On June 16, due to the concerns raised by hundreds of thousands of California parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens like you, the California Assembly amended SB 866 to raise the age of children who can “consent” to vaccines without parental involvement from 12 to 15.
This is a major development for three reasons. First, there is a significant difference in maturity between a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old. At the very least, this amendment takes 12-, 13-, and 14-year-olds “off the table.” Second, this is the first real sign that passage of the bill may not be guaranteed. Third, this shows that supporters of SB 866 realize after the Parental Rights Foundation’s recent win in federal court against a similar law in the District of Columbia that SB 866 is on shaky legal grounds.
Despite this amendment, one important problem remains: a 15-year-old is not an 18-year-old. A 15-year-old, while more mature than a 12-year-old, is still a child, both in the eyes of the law and in simple maturity.
And that’s why we ask that you continue to call your legislators and share your thoughts on SB 866 with them.
You can call or email your Assemblyman and share your thoughts about the amended version of SB 866 with him or her. Because this bill can come for a vote literally at any moment, there is no time to delay!
Background and Talking Points
SB 866, Vaccine Consent for Minors, as amended, allows 15-year-olds to consent to vaccinations without a parent’s input, knowledge, or support. It will open the door for peer pressure and coercion, rather than wisdom, caution, and knowledge of one’s family medical history, to drive children’s health.
Introduced in the Senate by Senators Pan and Wiener, the bill has already passed the California Senate. If it passes the Assembly, it will go to Governor Newsom’s desk.
Regardless of where one stands on vaccines, removing parents from major decisions in a child’s life is certain to have negative consequences. The Supreme Court of the United States has upheld the vital role that parents play in making these decisions which children, by virtue of simply being children, are not yet ready to make.
S.B. 866 treats children as adults. A minor child may not know his or her medical history. A minor child may consent to an immunization, and then suffer an adverse reaction, and a parent who does not know that the child was immunized may miss warning signs and be unable to get the child to the hospital in time. A parent who does not know that their child received an immunization at school may have their family pediatrician administer the same immunization, resulting in potential harm due to multiple and unnecessary doses.
Thank you for standing with us to protect children by empowering parents in California. We should be heartened by this recent amendment to SB 866 and redouble our efforts to protect children by preserving parental rights in California.