MD: TAKE ACTION NOW! OPPOSE HB87 and SB135 Minor Children Consenting to Vaccination Without Parental Consent

by NATIONAL VACCINE INFORMATION CENTER

Contact Legislators to OPPOSE HB87 and SB135Minor Children Consenting to Vaccination Without Parental Consent

Hearings for HB87 on Wednesday, February 12, at 1:00 p.m. and SB135 on Tuesday, February 18 at 1:00 p.m.

Your action is needed to help STOP two dangerous bills: HB87 sponsored by Delegate Marc Korman and companion bill SB135 sponsored by Senator Brian Feldman.

HB87 and SB135 authorize a health care provider to administer vaccines to minor children 16 years and older after obtaining “consent” of the minor child, even when the parent of the minor child objects to the immunization. Parents are not required to be notified when their child has been vaccinated.

HB87 has been scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday, February 12, at 1:00 p.m. in the Health & Government Operations Committee.

SB135 has been scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, February 18 at 1:00 p.m. in the Senate Finance Committee.

We need you to contact your own legislators and committee members to oppose these bills. Also, please attend the hearings and testify against HB87 and SB135.

ACTION NEEDED:

1. Contact your delegate and state senator and respectfully ask them to OPPOSE HB87 and SB135 in the 2020 legislative session. (See “Reasons to Oppose” below.)

As soon as possible, schedule an in-person meeting with your delegate and senator to express to them how important it is to you that your fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education and medical care of your child is not taken away.

Call and email your legislators and ask them to OPPOSE HB87 and SB135. Personal contact is most effective, but it is also important that your legislators receive as many phone calls and emails from their constituents as possible.

To find out who represents you and their contact information, you can login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org and click on the “State Teams” tab and then “My State,” and your elected officials are automatically posted on the right hand side of the page. You can click on their name to display contact information and social media accounts that you can follow.

2. Contact both bill sponsors and respectfully ask them to withdraw their bills.

HB87: Delegate Marc Korman, (410) 841-3649, (301) 858-3649, marc.korman@house.state.md.us

SB135: Senator Brian Feldman, 410-841-3169, 301-858-3169, brian.feldman@senate.state.md.us

3. Plan to attend and testify against HB87 and SB135 at upcoming public hearings. (see talking points below)

HB87 has a hearing in the Health and Government Operations Committee on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. in the House Office Building, Room 240, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD.

Please review the House Hearing Guidelines when preparing testimony.

You must sign up from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on the hearing day. You must provide a flash drive with specially named PDF file and a hard copy of testimony. Speakers have maximum of 3 minutes.

SB135 has a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. in the East Miller Senate Office Building, Room 3, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD.

Please review instructions for preparing to submit testimony at the Committee Hearing by copying this link into your browser: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/pubs-current/current-fin-faqs.pdf.

All who testify must sign up at the hearing location from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. on Feb 18. Registration kiosks are inside the Miller Building. You will need a thumb drive with a copy of your written testimony in PDF format AND 1 hard copy. Public testimony is limited to 2-3 minutes.

Parking is available at nearby garages including Gotts and Whitmore.

4. Call and Email members of the Maryland House Health & Government Operations Committee to ask them to OPPOSE HB 87 before Wednesday 2/12/2020 at 1:00 p.m. See talking points and committee contact list below.

5. Call and Email members of the Maryland Senate Finance Committee to ask them to OPPOSE SB135 before 2/18/2020 at 1:00 p.m. See talking points and committee contact list below.

6. Login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal often to check for updates. We review bills and make updates daily. Bills can change many times over the legislative process and your timely visits, calls, and emails directed at the correct legislators are critical to this process.

7. Please forward any legislative responses you receive to our Maryland directors at MDDirector@NVICAdvocacy.org.

8. Please forward this email to family and friends and ask them to register for the NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org and share their concerns with their legislators as well. If you wish to share this alert on social media, go to the “Notes” section on the National Vaccine Information Center’s Facebook page and share it from there.

REASONS TO OPPOSE:

HB87 and SB135 Disregard Parental Rights.

HB87 and SB135 eliminate the long recognized, fundamental right of parents in the U.S. to make medical decisions for minor children that involve significant risks to a child’s health or well-being. These bills:

  • Allow doctors or other medical workers to administer vaccines to a minor child without first obtaining the voluntary, informed consent of the child’s parent or legal guardian; and
  • Grants a minor child the legal right to make the decision to receive a vaccine without the consent or notification of the parent or legal guardian.

