Age of Autism Science Summary: Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Safety Research
Gabby Giffords and Autism

The Battle to Defend Non-Medical Vaccine Exemptions Is Worth Fighting

Your_rightsBy Barbara Loe Fisher

Non-medical exemptions to vaccination in the U.S. have been under public attack for quite some time in opinion articles published by doctors in the medical literature. Now, medical trade associations and legislative NGO's generously funded by pharmaceutical companies (such as American Academy of Pediatrics, March of Dimes,  Women in Government, American Legislative Exchange Council) are joining forces with physician government officials to lobby legislators to remove the conscientious/philosophical belief exemptions currently allowed in 18 states. If successful, this would likely be followed by an organized, well funded effort to remove the religious exemption to vaccination, which is currently allowed in 48 states.

Doctors don't like their authority questioned and Big Pharma doesn't like its profits threatened. Barb loeAs national polls and parents posting comments online at AOA, and mainstream media boards reveal, there is a great deal of frustration among pediatricians, who are unhappy with parents asking more questions about vaccination and wanting to adopt alternative vaccination schedules. Pediatricians are so angry about having to deal with educated parents defending informed consent rights and asking for an equal partnership in making vaccination decisions for children, that AAP member pediatricians are throwing families out of their practices if parents don't agree to give children every single one of the 69 doses of 16 vaccines on the schedule recommended by CDC officials.

Bioethicists and attorneys, who are associated with universities receiving large grants from pharmaceutical corporations, are now weighing in to support doctors and medical trade associations attacking independent-thinking parents, who do not comply with federal vaccine recommendations. However, only if they can enlist the heavy arm of law enforcement will they be able to actually enforce compliance.

After more than a century of mandatory vaccination laws, which began with one dose of smallpox vaccine and have included both medical and non-medical exemptions, Americans are definitely in danger of losing the conscientious/philosophical belief and religious exemptions to vaccination in the second decade of the 21st century.  With the removal of all non-medical exemptions, the medical exemption would become the only avenue for avoiding unwanted government recommended and mandated vaccinations, which could easily double by 2025.  

It is important to note that it is almost impossible to get an American doctor to write a medical exemption today because the medical conditions, which qualify for a medical contraindication have been severely narrowed by CDC and AAP so that very few medical conditions qualify as a contraindication to vaccination. Therefore, it follows that very few medical conditions officially qualify for a medical exemption to vaccination. 

As of February 2011, no pharmaceutical corporation can be held financially liable or accountable in a U.S. civil court if an American is injured or dies after being compelled to get a vaccine - even if it could be proven the company could have made a safer vaccine. Pediatricians and other vaccine providers are also protected from civil liability if someone they force to get a vaccine is hurt. Likewise, public health officials and state legislators issuing one-size-fits-all vaccine policies and mandates are not accountable or liable in a civil court when a child or adult is permanently injured or dies from vaccines they are forced to get.

Individuals most at risk for being harmed by "no exceptions" vaccine laws are those, who are already vaccine injured, and those with genetic and biological vulnerabilities (identified and not yet identified), which increase vaccine risks for them. Without a robust knowledge base regarding health outcome differences between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, it is more difficult to make a solid evidence-based (rather than an ethical or constitutionally based) argument in state legislatures about the need to preserve non-medical exemptions. On Feb. 9, 2012, I gave a referenced presentation about the importance of acknowledging biodiversity in vaccine policies and laws at an Institute of Medicine meeting, where a new IOM committee began to examine the feasibility of conducting a study to assess health outcomes of children, who are vaccinated according to the federal schedule and those, who do not adhere to that schedule.

About 18 months ago, NVIC launched a free online Advocacy Portal and is working hard to assist parents in Vermont Arizona, California, Mississippi, West Virginia and other states to defend and add conscientious/philosophical belief and religious exemptions to vaccination.  Even though we may be fighting a losing battle, I think it is one worth fighting.

Sometimes, people only truly understand what freedom means when they lose it. If the non-medical exemptions to vaccination are removed in U.S. public health laws, I believe it will be temporary as long as freedom of speech and press, a legitimate democratic process and citizens' voting powers are preserved in America.

Barbara Loe Fisher is founder of



pass the popcorn

CT Teacher - well said!

John Gilmore and Barbara Loe Fisher - you're heroes.

Robin Rowlands

Does not the US constitution . . .

Guarantee the American people, the right - " to bear arms or not " - as they feel - " their freedom and duty to defend such " - obliges them . . .

Robin Rowlands
Guildford UK


Here are two quotes to guide us from a couple of notable Americans:

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel.” Patrick Henry

"Giving power and money to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." P.J. O'Rourke

The time to fight is not after your rights have been removed – with some silly idea that you can simply reassert them. That’s like watching your child drown while thinking you can always perform CPR later, when it’s convenient. NO!

The time to fight is when you see your child’s human rights being trampled and decide they are more important than your comfort!

Get up and get involved!


And they will vaccinate a child that had kawasakis disease- without a second of hestitation!

Only recently they won't because the IVIGs won't allow the immune system to build immunity - because IVIG is busy keeping the immune system calmed down.

