Dear Champion of Parental Rights in Oklahoma:
I want to alert you to a profound and dangerous threat to your right to protect the health of your children, a threat we need to deal with immediately. Senate Bill 83 authored by Senator Yen seeks to modify the traditional right of parents to make their own informed medical decision for their children regarding vaccination. As we who have followed this situation know, Senator Yen wants to see Oklahoma remove all vaccination choice from parents.
Originally, SB 83 sought to eliminate personal and religious exemptions to vaccinations. However, thanks to the excellent work of grass roots activists, we were able to educate enough legislators to the problems with mandatory vaccinations and Senator Yen was not able to get the bill out of committee.
In a last minute move, he changed the language of SB 83 to say that if a parent wants to exercise the personal or religious exemption for their child, they must watch a video to be produced by the Health Dept. On the surface, this compromise looks reasonable because it leaves the personal exemption intact. However, when looked at in detail, SB 83 remains dangerous and should be opposed at all costs!
We need your help to make sure SB 83 dies on the Senate floor. Here are the talking points you can use when you contact your Senators (and Reps as well, since we should be laying the ground work now):
1. Several years ago, Oklahoma passed HB1384 which was a Parent’s Bill of Rights. That law says that Oklahoma recognizes a parent’s fundamental right to direct the upbringing, healthcare, and education of their child. If, as a principle, the Oklahoma legislature recognizes these fundamental rights of parents, then it cannot in good conscience pass any law that would so severely restrict those rights, especially on the false premise of a “public health crisis”.
2. SB 83 assumes that individuals who follow a personalized vaccine schedule for their children are uneducated. It assumes such parents are incapable of making the best decision for their child.
3. SB 83 introduces a slippery slope. If it passes, parents will be required to watch a video before they can exercise their rights. That is one step closer to removing the personal exemption altogether. Senator Yen has stated his intention to remove all religious and personal exemptions for all children in public or private schools and day cares. (And if they fall, how long will it be before the mandate reaches homeschoolers also?)
4. The tax payers are going to be required to pay for both the creation of this video and the technology required to monitor who has watched it. A similar video in Oregon cost $75,000 to make. SB83 would require that parents can watch the video on a website, but that the website cannot collect any personal information. That is technologically very difficult and could prove very expensive. This bill is poorly thought out; the consequences and cost of execution cannot be determined.
5. The video will be produced by the health department, which has a conflict of interest. Given the health department’s stated goal of increasing vaccination rates, it is clear the video will not best serve children, or parents seeking to make the best possible medical decision for them.
We cannot afford to give any ground that will lead us closer to mandatory vaccination for all (and the removal of a parent’s right to decide). So we are reaching out to all of our friends in Oklahoma; we need your help!
Please, call or visit your Senator at the Capitol this week and tell them to vote no on SB83. To find your state senator go to http://www.oklegislature.gov/FindMyLegislature.aspx
Oklahoma State Coordinator