Vaccines are commercial pharmaceutical products, which carry a risk of injury or death that can be greater for some individuals. Minor children are often unaware of their own medical history or family history of vaccine reactions or other health conditions that can increase the risks of vaccination for some individuals.

HB87 and SB135 grant unrestricted power to doctors and medical workers to administer vaccines to minor children after making the personal determination that a minor child has the mental capacity and social maturity to fully comprehend the benefits and risks of receiving one or more vaccinations. However, the most glaring flaw in this proposed legislation is that it makes the dangerous, unscientific assumption that the brain of a minor child is fully developed enough to make a rational decision about risk taking.

A 2017 study examining the neuroscientific mechanisms that underlie the medical decision making capacities of a minor found that, for example, significant changes take place in the brain of adolescents that are associated with processing rewards and risks, self-regulation, and the effect of peers on decision-making.

Even though risk identification is mature in late adolescence, the way people of this age will deal with risks differs from that of adults.”

An adolescent may be intellectually mature, but they may lack emotional and social maturity and,

end up in precarious and risky situations and their behavior is often not consistent with their capacities.”

These bills allow minors to make a major decision involving health risks associated with a pharmaceutical product without their parents’ knowledge or consent, despite the fact that children have long been known to make impulsive choices they often later regret in favor of small rewards and short-term gain. Adolescents, who are target by these bills, are especially vulnerable to peer pressure and product marketing campaigns and could be uniquely susceptible to authority-figure persuasion when there are offers of free gift cards, soda or ice-cream in exchange for “consent.”

Most importantly, parents know a child’s health and medical care history from birth. That first-hand knowledge about a child’s mental, emotional, psychological and physical development, allergies and reactions to foods, prescription drugs and vaccines is a critical component when parents weigh the benefits and risks of vaccination for an individual child during the vaccine decision making process. Taking the parent out of the vaccine decision making process for a child and handing it over to medical doctors and government health officials, who have no legal responsibility or accountability for what happens to the child after the vaccines have been given, is a violation of the human right of parents to exercise informed consent to medical risk taking on behalf of minor children.

A bill that legally makes minor children adults for the purpose vaccination over the objection of parents with no requirement to notify parents about vaccines the child has been given, is a prescription for state sanctioned abuse of children and their parents. How can a parent protect a child with a vaccine reaction history or effectively monitor a child for signs and symptoms of a life-threatening vaccine reaction if the parent has no idea the child has been given one or more vaccines?

Bills Contradict Supreme Court Decisions and the Maryland Appellate Court.

HB87 and SB135 go against the Nation’s long-standing principle that parents have a fundamental right to raise their children without undue adverse interference by the State as set forth in numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The Supreme Court found that, “deeply rooted in our Nation’s history and tradition, is the belief that the parental role implies a substantial measure of authority over one’s children. Indeed, “constitutional interpretation has consistently recognized that the parents’ claim to authority in their own household to direct the rearing of their children is basic in the structure of our society.”

Bills Treat Minor Children as Adults.

HB87 and SB135 grant doctors and medical workers the power to treat minor children as adults, who have been given the authority to make their own major health care decisions contrary to the long-standing legal recognition that a state has the right to restrict minors from making major decisions without parental consent because minors lack the ability and experience to make informed and mature choices. The Supreme Court stated,

“[T]he Court has held that the States validly may limit the freedom of children to choose for themselves in the making of important, affirmative choices with potentially serious consequences. These rulings have been grounded in the recognition that, during the formative years of childhood and adolescence, minors often lack the experience, perspective, and judgment to recognize and avoid choices that could be detrimental to them. Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629 (1968), illustrates well the Court’s concern over the inability of children to make mature choices, as the First Amendment rights involved are clear examples of constitutionally protected freedoms of choice.”

Maryland Court Emphasized a Parent’s Fundamental Right to Raise Their Children.

A 2004 Maryland Appellate Court emphasized parental rights in a child custody case and, concluded that a parent’s fundamental constitutional right is,

“the ultimate determinative factor; and only if the parents are unfit or extraordinary circumstances exist is the “best interest of the child” test to be considered”. Boswell, 352 Md. 204, 217-18, 721 A.2d 662, 668.

As we explained in In re Yve S., 373 Md. 551, 819 A.2d 1030 (2003): “‘The law’s concept of the family rests on a presumption that parents possess what a child lacks in maturity, experience, and capacity for judgment required for making life’s difficult decisions. More important, historically it has recognized that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interests of their children.’” Boswell, 352 Md. 204, 217-18, 721 A.2d 662, 668.

The Court conducted a thoroughly analysis of Supreme Court cases over the last decade with regard to parental rights and states,

“The United States Supreme Court has upheld the rights of parents regarding the care, custody, and management of their children in several contexts, including child rearing, education, and religion. See Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 92 S.Ct. 1526, 32 L.Ed.2d 15 (1972) (overturning a mandatory schooling law in the face of Amish claims of parental authority and religious liberty); Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 92 S.Ct. 1208, 31 L.Ed.2d 551 (1972) (discussing the right of parents to raise their children); Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166, 64 S.Ct. 438, 442, 88 L.Ed. 645, 652 (1944) (observing that ‘the custody, care, and nurture of the child reside first in the parents’); Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541, 62 S.Ct. 1110, 1113, 86 L.Ed. 1655, 1660 (1942) (stating the right to rear a child is encompassed within a parent’s ‘basic civil rights’); Pierce v. Society of Sisters of Holy Names, 268 U.S. 510, 45 S.Ct. 571, 69 L.Ed. 1070 (1925) (sustaining parents’ authority to provide religious schooling against State requirements of public school attendance); Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 4 3 S.Ct. 625, 67 L.Ed. 1042 (1923) (upholding parental authority to have children taught in languages other than English).” Boswell, 352 Md. 204, 217-18, 721 A.2d 662, 668.

HB87 and SB135 Contradict Maryland Law.

Maryland legislators have shown commitment to protecting minors from the responsibility of making complex benefit and risk decisions, which may have significant effects on their health and future by recognizing they do not necessarily have the mental capacity and maturity to make decisions that are in their best long term interest.

Under HB87 and SB135 it is likely that children could receive vaccines at school vaccine clinics without parental knowledge or consent. The NY Supreme Court has held that even when the state’s purpose of preventing the spread and transmission of a disease was “laudable”, parent’s constitutional rights were violated when a school program that did not have a parent opt-out provision was, “clearly a health service for the prevention of disease which requires parental consent.”(17) It follows that allowing minors to receive vaccines at school without parental consent, including an opt-out provision, would violate parents’ constitutional rights.

HB87 and SB135 give legally unaccountable individuals the power to persuade minor children to get vaccinated without the knowledge or consent of their parents. Doctors and medical workers should never be able to coerce impressionable minor children into giving “consent” to use of a pharmaceutical product or medical procedure that could cause injury or death without parental knowledge and consent. Should an adverse vaccine reaction occur, parents alone would be left to physically, emotionally and financially take care of a disabled or chronically ill child.

Bills Contradict the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act.

When the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 was passed, Congress never contemplated a minor child making the decision to get a vaccine. The Act clearly states that before the administration of certain vaccines, a health care provider shall give a copy of the CDC’s vaccine information materials to either the, “the parent or legal representative of any child to whom the provider intends to administer such vaccine, or to any adult to whom the provider intends to administer such vaccine.” There is no provision in the law that allows a health care provider to give a minor child the Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) materials for the purpose of consenting, without the parent’s knowledge or consent, to the administration of vaccines.

Vaccines are pharmaceutical products that carry a risk of injury or death and the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, acknowledged in 2012 that there is individual susceptibility to reacting to and being harmed by vaccines and that doctors cannot reliably predict who will be harmed by vaccination:

“Both epidemiologic and mechanistic research suggest that most individuals who experience an adverse reaction to vaccines have a preexisting susceptibility. These predispositions can exist for a number of reasons— genetic variants (in human or microbiome DNA), environmental exposures, behaviors, intervening illness, or developmental stage, to name just a few— all of which can interact… Some of these adverse reactions are specific to the particular vaccine, while others may not be. Some of these predispositions may be detectable prior to the administration of vaccine; others, at least with current technology and practice, are not.”

The 1986 Act created a federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) for children injured by CDC-recommended vaccines, and the VICP has awarded more than $4.2 billion to vaccine victims since 1988, although two out of three vaccine injured plaintiffs are turned away without financial support. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 gave partial liability protection to manufacturers of CDC-recommended childhood vaccines. An amendment to the Act in 1987 gave liability protection to doctors and other medical workers administering vaccines and, in 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court Decision Russell Bruesewitz et al v. Wyeth et al effectively eliminated all civil liability for vaccine injuries and deaths from vaccine manufacturers, even when a vaccine company could have made a vaccine less likely to cause injury or death.

Bills Create Barriers For Vaccine Injured Minors to File for and Receive Compensation for Vaccine Injuries.

By consenting to receiving a federally recommended vaccine, a minor child is agreeing to give up legal rights to file an injury claim in a federal or state civil court of law, even if the child suffers brain injury or another permanent health problem from the vaccine. A minor child cannot fully understand the terms of the Vaccine injury Act including the 3 year statute of limitations on filing a vaccine injury claim with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The Act’s vaccine injury table lists certain injuries that may only be eligible to receive compensation if they occur within 30 days of vaccination. Minors would be solely responsible for getting confirmation and documentation that they have an injury on this chart within 30 days of vaccination and many minors cannot drive themselves to the doctor or hospital.

Under these bills, minors would not even have to tell their parents that they received a vaccination. Therefore, their parents may not know why a child is injured or sick preventing the minor child from receiving timely and proper medical care. It is also much less likely vaccine reactions will be recognized and documented by a child and filed with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Maryland does not allow minors to represent themselves in court, but under HB87 and SB135 minors would be held singularly responsible for filing a claim with Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

Maryland Already has High Vaccination Rates in Schools.

Maryland ranks #11 among all states in high immunization coverage rates for children, and #18 in adolescent immunizations. There is no evidence-based justification for the state of Maryland to suspend parental rights and administer vaccines to minors without parental consent.

According to the Governor’s Office for Children website,

“Maryland continues to exhibit strong immunization rates amongst enrolled kindergarteners. To comply with the Code of Maryland Regulations, schools report the number of fully-vaccinated students enrolled in kindergarten. From 2003 to 2014, greater than 99% of kindergarten students have met the school immunization requirements. More than 99% of the kindergarteners surveyed had immunization records, and the rates of DTaP, Polio, MMR, and Hepatitis B vaccinations were more than 99%. Some counties reported close to 100% vaccination rates.”

In the 2018/2019 school year, 97.4% of kindergartners had more than 1 dose of MMR, and 97.7% of had all 5 doses of the DTaP.

CONCLUSION:

It is clear that the intent of HB87 and SB135 is to give power to doctors, medical workers and state health officials to persuade as many minor children, ages 16 and up, as possible to consent to receiving all federally recommended vaccines, regardless of whether doing so is in an individual child’s best interest or the child’s parent or legal guardian has given informed consent to vaccination.

There is no public health emergency justifying the state overriding a parent’s legal and human right to make an informed benefit and risk decision about vaccination on behalf of their minor children. HB87 and SB135 are blatant attempts by legislators to strip parents of their legal right to make informed decisions about vaccination for their minor children and hand that legal right to doctors and medical workers, who have no liability or accountability for what happens to the child after vaccination. These bills are a violation of parents’ constitutional right to raise their children without undue interference from the state. VOTE NO on HB87 and SB135.

LEGISLATIVE CONTACT LISTS

Health & Government Operations Committee – ask them to OPPOSE HB 87

Shane E. Pendergrass, Chair , (410) 841-3139, (301) 858-3139, shane.pendergrass@house.state.md.us

Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk, Vice-Chair, (410) 841-3502, (301) 858-3502, joseline.pena.melnyk@house.state.md.us

Heather Bagnall, (410) 841-3406, (301) 858-3406, heather.bagnall@house.state.md.us

Erek L. Barron, (410) 841-3692, (301) 858-3692, erek.barron@house.state.md.us

Harry (H. B.) Bhandari, (410) 841-3526, (301) 858-3526, harry.bhandari@house.state.md.us

Alfred C. Carr, Jr., (410) 841-3638, (301) 858-3638, alfred.carr@house.state.md.us

Nick Charles, (410) 841-3707, (301) 858-3707, nick.charles@house.state.md.us

Brian A. Chisholm, (410) 841-3206, (301) 858-3206, brian.chisholm@house.state.md.us

Bonnie L. Cullison, (410) 841-3883, (301) 858-3883, bonnie.cullison@house.state.md.us

Terri L. Hill, (410) 841-3378, (301) 858-3378, terri.hill@house.state.md.us

Steven C. Johnson, (410) 841-3280, (301) 858-3280, steve.johnson@house.state..md.us

Ariana B. Kelly, (410) 841-3642, (301) 858-3642, ariana.kelly@house.state.md.us

Kenneth P. Kerr, (410) 841-3240, (301) 858-3240, ken.kerr@house.state.md.us

Nicholaus R. Kipke, (410) 841-3421, (301) 858-3421, nicholaus.kipke@house.state.md.us

Susan W. Krebs, (410) 841-3200, (301) 858-3200, susan.krebs@house.state.md.us

Robbyn T. Lewis, (410) 841-3772, (301) 858-3772, robbyn.lewis@house.state.md.us

Matt Morgan, (410) 841-3170, (301) 858-3170, matthew.morgan@house.state.md.us

Teresa E. Reilly, (410) 841-3278, (301) 858-3278, teresa.reilly@house.state..md.us

Samuel I. Rosenberg, (410) 841-3297, (301) 858-3297, samuel.rosenberg@house..state.md.us

Sid A. Saab, (410) 841-3551, (301) 858-3551, sid.saab@house.state.md.us

Sheree L. Sample-Hughes, (410) 841-3427, (301) 858-3427, sheree.sample.hughes@house.state.md.us

Kathy Szeliga, (410) 841-3698, (301) 858-3698, kathy.szeliga@house.state..md.us

Karen Lewis Young, (410) 841-3436, (301) 858-3436, karen.young@house.state.md.us

To email ALL committee delegates, copy and paste in your “TO” field of your email program: shane.pendergrass@house.state.md.us, joseline.pena.melnyk@house.state.md.us, heather.bagnall@house.state.md.us, erek.barron@house.state.md.us, harry.bhandari@house.state.md.us, alfred.carr@house.state.md.us, nick.charles@house.state.md.us, brian.chisholm@house.state.md.us, bonnie.cullison@house.state.md.us, terri.hill@house.state.md.us, steve.johnson@house.state..md.us, ariana.kelly@house.state.md.us, ken.kerr@house.state.md.us, nicholaus.kipke@house.state.md.us, susan.krebs@house.state.md.us, robbyn.lewis@house.state.md.us, matthew.morgan@house.state.md.us, teresa.reilly@house.state.md.us, samuel.rosenberg@house..state.md.us, sid.saab@house.state.md.us, sheree.sample.hughes@house.state.md.us, kathy.szeliga@house.state.md.us, karen.young@house.state.md.us

Senate Finance Committee – ask them to OPPOSE SB135

Delores G. Kelley Chair, (410) 841-3606, (301) 858-3606, delores.kelley@senate.state.md.us

Brian J. Feldman, Vice-Chair, (SB135 sponsor) , (410) 841-3169, (301) 858-3169, brian.feldman@senate.state.md.us

Malcolm L. Augustine, (410) 841-3745, (301) 858-3745, malcolm.augustine@senate.state.md.us

Pamela G. Beidle, (410) 841-3593, (301) 858-3593, pamela.beidle@senate.state.md.us

Joanne C. Benson, (410) 841-3148, (301) 858-3148, joanne.benson@senate.state.md.us

Antonio L. Hayes, (410) 841-3656, (301) 858-3656, antonio.hayes@senate.state.md.us

Stephen S. Hershey, Jr., (410) 841-3639, (301) 858-3639, steve.hershey@senate.state.md.us

J.. B. Jennings, (410) 841-3706, (301) 858-3706, jb.jennings@senate.state.md.us

Katherine A. Klausmeier, (410) 841-3620, (301) 858-3620, katherine.klausmeier@senate.state.md.us

Benjamin F. Kramer, (410) 841-3151, (301) 858-3151, ben.kramer@senate.state.md.us

Edward R. Reilly, (410) 841-3568, (301) 858-3568, edward.reilly@senate.state.md.us

To email ALL committee senators, copy and paste in your “TO” field of your email program: delores.kelley@senate.state.md.us, brian.feldman@senate.state.md.us, malcolm.augustine@senate.state.md.us, pamela.beidle@senate.state.md.us, joanne.benson@senate.state.md.us, antonio.hayes@senate.state.md.us, steve.hershey@senate.state.md.us, jb.jennings@senate.state.md.us, katherine.klausmeier@senate.state.md.us, ben.kramer@senate.state.md.us, edward.reilly@senate.state.md.us

Sincerely,

NVIC Advocacy Team
National Vaccine Information Center
http://NVIC.org and http://NVICAdvocacy.org
https://nvicadvocacy.org/members/Members/ContactUs.aspx

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