This is not a piece about the ethics of aborted-fetal-cell-derived vaccines. You’ve no doubt read enough of those. It’s not a piece about COVID-19 vaccines or vaccines in general. Again, those too, are ubiquitous. This is not even a piece intended primarily for Catholic readers. This is about something that every rational person of good will should care about, anyone at least who would like to be able to live, work, send their kids to school, and make free and informed medical decisions without coercion or loss of livelihood. I’m guessing that’s most people, including you, dear reader. So, listen to this, because those with ears ought to hear.
“What happens in California…”
It’s been said that what happens in California eventually metastasizes, er … spreads to other states. Well, here’s what’s about to happen in California.
Despite COVID-19 rates continuing to plummet, mask mandates being lifted nearly statewide in schools (yes, even in California), and the fact that children are the least likely, by orders of magnitude, to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19, legislators have introduced a slate of bills that are unnecessary and draconian.
These bills, in various ways, make COVID-19 vaccination a requirement for all children to attend school and make it impossible for anyone to work in the state of California who is not vaccinated. They deny parents the right to make free and informed medical decisions for their children, and the right to send their children to school without submitting to vaccines they may not need. The bills also place coercive restrictions on employers and medical professionals.
None of this is hyperbole. The texts of these bills are very clear. CalMatters has a good overview of the proposed bills with links to the texts. Read them for yourself. Here are just a few of them, in particular those related to parents and their children.
SB-871 – Requires COVID-19 Vaccine to Attend School or Daycare
Authored by Democratic Sen. Richard Pan, SB-871 would require that all children ages 0 – 17 be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a requirement to attend any childcare facility, pre-school, or K-12 school. The bill removes personal belief exemptions, making it impossible for parents to decline the COVID-19 shot for their child for religious or conscience reasons. The bill also eliminates personal belief exemptions from any future vaccines that the state Public Health Department decides to add to the list of vaccines required to attend school in California. SB-871 adds the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccines for school attendance. But take a look at the list. One of these things is not like the others.
(2) Hepatitis B
(3) Haemophilus influenzae type b
(6) Pertussis (whooping cough)
(10) Varicella (chickenpox)
(12) “Any other disease deemed appropriate by the department…”
Most of the diseases listed here are serious, especially for children. There is one on the list that is not especially dangerous or deadly to children. COVID-19.
So why is it here? Hospitalization and mortality rates for COVID-19 vary significantly by age and comorbidity. Children are not only highly unlikely to be hospitalized or to die from COVID-19, there are other pathogens that are more dangerous to children, vaccines for which are not on this list, for example the flu.
We also now know that being vaccinated against COVID-19 does not prevent the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are actually now recommending that some individuals receive a fourth booster shot. A booster for the booster for the booster for the booster for the two-dose vaccine that doesn’t prevent the spread of a virus that’s not deadly to those being forced to get it. Read that sentence again.
If anyone had told that to our February 2020 selves, it would have seemed absurd. Yet, here we are.
This legislation is a poison pill, a blank check, or whatever metaphor you prefer. It is meant to make it impossible for parents to send their kids to school or daycare if they choose not to vaccinate their child – against a virus that is not even as dangerous to those its being foisted upon as the flu, or against some yet-to-be-named-because-we-say-so pathogen.
The bill does not even indicate whether the existing vaccines would need Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval before children under five would be required to receive them.
You could not write a more overreaching bill if you tried. This one has it all: Denial of medical autonomy and parental rights, inclusion of a vaccine that doesn’t actually prevent the spread of the virus it’s meant to protect against, and of course the simple appeal to state power and mandate. “Anything else we decide to force you to do.”
Every parent has the right to make informed medical decisions for their child and to do so free from state coercion. This has long been a hallmark even of secular medical ethics. It is the first thing listed in the Nuremberg Code.
