On Monday, New Jersey lawmakers tried to ram through a bill that would kick children out of public and private schools who are not completely vaccinated according to the CDC schedule. The bill, which would remove religious exemptions, passed in the Health and Senior Services Committee and was rushed to the General Assembly, which passed it, and sent it straight to the Senate. New York legislators followed this same formula when it removed New York’s religious exemption by forcing the repeal through committee and both houses in about two hours, despite thousands of protesters asking them to stop.
New Jersey parents in favor of religious exemptions and informed consent gathered outside the capitol for eight hours on Monday and shouted so loudly that senators on the floor were drowned out by them chanting: “KILL THE BILL.”
Politico reported that “Protests outside the Statehouse were loud enough to drown out the action on the floor within the Senate chamber as the upper house began taking up bills around 4 p.m., nearly three hours after the scheduled start time.”
The following video was taken by someone inside the chamber, and you can clearly hear them while senators did their best to curtail more American freedoms.
“Kill the bill,” protesters chant outside the Senate chamber, opposing a bill that would remove exemptions from vaccination requirements based on religion. Still waiting on Senate to begin its voting session. pic.twitter.com/GUHB6SEDQQ
— Stacey Barchenger (@sbarchenger) December 16, 2019
The start time was delayed due to massive numbers of protesters both inside and outside the building who were lobbying lawmakers to protect religious freedom in New Jersey. Senate President Steve Sweeney thought he had the votes to pass the bill, but support faltered throughout the day as protesters made their voices heard. As a result, the Senate canceled its vote on the controversial bill, but is planning to bring it back in January and pass it despite public outcry.
“We expected to pass the bill and we will pass this bill,” Sweeney told reporters. This is typical of Democrat legislators who have passed these unpopular bills in other states. They care nothing for the public opinion, which in New York was three to one against, as reported to me by lawmakers in Albany.
A similar situation happened in Maine. When they tried to repeal religious exemptions, several lawmakers stood on the floor and told the Assembly they were passing legislation against the will of the people, who had contacted them in huge numbers to oppose the bill. Representative Beth O’Connor of Maine’s 5th District said during that debate: “If the state can inject its citizens against their will, there is no power which the state cannot reserve for itself no matter the destructive impact on all of our civil liberties.” The bill passed in the Assembly but the Senate ended up keeping the religious exemption while ending philosophical exemptions.
The New Jersey vote in the Assembly and on the Health committee was split along party lines with a majority of Republicans siding with parents who want to have a choice and retain the right to decline medical procedures. Politico reported:
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, who during the debate described himself as “pro-vaccine,” raised objections to provisions in the bill that require local health officials to sign off on any medical exemption.
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-Bergen), who’s also the president of the Valley Hospital Medical Center’s fundraising foundation, questioned whether New Jersey might require students to obtain additional vaccines in the future. She specifically cited the vaccine for human papillomavirus, a cancer-causing virus that is spread through sexual contact.
“The devil’s in the details on the language,” Schepisi said on the floor, kicking off an extended back-and-forth with Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington), the lead sponsor.
Wherever these bills have passed—California, New York, and other states—homeschooling has skyrocketed and parents are still not complying with the new laws. These are not popular mandates, especially because the rates of vaccination in all the states that have passed them are within the acceptable “herd immunity” percentages the CDC says they should have, while the number of required vaccinations is always rising. Currently, the HPV vaccine Gardasil is being debated in New York for the mandated schedule and is one of the most controversial vaccines on the market, with many reports of adverse events and reactions that range from mild to horrifying. Further, HPV is not a disease that is spread through common contact in a school setting, leaving many to question why it would be mandated for school attendance.
The government has paid out over $4 billion to the victims of vaccine injuries. Every pharmaceutical product comes with a laundry list of side effects and reactions that only affect some people and not others. Since human beings are genetically unique, a one-size-fits-all mandate approach does not make sense. Vaccines are not safe for everyone, as proven by those who have been injured and suffered after receiving them. If medical science isn’t going to identify who is predisposed to be at risk for these adverse events, then parents and individuals must make those decisions for themselves. Mandating that a person sacrifice their health, their child, or their religious beliefs for the rights of the collective is unAmerican.
Parents posted videos on social media celebrating as the New Jersey Senate scurried out of the chamber after deciding not to vote.
Most likely their excitement will be short-lived when they find out that come January, the hold-outs will have been strong-armed into passing it despite the massive resistance.
“We were short, but we’re not done with it. They can cheer all they want but we’re not walking away from it,” Sweeney said.
But for now, people in favor of individual rights and informed consent went home happy.
Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo.” Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter