Yesterday in Trenton, New Jersey I joined with some 700 vaccine educated parents, who were standing up publicly at a rally in front of the State House for the freedom to follow their conscience when making informed vaccination decisions for their children. It was the first rally in the U.S. devoted to defending the ethical and legal right to exercise informed consent to vaccination.
The catalyst for the rally, which was sponsored by the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice (NHCVC), was the New Jersey Health Department's recent addition of annual influenza vaccinations to New Jersey's daycare and school entry laws. New Jersey now mandates more vaccines than any other state - 35 doses of 13 vaccines. It is the first state to mandate influenza vaccine for children despite a lack of scientific evidence that influenza vaccine is very effective in preventing Type A or Type B influenza in children. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/333/7574/912
I saw many old friends, parents of DPT vaccine injured children and NJ Representative Charlotte Vandervalk, who has had the courage to stay the course for a decade in her sponsorship of conscientious belief legislation that now has 34 co- sponsors; Sue Collins, co-founder of New Jersey Alliance for Vaccine Choice; Larry Palevsky, M.D., who challenged pediatricians from the podium to open their eyes and listen to what mothers are telling them about vaccine reactions; Vaccination News founder Sandy Gottfried, who made the trip from Alaska; Robin Stavola, whose daughter died after an MMR vaccine reaction; radio personality and alternative health care advocate Gary Null, Ph.D.; New York autism activists Bob Krakow, co-founder of A-CHAMP and John Gilmore, director of Autism United; Maureen McDonell, RN, founder of Saving Our Kids and Our Planet, Lynn Friedman, D.C., who has stood up for the right for religious exemption to vaccination in New York for many years, and so many more. And there were new friends I have gotten to know this past year, who are taking up the torch for freedom and standing up for their right to make voluntary health care choices for their families: NJCVC members Louise Habakus, Claudine Liss and Barbara Majeski; Rita Palma, who is in the courts right now in New York fighting for her right to receive a religious exemption from that state; Kevin Barry, CTI Science Foundation and Kim Stagliano, mother of three daughters with autism and managing editor for Age of Autism www.ageofautism.com.
As I looked out at the sea of young families with babies and small children, some vaccine injured and some unvaccinated and still healthy, as well as older parents with DPT vaccine injured children, I remembered the march in Atlanta in 1986 in front of the CDC and then at the White House that year which Kathi Williams and I led when we were young Moms. Back then we were asking for more scientific studies to investigate DPT deaths and brain injuries; more credible vaccine benefit and risk information for parents and a less toxic pertussis vaccine at a time when most Americans had never heard of a vaccine reaction. Today, many young parents have heard about vaccine reactions or experienced them with their own children first-hand and they have already figured out that cannot wait another 26 years for government, industry and medical organizations to do the right thing... They know they cannot wait to stand up and fight for their informed consent rights or they will be forced by law to give their children scores of potentially poorly tested and reactive new vaccines in the future in addition to the 69 doses of 16 vaccines the CDC already tells doctors to give children from birth to age 18.
It was a day that elicited many emotions from sorrow and anger that children are still being injured and killed by foced vaccination laws to the joy and peace that comes with knowing more Americans from every walk of life are understanding that defense of the informed consent ethic is an essential part of any call for less toxic vaccines and safer vaccine policies. Without the legal right to say no, the people have no economic and political leverage to place on industry and government to reform the public health system and develop policies which truly protect the health and well-being of our children.
Yesterday's remarkable gathering was made possible by the energy and vision of Louise Habakus and the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice, whose members representing many parent organizations came together to make a public stand that, as I said in my statement at the rally, will be repeated in many State Capitols in the years to come. It was a clarion call to all those, who would deny citizens the right to make informed, voluntary vaccine choices, that parents are going to fight for freedom from oppressive vaccine mandates until conscientious exemption to vaccination is translated into law in every state.
No forced vaccination. Not in America.
