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The recent passage of SB 277 is cause for concern for many parents. There have been numerous disputes surrounding the potential side-effects of vaccines, ranging from claims that they can cause autism, to horrifying conspiracy theories that the U.S. government is knowingly and willingly poisoning the population.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states openly that any vaccine can cause side effects, though for the most part they are minor, such as a sore arm or a low grade fever. They also continue to remind people that vaccines are continually monitored for safety and are subject to rigorous testing, just like any medication.

On July 2016, it became law in California that all children in school must be up-to-date on all mandatory vaccines, or they are required to be home-schooled. Despite court challenges and public opposition from a number of groups regarding the health concerns of vaccines and the power of the government to force vaccinations upon children, the law has been enforced thus far.

SB 277: The Law Itself

SB 277 has a number of sections and regulations governing exactly how parents, children, and schools should behave. SB 277 eliminates the personal belief exemption from statute for government-mandated vaccinations, while still allowing for a medical exemption whereby immunization is deemed to be unsafe by a licensed physician. SB 277 does not require home-schooled children to receive vaccinations, nor does it disqualify them from any special educational materials available to vaccinated children. There was a similar law introduced in New Jersey, but the religious exemption is still in place there.

To comply in California, you must have state mandated vaccines for diphtheria, Hib, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, tetanus, Hep B, varicella and “any other disease deemed appropriate by the department.” This overreaching language written into the legislation gives the state of California the power to add additional vaccines they deem to be necessary at any time – a power that in the wrong hands could be heavily abused. The law was formulated in the aftermath of the Measles incident at Disneyland in 2015, in which 113 people caught the disease, under the guise of a public health crisis (due to the state experiencing record low levels of vaccination).

A Pan Flip And Special Interests

Californian Senator Richard Pan, the “mastermind” behind the bill, has come under a vast amount of criticism recently because of his ties to Big Pharma and his indecision over his stance on vaccines. In 2012, he went on record stating that a parent should have the right to choose whether to vaccinate their child, yet, after the Disney measles hysteria in 2015, he declared it a matter of “public health” and denied parents that right.

There is a lawsuit currently being filed against California State lawmakers who supported the SB 277 bill, because of ties to big pharma and vaccine manufacturers. The lobbying effort in support of the bill was funded almost exclusively by industry donors and pharmaceutical companies, the very people who stand to profit from the mass increase in vaccinations. There was no call from the public or government for mandatory vaccination laws before they became involved; the measles “crisis” simply gave them the opportunity to roll out the law.

Our Survey Says…

Any claims of a link between vaccinations and autism has been frequently shot down by many large scientific groups and publications. Scientific American suggested the correlation between the vaccination process and the development of Autism symptoms is simply because of developmental timing; autism symptoms usually arise around 18-24 months – the same time children have often had the majority of their vaccinations.

They also argued that scientific evidence found that measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination-related seizures actually occur less frequently than ones that occur as a direct result of the measles infection itself. Meaning, a parent has to weigh the options between the possible side effects of any vaccination with the risk of the disease they are vaccinating against.

A groundbreaking survey conducted by Frontiers in Public Health (that was later taken down without reason) compared vaccinated and unvaccinated children. The survey was an anonymous online questionnaires taken by 415 mothers of home-schooled children, ages 6-12. Nearly 40 percent of children had not been vaccinated, and those that had been were three times more likely to be diagnosed with neuro-developmental disorders like autism. The survey was criticized for its anonymity and unverifiable facts, though the results are shocking if taken at face value.

The law has also caused a great deal of concern to parents who don’t want to have their children immunized. Californian, mother of two, Sharon Brown is currently embroiled in a lawsuit in an attempt to overturn the law and give parents back their right to choose.

“It’s amazing. You see people fleeing war-torn countries to go someplace safer, and we’re going to have to flee California in search of an education,” she says. After researching vaccines herself, she decided that natural immunity was better for her children, so rather than move or homeschool her children, she has decided to remain and fight for her right to exercise that choice.

When speaking to an anonymous mother of two about her struggles in California, we found she had reached out to several doctors in a fruitless attempt to find one to grant her the exemption.

Vaccination Overload

Dr. Barbara Loe Fisher has pointed out that this restriction of choice is almost a uniquely American, and more specifically a Californian, problem.

“They’re examining vaccine science shortfalls and wondering why Americans are coerced and punished for declining to use every government-recommended vaccine while citizens in Canada, Japan, and the European Union are free to make choices.”

However, this is not strictly true; 13 EU countries (including Italy, France, Belgium, and Poland) have some form of mandatory vaccination enforced by government, although this usually includes only a handful of vaccines. Where the U.S. differs is in the sheer number of vaccines. School children in California could be mandated to receive up to 40 different vaccinations.

A 2009 report by Generation Rescue, a nonprofit dedicated to treating autism, examined the relationship between vaccination rates, the number of vaccinations given to children, and infant mortality rates. In 1983, the CDC recommended 10 vaccines for children aged 5 and under, while today that number has risen to 36 (40 under SB 277) – the reasoning behind which was that infant mortality rates would drop. The results showed the U.S. approach to vaccinations could be wildly misguided; the U.S. recommends double the number of vaccines as the average “Western nation,” but every country with lower vaccine mandates also has lower mortality rates for children under 5 years old compared to America. On top of this, the U.S. has the highest autism rate in the world for 1 in 150 children – that’s 10 times the rate of some other Western countries.

Parents And Health Workers

Dr. Fisher also believes that scientists have been looking at the problem from the wrong angle; to understand why vaccine science is failing in the U.S., you have to look at the failure of vaccines to provide long-term immunity. Scientists cannot know how a child will react to a vaccine, and this knowledge gap, caused partly by a lack of research in the area, somewhat reduces the validity of the argument in favor of vaccinations. Though it must be conceded that there are inherent difficulties associated with conducting research.

We spoke to National Health Service (NHS) nurse Gillian Ross, a child care nurse and mother of two who specialized in vaccinations, to discuss her views on the fears surrounding vaccinations and the SB 277 legislation. As a parent, she has had to weigh the potential consequences against leaving her children unvaccinated:

In the UK, immunizations aren’t forced on people; people with parental responsibility have to give informed consent for their children to be vaccinated and no one can immunize without this. I think in regards to the MMR there is no danger, and the doctor who said there was has been struck off.

The doctor she is referring to is Andrew Wakefield, who in 1998 claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and the development of autism in children. However, he has since data-saferedirecturl=”https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&q=https://web.archive.org/web/20110809092833/https://www.gmc-uk.org/Wakefield_SPM_and_SANCTION.pdf_32595267.pdf&source=gmail&ust=1483539842329000&usg=AFQjCNGwRRHKR207c8-m6YfUu4lCOjpLIg”>retracted the claim and has been  data-saferedirecturl=”https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&q=https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/may/24/mmr-doctor-andrew-wakefield-struck-off&source=gmail&ust=1483539842329000&usg=AFQjCNEMF1CYUo_ygqwCouvwaghRRzodbA”>banned from practicing in the UK as a doctor.

Despite her support of the MMR vaccination, Ross encourages parents to do their research, so they understand exactly what they are agreeing to.

“People should question and research vaccines offered to their children and weigh pros and cons. The thing I always tell the parents I speak to about it is ‘you wouldn’t want your child getting one of these diseases’ even though they may never have heard of things like diphtheria, tetanus, and polio,” says Ross.

But this decision is moot if parents have no say in the process. We also spoke to Larry D. Cook, a Natural Health Advocate and founder of Stop Mandatory Vaccinationto get his take on the effects of choosing not to vaccinate your child.

He believes:

Vaccination is not a desirable way to ‘protect’ a child from infectious disease. Parents who do not vaccinate refuse vaccination first and foremost because the innate natural immune function is superior to vaccination in every possible way. A child will have extended and maybe even lifelong immunity to the infection once a child fights off the infection.

He went on to state that this type of treatment could be “far superior” to booster shots and vaccine failures from vaccination.

Children who are healthy and who have strong immune function are at extremely low risk of complications or death from infectious diseases and wind up with even better immune function once an infection passes through. In fact, not all unvaccinated children who are exposed to an infectious disease actually get infected with the disease because of their healthy immune function. Thus, parents choose not to vaccinate because natural immunity is superior to vaccination.

Criticism of Legislation

The Medical Exemption clause in the Californian legislation itself has been criticized heavily by individuals like Barbara Loe Fisher, C0-Founder & President NVIC (National Vaccine Information Centre), who argues that 99.9 percent of children will not qualify for or be granted a medical exemption. She cites the financial incentives offered to doctors through HMO contracts and grants, to hold high vaccination rates, as a serious contradiction to the legislative agenda. It must, however, be noted that there is, according to Senator Pan (author of the bill), nothing in the bill that would stop an M.D. from using their own judgement when issuing a medical exemption. However, the belief exemption has been all but eliminated – this is a direct challenge to the inalienable right to self-determination, a right which the U.N. recently reaffirmed.

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Judge Backs Up SB 277 Law

The law has been challenged unsuccessfully in the courts; it was struck down by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, who denied an injunction request on the SB 277 bill while the legal fight against the statute continued.

“Even outside the context of vaccination laws, the Supreme Court has reiterated the fundamental rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution do not overcome the State’s interest in protecting a child’s health,” Sabraw writes.

He also denied that the law is a violation of the universal right to education, citing the fact that children can be adequately homeschooled. Others believe denial of access to public schooling does seem to be an excessive use of force to coerce parents into giving vaccines, especially since homeschooling is simply not an option for many parents.

Vaccinations of children is something that has, in the past, helped prevent the spread of disease and benefited society. There have been numerous debilitating diseases virtually eradicated by vaccinations, such as smallpox, polio, and diphtheria. However, mandatory vaccinations are an unwanted challenge to a parent’s right to choose what is best for their children. SB 277 is a challenge to fundamental inalienable rights of freedom of speech and self-determination.

Josh Hamilton is an aspiring journalist from Belfast, Northern Ireland, living in London, Ontario. Lover of music, politics, tech, and life.Josh Hamilton is an aspiring journalist from Belfast, Northern Ireland, living in London, Ontario. Lover of music, politics, tech, and life.

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