THey will still say that they are vaccinating a child that had Kawasakis because it is the duty of that family - that child to protect those that have immune dysfunctions, immune problems and can't??????

It is indeed a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad ---- World!

Jeannette Bishop

With the move to protect medical "privacy," do schools violate the law in asking for vaccine records?

Though, I would have thought by now, school teachers and administrators would have joined the push for vaccine safety research and general sanity in their use, instead of blindly acting as the vaccine uptake police. They are on the front lines more than anyone except parents dealing with the fallout from the vaccine epidemic.

If school stopped policing, I wonder if they would see a mysterious increase in general student health and IQ?

CT teacher

We are witnessing the results of a medical system that is out of control, aided and abetted by government institutions (schools included) that perpetuate the problem. The outrageous vaccine schedule is the likely cause of so many neurological and behavioral problems in kids, particularly boys. The schools, where the curriculum is no longer developmentally appropriate ,due to the over-emphasis on standardized testing as opposed to creative teaching that takes individual differences into account,are unable to help the damaged kids, so parents are encouraged to seek medical intervention. Medical doctors and psychiatrists routinely prescribe psychiatric drugs for the children who act out, thus perpetuating the problem. These drugs were not created for, nor tested on young kids and many times the behaviors worsen. I still work part time in the schools and I am frightened by what I see going on. The end result of so many drugged kids is just what we saw in Ohio last week...another school shooting. Look it up, folks....almost all of the perpetrators of school violence have been on psychiatric drugs. The media doesn't tell people that , though. They drone on and on about bullying, loneliness, broken families, blah, blah, blah. Nary a mention of the drugs the kid was on.
I have been involved in public education since the 1960's and while I don't mean to condone bullying, it has always been around. It was never fair nor acceptable, but the bullied kids did not bring guns to school and start shooting their classmates. No, something goes wrong in the minds of these drugged kids and they become violent. It is the drugs that are doing it, beginning with the vaccine program that may have caused cumulative damage over several generations. The hormonal changes that occur in adolescence are short circuited by the anti antidepressant and anti anxiety drugs. Who ever heard of very young children being prescribed anti depressants before now? This is crazy. The medical profession has a lot to answer for, in my opinion. They are destroying the very fabric of our society, and the schools are the places where the destruction is most evident.
So, yes, we need to fight for the medical freedom of our children. How dare the pediatricians force their voodoo medicine on our children? I am sick to death of the whole sorry mess!


This week I wrote a letter which was posted on the Bill Moyer's show PBS website. He had a segment where he breezily in one or two sentences said that the link between vaccines and autism had been largely debunked by scientists. Then he went on to talk about herd immunity and how bad it was that people were opting out--"some people just don't like to be told what to do". I felt this was really a disgracefully one sided presentation on a well respected show. I do agree with the commenter who says we have to respond and fight back. Even respected journalists are absurdly complacent and partisan.

Katie Wright

Exactly Barbara!

Anne McElroy Dachel

The threat Barbara is talking about is very real. Here are four recent stories:





Anne Dachel, Media

Not an MD

@ Shell Tzorfas- The name of the decision is Bruesewitz, et al vs. Wyeth, and the decision is dated 2/22/11 by the Supreme Court of the United States of America:


"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."


The present vaccine mandates demanded by school systems who have no "medical knowledge or training" is a bit absurd. They have "no clue why" they have 2 out of 100 boys with Autism, and about one in six with a learning disability, something that certainly was not the case 20 years ago.

A very good Dateline show on the drug industry March 4th.

Dateline / India / drug testing to bring back Vioxx

Seems like some new cancer drugs are tested in India on those who do not have cancer, any impoverished warm body will do...

Shell Tzorfas

Is there a name for the ruling or law that states, "As of Feb. 2011 no pharmaceutical corporation can be held financially liable or accountable in a U.S. civil court if an American is injured or dies- after being compelled to get a vaccine- even if it could be proven the company could have made a safer vaccine."

This information needs a name so it can be seen by many citizens.

Deborah Kahn

You really need to understand the strategy currently being pursued. Basically, the proponents of removing exemption are inflating the numbers using the philosophical exemption and misusing the actual numbers in a variety of ways.

Here is a piece put together for Vermont that shows how the story is being purposefully bent.

I'm absolutely certain that the same tactics are being used in other states where there have been moves to alter or destroy the philosophical exemption. Dig into the numbers and let legislators know they are being sold lies.

John Gilmore

Please get active folks. These threats are serious. Find out who your State and federal representatives are. Put their numbers on speed dial. USe the NVIC advocacy portal, respond to the Autism Action Network action alerts. There are enough of us to have a real impact IF we get active. Do nothing and bad things will happen. You will lose your exemption rights, your school funding will be cut, physicians who dare to try to help our kids will be hounded out of their professions, autism will be defined out out of existence by the psychiatrists. We have extremely well funded opponents, but we can win when we fight back.

Americans are taught to be passive consumers and to participate in politics by voting every couple of years. That's how powerful institutions keep control, by training you to do nothing. Politics isn't a spectator sport, you have to be involved, if you aren't don't be surprised when bad things happen to you and your kids.

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