"This is not an anti-vaccine rally - it's a freedom of choice rally," said one of the organizers, Louise Habakus. "This one-size-fits-all approach is really very anti-American." New Jersey's policy was approved last December by the state's Public Health Council and is taking effect this fall. Children from 6 months to 5 years old who attend a child-care center or preschool have until Dec. 31 to receive the flu vaccine, along with a pneumococcal vaccine.....More generally, many of the parents mobilizing against the state policy believe various types of vaccine are being overused, resulting in more cases of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other neurological problems in children. "There's not been a response from the government that is credible in terms of doing the scientific research that will screen out vulnerable children," said Barbara Loe Fisher, a speaker at the rally. She is co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center in Vienna, Va., an advocacy group skeptical of vaccination policies. "There's an acknowledgment that prescription drugs can cause different reactions in people, but there's a blanket statement by health authorities that we all have to vaccinate, all in the same way," Fisher said. Fisher is a prominent player in a nationwide movement challenging the scope of vaccination programs. She was harshly critical last year when school officials in Maryland's Prince George's County threatened to impose jail terms and fines on parents whose children didn't get required vaccinations." - David Crary, Associated Press (October 16, 2008)
We come to this State Capitol today to celebrate freedom of speech and participate in the democratic process. Representing three generations, we are standing publicly for the legal right to follow our conscience when making educated vaccine decisions for our families....If we cannot be free to make informed, voluntary decisions about which pharmaceutical products we are willing to risk our lives for, then we are not free in any sense of the word......We believe every life is important and will not look the other way while vulnerable children are being sacrificed in the name of the community good. We believe in compassion because when one member of the community is considered expendable, we are all considered expendable.... We will come again to this State Capitol and every State Capitol until common sense and respect for the informed consent ethic is translated into law. No forced vaccination.Not in America." - Barbara Loe Fisher, Renton Rally Statement (October 16, 2008)
Co-founder & President
National Vaccine Information Center
Rally for Conscientious Exemption to Vaccination
Sponsored by New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice
October 16, 2008
Trenton, New Jersey
Among us are parents with healthy children and those with children who have been hurt by one-size-fits-all vaccine mandates that ignore the genetic and biological differences which make some people more vulnerable than others for having severe reactions to prescription drugs and vaccines.
No American should be legally forced to play vaccine roulette with a child’s life.
Twenty eight years ago, I watched my two and a half year old son, Chris, suffer a brain inflammation within hours of his fourth DPT shot and become learning disabled. Back then, parents did not know vaccines contain bioactive and toxic ingredients that can inflame and damage brains and immune systems. Today many more parents do know because they either have a child who regressed into poor health after vaccination or know one.
During the past 30 years, public health officials have persuaded state legislators to triple the number of doses of mandated vaccines for daycare and school entry. And now more babies than ever are dying as America has plummeted among nations in infant mortality and an epidemic of chronic disease and disability is destroying the health of more highly vaccinated children than any infectious disease epidemic in our history, including smallpox, polio, whooping cough and measles.
The response by health officials to this unprecedented national child health crisis is to tell parents that, every time another child dies or regresses into poor health after vaccination, it is just a “coincidence” while quietly writing those children off as acceptable losses. It is this tragic moral failure and scientific miscalculation by doctors we have trusted that now threatens the biological integrity of future generations of Americans.
If we cannot be free to make informed, voluntary decisions about which pharmaceutical products we are willing to risk our lives for, then we are not free in any sense of the word. Because if the State can tag, track down and force individuals against their will to be injected with biological products of unknown toxicity today, then there will be no limit on which individual freedoms the State can take away in the name of the greater good tomorrow.
When you enter the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., you see an inscription. It says: “The first to perish were the children…from these a new dawn might have risen.”
We believe every life is important and will not look the other way while vulnerable children are being sacrificed in the name of the community good.
We believe in compassion because when one member of the community is considered expendable, we are all considered expendable.
We believe in truth and will not be silent when we know government, industry and doctors could do so much more to make vaccines and vaccine policies safer.
We believe in justice and will find a way to hold those exploiting the people for profit and power accountable in a court of law.
We believe in liberty and will fight for the right to use our intelligence and follow our conscience when making health care decisions for ourselves and our children.
We believe in the future and will do whatever it takes to give children back the future that is their birthright.
We will come again to this State Capitol and every State Capitol until common sense and respect for the informed consent ethic is translated into law.
What do we want? Freedom.
No forced vaccination. Not in America.