While the primary issue here is parental rights, SB-871 may have other downstream effects, for example on the enrollment of not only public schools, but private schools as well. Parents who choose not to have their child vaccinated against we-know-not-what-yet would be forced to homeschool, which not everyone can do. Further, families may be forced to forgo working outside the home to do so and, in some cases, cut their household income in half which, again, not everyone can do.
And of course, this legislation will disproportionately affect Latinos and African Americans, since these demographics tend to be more, to borrow a condescendingly insulting phrase from the media, “vaccine hesitant.”
Realize, at this point, that we are not even talking about school vaccinations anymore but about more fundamental things – equity, the right to medical autonomy, the right to go to school, and the right to work and raise a family without coercion and fear. These are things which affect everyone.
Everyone should oppose SB-871.
SB-866 – Allows Children 12-17 Years of Age to be Vaccinated Without Parental Consent
“A 12-year-old can get an abortion, the HPV vaccine, the Hep B vaccine, mental health services and domestic abuse services … we trust them to do that on their own and we should trust them [with the COVID-19 vaccine] as well.” This bit of horrifyingly-consistent-yet-still-a-non-sequitur reasoning comes from the authors of the bill, Democratic Sens. Scott Weiner and Richard Pan (again), and raises the obvious point, “maybe… they shouldn’t be able to do that, either? Maybe? Probably. No, definitely.” Also, “huh?”
Again, notice this bill is really not even about the COVID-19 vaccine, but is a clear attempt to further drive a wedge between parents and their children.
Children do not belong to the state. The Compendium of the Social Teaching of the Church states, “The family has a completely original and irreplaceable role in raising children.” (239) The family is the first society (after the Trinity) and the primary “cell” of every society. Legislation that attempts to replace the role of parents in raising children is a violation of the natural law and the rights of parents (and of children to be raised by their parents), and is a social justice issue.
Everyone should oppose SB-866.
One hopeful bit of news is that AB-1993 has been paused. The bill, introduced in February, would have “require[d] each person who is an employee or independent contractor, and who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, to show proof to the employer … that the person has been vaccinated against COVID-19.”
You read that correctly. This bill would have prevented anyone from working in the state of California without submitting to a vaccine they may not want or need. The economic effects and, again, especially the effects on particular communities who may be less likely to submit to the vaccine, would be disastrous.
In the words of the bill’s author, Assembly Member Buffy Wicks, “We are now in a new and welcome chapter in this pandemic, with the virus receding for the moment.” In other words, this is unnecessary. Yes, we know. For now, employers have been spared from being coerced into violating the medical autonomy of their employees. For now.
We have focused here on bills related to the stripping away of medical autonomy and parental rights. There are a slate of other bills related to COVID-19 that have been proposed and that are not only worth reading, but worth voicing opposition to, including:
● SB-1479, which would require schools to create testing plans and to continue to test for COVID-19 and expands existing testing programs to “prekindergarten, onsite after school programs, and childcare centers.”
● AB 1797, which would make changes to the California Immunization Record Database in ways that are invasive.
● AB 2098, which would reclassify the sharing of COVID-19 “misinformation” and “disinformation” by a medical professional as “unprofessional conduct” that would result in disciplinary action or loss of medical license.
Read the bills for yourselves. They are brief. Pay attention, for example, to the number of times AB 1797 amends the word “may” to “shall” concerning the way state agencies enforce the legislation.
This appeal is to everyone who wants to make free and informed decisions about their child’s healthcare without having their livelihood or child’s education held over their heads as a coercive tool. That’s something everyone should oppose.
“These bills all attempt to bring cohesion, consistency and clarity to our overall approach and response to the pandemic,” said Democratic Sen. Josh Newman of Fullerton. He spelled “coercion, compliance, and control” wrong.
Again, they say that what happens in California eventually spreads to the rest of the states. There is much that might draw our attention away from these mandates right now. Don’t let that happen. Oppose these unnecessary, overreaching, and coercive bills, so that what happens in California doesn’t even happen in California.
To contact your state representatives: