Comments by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
In 2015, despite widespread opposition from the public which included testimonies from doctors and attorneys opposing SB 277 to remove the religious exemptions to vaccines, California became the first State in the U.S. to remove religious and philosophical exemptions by parents to childhood vaccines.
Every other state legislature that tried to do the same, both then and through the present time, failed.
The majority of the American public is clearly OPPOSED to mandatory vaccinations, even among those who choose vaccines for their own children.
Since the passage of SB 277 in California in 2015, the only way to opt out of childhood vaccines is to get a medical exemption from a licensed doctor.
California started going after doctors who write medical exemptions trying to restrict their freedom to practice medicine in a matter best suited for the individual needs of their patients.
The Internationally well-known pediatrician Bob Sears, who himself is NOT anti-vaccine but does delay or forgo some vaccines dependent upon the medical needs of his patients, was the first doctor they attacked, threatening to revoke his medical license. See:
California Pediatrician Bob Sears Breaks Silence on Medical Board Opposition to Vaccine Exemptions 
California medical doctor Ron Kennedy, who has been in medicine for almost 50 years, observed how many California medical doctors feared the loss of their medical license for writing vaccine medical exemptions, and filed a lawsuit against the California State Medical Board.
Dr. Kennedy allegedly states in his lawsuit that the California Medical Board goes from school to school demanding medical records of children, without any permission from the parents, in an effort to find medical doctors writing medical exemptions for vaccines. See:
California Medical Doctor Sues Medical Board Over Intimidating Doctors Who Write Vaccine Medical Exemptions 
Now, Dr. Richard Pan, who is a State Senator in California and authored SB 277 to remove the religious exemptions for childhood vaccines in California in 2015, has introduced Bill SB 276, which would take away the right of California medical doctors to write medical exemptions for vaccines, unless they get government permission.
The group A Voice for Choice Advocacy  and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons  have both voiced their opposition to this bill, and we are republishing their press releases below.
PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA
March 27, 2019
by A Voice for Choice Advocacy
Sacramento – State Senator Richard Pan, the author of SB 277, a law that requires kindergartners to get twenty-seven different doses of medication and fifteen different shots or forego a public education, has introduced SB 276, a bill that would require government permission for a doctor to opine that certain vaccines could harm a patient. This is an unprecedented and dangerous intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship, likely violates doctor’s free-speech rights, and contradicts Pan’s own public promises from just a few years ago.
Pan has claimed there is a problem with “medical exemptions” – i.e., official opinions by a doctor that if a child is vaccinated, that child could suffer harm. Medical exemptions are extremely rare, and doctors grant them only if a child or a family member suffers from things like a debilitating disease (such as leukemia), or if a child or a family member had a well-documented negative reaction to a vaccine or one of its ingredients. Just 0.7% of students obtain such an exemption, up from 0.2% before the passage of SB 277, a change that is not statistically significant. The total number of children exempt from the state’s vaccine requirements (i.e., including those 1.1% exempt due to disabilities) has actually dropped since the passage of SB 277, going from 2.6% to 1.9%, indicating that Pan’s plan is a solution in search of a problem.
Pan’s legislation would require doctors to get permission from a government department — the state Department of Public Health, before issuing an opinion for a patient on this issue. Such interference in the doctor-patient relationship is unprecedented, and the only analogous laws have been in state’s requiring state approval of abortions — something that has been universally deemed improper.
Pan’s planned attempt to crack down on doctors would almost certainly get in the way of a doctor making an evaluation based on empirical, scientific evidence.
“Imagine being the parents of a child who the federal government concluded was injured because of a condition that made them susceptible to vaccines, and then your family doctor tells you she is too terrified to exempt your younger child from those same vaccines, because the thought police might take her license,” said Christina Hildebrand, President and Founder of A Voice for Choice Advocacy, a non-profit that advocates for medical freedom.
“I can’t imagine what good would come from the government regulating a doctor’s free will to diagnose as he sees fit – it starts to resemble regulation of free speech,” Hildebrand concluded.
Pan, a politician representing the Sacramento region, is a regular beneficiary of campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, averaging just shy of $100,000 from it every legislative session. He is the top recipient of such funds in the state legislature, and the pharmaceutical industry, in turn, is his largest contributor.
“Any legislation or action on behalf of drugmakers that interferes with a doctor’s individual judgment will be hotly contested,” said Hildebrand.
“We cannot let government determine what is in the best interests of any individual, overriding the doctor-patient relationship. Every doctor and patient in the state should be alarmed if such action is brought forward. If this can be done with vaccinations, what medical treatment will be next? Patients need to be able to trust their doctors and not worry that they are being pressured or worried that their honest, scientifically based medical judgement will be overruled by a legislatively appointed official who has never met them.”
Press Contact: Christina Hildebrand,
A Voice For Choice Advocacy, Inc.
Re: SB 276, the elimination of physicians’ right to determine medical exemptions for vaccines
To: California Legislators
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons strongly opposes this proposal (SB 276) to require patients to submit to government-ordered medical treatments without informed consent, even when a physician certifies that a medical exemption is warranted.
The traditional ethic in the Oath of Hippocrates requires physicians to refrain from deliberately harming patients. The State of California is denying patients the protection of this code and is instead imposing on them the judgment of a government agency, the Department of Public Health. Unlike physicians, these officials have no accountability for harm that individual patients may suffer.
Vaccines are unavoidably unsafe, as recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court, and also by Congress in establishing the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Most doctors nevertheless recommend many vaccines, as they believe the benefit to the patient exceeds the risk. The public health authorities, on the other hand, may impose their dictates on the presumption that the overall benefit to the population, as they calculate it, overrides individual rights or more than counterbalances any adverse effects that individuals may endure.
History shows that many serious adverse effects of medical intervention may be unrecognized for long periods of time. Bureaucracies are by nature glacially slow in updating their policies—especially when conflicts of interest occur. A mistaken policy can cause far more harm than errors by individuals. Thus, protecting individuals’ freedom also protects the population, as individuals can adapt far more quickly to new information or circumstances.
We urge California lawmakers to protect individuals’ right to choose their medical treatment, the ability of physicians to practice in accordance with long-established medical ethics, and the right of patients to benefit from the independent judgment of their physicians. Please reject the government overreach and intrusion into medical decisions that SB 276 embodies.
Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Executive Director, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
Comment on this article at VaccineImpact.com .
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