UPDATE 3/25/2015 – SENATOR TARTE RESTRICTS FREEDOM OF PRESS – has journalist removed from his Senate office while addressing a group regarding SB 346. Video below.
by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
Three North Carolina State Senators recently introduced a bill to repeal the state’s religious exemptions to vaccines.
Apparently Senator Jeff Tarte believes that a “religious belief” can only be something officially sanctioned by a religious organization, and not a personal belief between an individual and their Creator, because Mr. Tarte stated that they researched religious organizations’ beliefs on vaccines in writing their bill.
Perhaps Mr. Tarte should review the First Amendment to the Constitution that our Founding Fathers wrote, where the right to express freedom of religion was granted as an individual liberty, and not a privilege to a group or an organization. Our Founding Fathers themselves were escaping religious tyranny in Europe, and this tyranny was undoubtedly a driving force in writing the freedom of religion clause as a personal liberty into the First Amendment.
But where it gets really interesting is when Mr. Tarte reveals which religious groups they found in their research that were “officially” opposed to vaccines:
“Christian Scientists” and “the Taliban.”
Did you know the Taliban was a religious group? I didn’t, so I tried to find some evidence that would support this statement, but I couldn’t find any. Everything I read stated that the Taliban was a political group that originated in Afghanistan.
So what exactly was Mr. Tarte trying to imply by comparing those who used religious beliefs to exempt themselves from receiving vaccines in North Carolina to the Taliban?
As to the other religious group mentioned, the Christian Scientists, WRAL interviewed  North Carolina Christian Science spokeswoman Cynthia Barnett who “took issue with Tarte’s remark.”
“Sponsor Senator Tarte was mistaken when he said that our Church has a policy against vaccinations. There is no such policy. Our churches leave health decisions up to individuals and do not tell them what to do.” (Source .)
It would appear that Cynthia Barnett has a better understanding of the Bill of Rights than Mr. Tarte does.
Was Senator Tarte’s Legal Assessment Correct?
Having apparently failed miserably on religious issues, let’s take a look at the legal statements Mr. Tarte gave for removing vaccine exemptions. He stated:
West Virginia and Mississippi have recently repealed their religious exemptions to vaccinations, he said. In the West Virginia case, the repeal was upheld by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Rulings by that court are applicable in North Carolina. There’s never been a case that’s failed to uphold the ability to mandatorily vaccinate kids, especially when it endangers the public health.
West Virginia and Mississippi indeed to do not provide religious exemptions for vaccines, being the only two states in the U.S. that do not, but I could find no evidence anywhere that these two states have ever repealed religious exemptions, let alone “recently.” There has to be an exemption in place to begin with, in order to repeal it.
Also, when state legislators hold up West Virginia and Mississippi as examples of health policy that should be followed, are they doing their research to find out where these states rank in overall children health statistics? Do you really want the health of the children of your state to rank at the same levels as these two states?
It might be wise to look at what else goes along with having the highest vaccination rates in your state.
As to the statement: “There’s never been a case that’s failed to uphold the ability to mandatorily vaccinate kids, especially when it endangers the public health,” this is not true, and in fact the U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled on compulsory state vaccine laws since 1922. Much has changed since then, including the reversal of compulsory sterilization laws passed by States back when eugenics was a popular “scientific fact.” For more info see:
Are Proposed Forced Vaccination Laws Comparable to Eugenics Forced Sterilization Laws in the U.S.? 
Outside of the judicial system, compulsory vaccines to children have been opposed and defeated. Just ask Rick Perry in Texas, where the state legislature over-turned his executive order to mandate the Gardasil vaccine in Texas in 2007.
Are the Medical Reasons Given for Removing Religious Exemptions to Vaccines True?
Having failed on the religious and legal reasoning for their proposed bill, let’s now look at the medical reasons that were given by these senators in North Carolina.
Terry Van Duyn is one of the three senators to co-author the bill to remove religious exemptions to vaccines in North Carolina, and WRAL reports  that this is one of the medical reasons given:
Van Duyn said Buncombe County has the state’s highest rate of religious exemptions. More than 4.5 percent of students enrolling in its schools there aren’t vaccinated.
“We’re starting to see cases of diseases we thought we had eradicated,” like whooping cough, she said. “These diseases are not a thing of the past.” (Source .)
