On Wednesday, February 22 at 10am on the steps of the West Virginia State Capitol, families, military members, health care professionals, and legal experts will gather to affirm that vaccination choice is a fundamental human and civil right. They will demand that Senate Bill 50 (introduced by Senators Boley and Nohe) be passed swiftly, providing families with the same type of non-medical immunization exemption 48 other states enjoy and realigning West Virginia with the rest of the country regarding compulsory immunization for school entrance.
West Virginians please click HERE to send an email to your State Senator asking for their support of SB 50.
The “Rally for Parental Rights” is a free, public rally coordinated by a grassroots effort called We the Parents that will raise awareness of the legal, medical, and ethical implications of compulsory medical interventions. Parents will share their stories of tragedy, harassment, and discuss how current law impacts and decreases their family’s quality of life. Keynote speakers include representatives from VaxTruth.org, Anerican Civil Liberties Union-WV, and Center for Personal Rights, as well as Patricia Finn, Attorney, parents, families, and military members.
“This is an opportunity for parents to have a voice,“ says Lori Lee, an organizer and parent of two healthy, non-vaccinated children in Jackson County. “Our state government, our legislature is not listening. Concerned parents have been ignored by their own Senators. Senate Bill 50 is stalled in the Senate Education Committee, while many Senators ignore phone calls, faxes, letters, and pleas from their constituents. This is our chance to be heard.”
Each day, the Lees drive their children across the border where they are schooled in Ohio. Ohio, is one of the 48 states in the US which provides non- medical exemptions for parents regarding immunizations for school entrance. Ohio offers medical, religious and philosophical exemptions and maintains a higher percentage of children immunized than West Virginia. In fact, based on 2010 data from the Center for Disease Control, states which provide simple non-medical exemptions remain at or above West Virginia’s immunization rate for diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus.
“Current code substantially burdens the free exercise of religion as is protected by the 1st Amendment and is in opposition of the 9th Amendment which guarantees fundamental rights,” says Patricia Finn, Attorney, whose law office focuses on clients’ First Amendment Rights. A group of parents in West Virginia is working to ensure these rights are given back. Ms. Finn is one of the keynote speakers at the rally.
West Virginia Code (§16-3-4) mandates compulsory immunization, prohibiting parents who object to some or all vaccines from sending their children to public or private schools in the state. It is important to note that this code was introduced in 1931, when only three vaccines were in use (diphtheria, pertussis, and tuberculosis) as opposed to the 14 vaccinations now required for school entry (Four doses of DTaP, 3 doses of Polio, 2 doses MMR, 2 doses chicken pox, 3 doses hepatitis B), .
Senate Bill 50 enjoys the support of the community, much of the West Virginia Legislature, and many large groups such as the ACLU-WV, Canary Party, Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), VaxTruth, Center for Personal Rights, and National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). However, if Senator Plymale refuses to put the bill on the committee’s agenda in the coming week, it will die in committee. To date, he is unresponsive.
In a letter to the West Virginia Senate Education Committee, where the bill is currently awaiting placement on the committee agenda, Jane M. Orient, MD of the AAPS wrote, “We believe that patients, or in the case of children, their parents or guardians, have the right to make their own medical decisions. According to the Nuremberg Code, patients may not be forced to participate in experiments without their fully informed consent.” She further states, “We note that many other states permit non-medical exemptions like that in Senate Bill 50, and no serious public health consequences have been demonstrated. Adverse reactions to vaccines may be serious, permanently disabling, or even fatal in some individuals.”
USA Today, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, Herald-Dispatch, Intelligencer: Wheeling News Register, and WTRF have all reported on the debate whirling around flawed public policy and parental rights. We the Parents are fighting for their rights and for their children, and that passion is not easily quelled. They are demanding that the State of West Virginia bring its code in line with the rest of the United States and restore their Constitutional freedoms.
And West Viriginians please sign We the People’s petition at: