults. Vaccination is now required for all school children including homeschoolers who meet in a classroom environment. Children who are missing even one vaccine are only allowed to be educated in isolation at home or in independent study programs that involve no classroom contact. In addition, no adult in California may work in any form of childcare or preschool without proof of vaccination and this includes parent co-ops. If any money is exchanged to pay for a program, vaccines are required for both paid staff and volunteers.  *Source: Sacramento Bee

It is important to note that the California measles outbreak did not spread through schools. It happened because someone who was contagious with measles went to Disneyland where they still have a strict "no-refund, no exchange" policy for any reason...including active, contagious measles. Oddly, no legislation to mandate refund or exchange policies for businesses has been introduced into the CA legislature.

In 2015, we succeeded in defending our right to informed consent in Washington, but in 2016, we expect a much harder fight in Olympia. And so, we are preparing in advance!
Please join us the effort to protect informed consent. Here's how you can help:

1.  Review some of the posts on this blog. Expand your viewpoint and information base. Our legislators need to hear some new information, not repetitions of the same tired themes.

2.  Contact legislators in Olympia. When doing so, think strategically. In Olympia, there are those who are committed to their viewpoint and nothing you say will sway them. So, don't waste your time. Instead, reach out to those voting members of our legislature who may care a great deal but just don't know much or those who appear to be on the fence. Remember that they have the right to ask questions and there are many great viewpoints we can offer them.

3.  Talk to both your legislators and your friends about the complexity of this issue and the importance of informed consent to them and their loved ones. No matter what the news and lobbyists tell you, coercion is bad medicine and poor public health policy. 

“A Community Conversation About Health and Responsibility: Vaccines and Beyond” is an ongoing series written by two close friends with a passion for improving community cohesion and building respectful relationships in a diverse world. This article was co-created by Karen Crisalli Winter and March Twisdale. 
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Welcome to the conversation. Knowledge changes. People respond best when this truism is kept in mind. In community, March & Karen