Once again, we are seeing legislators simply making uninformed statements regarding public health. The current pertussis vaccine is failing to protect children from the whooping cough, and most of the current cases of whooping cough are happening among those vaccinated. This fact is not even in dispute anymore, and pharmaceutical companies are in the process of trying to develop a better vaccine, since the current one is so ineffective. For more info see:
Senator Tarte’s wife is Dr. Nancy Tarte, a board-certified pediatrician at Davidson Clinic. Mr. Tarte stated that his wife has been practicing medicine for 30 years, and that in her practice of 6 to 8 doctors they have never seen a bad reaction to a drug or vaccine:
Not only has she not had to deal with a bad reaction to a drug, (she has had) zero adverse reactions to a vaccine in 30 years between 6 to 8 doctors (in her practice.) And that’s what we find to be the national average.
Wow! The “national average” is ZERO bad reactions to a drug or vaccine among 6 to 8 doctors over a 30 year period? I wonder if Dr. Nancy Tarte is willing to testify to that under oath, since her husband is using that statement to help support a public policy for ALL children in North Carolina?
The fact is that every single drug and every single vaccine has package inserts listing side effects and dangers. Since U.S. law prevents anyone from suing a drug company for a bad vaccine or a bad reaction to a vaccine, one must sue the U.S. Government in a special vaccine court , where it can take years to be compensated. By reading the settlements from this “vaccine court,” one can clearly see that people are injured and die from vaccines. See:
Mr. Tarte also states that they obtained much of their information in drafting this bill from Dr. Paul Offit, the vaccine apologist who owns a patent on a mandated childhood vaccine and earns millions of dollars in royalties. Paul Offit is known for ridiculing parents’ religious beliefs, and was part of the worst case of forced vaccinations in recent history in Philadelphia, back in 1991.
In 1991 during a measles outbreak, public health officials in Philadelphia had child protection services seize children from their parents at two local churches where the parents did not vaccinate their children. The children were made a ward of the state, forced to receive vaccines, and then returned to their parents’ custody. Dr. Offit would like this to become regular policy all across the U.S. by abolishing all religious exemptions to vaccines. See:
Informed consent and the right to choose to refuse a medical procedure that has the risk to harm is a right afforded to individuals in almost every other country in the world, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, to name a few. These countries administer fewer vaccines than the U.S., but have better health outcomes in most categories, including infant mortality rates.
So the senators in North Carolina proposing mandatory vaccines with no religious exemptions for health reasons strike out on that count as well.
Senator Jeff Tarte apparently not only wants to do away with freedom of religious rights, but also freedom of speech. When North Carolina resident Pattie Curran tried to deliver a petition with 2,559 signatures to his Senate office, she had a journalist who was with her filming it, but Senator Tarte had her removed from his office by the Sergeant of Arms:
Oppose SB 346 in North Carolina
Here are the details of SB 346 in North Carolina, from the National Vaccine Information Center:
SB 346 was introduced on 3/19/2015. This bill is sponsored by Senators Jeff Tarte R-Mecklenburg, Tamara Barringer, R-Wake, and Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe and also Senator Angela Bryant.
This bill eliminates the current religious exemption to vaccination for school children in NC. SECTION 3. G.S. 130A-157 is repealed (current religious exemption) If passed the bill would go into effect Aug. 1, 2015.
This bill removes current law concerning vaccination, G.S. 130A-152, and replaces it as rewritten. The new law would add new mandates for school children in NC. If this passes children would be required to recieve hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rotavirus, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, poliomyelitis, red measles (rubeola) and rubella.(rubeola), rubella, mumps, pneumococcal, influenza, varicella and meningitis vaccines, in addition to any other virus, disease, or condition against which the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends.
When the Commission requires an additional immunization against a disease or requires an additional dose of a vaccine,vaccine based on a new recommendation by ACIP, the requirement for the additional immunizations shall be effective beginning with the next academic year.
Current requirements do not include Hepatitis A, rotavirus, pneumococcal, flu or meningitis vaccines.
http://www.immunize.nc.gov/PDFs/Vaccine%20Requirements%20Table.pdf  – list of current requirements
To see the current law and requirements go to – http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements/northcarolina.aspx 
http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Bills/Senate/PDF/S346v0.pdf  – text for SB 346
http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2015&BillID=SB+346&submitButton=Go  – status and history for SB 346
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