Vaccines in Colorado: Informed choice or forced mandate?

By Deborah Stilt — Under the guise of boosting school immunization rates, Colorado recently passed the Colorado Healthy Communities Act (SB20-163), which redefines vaccine exemptions and imposes new requirements on parents who choose not to vaccinate. As other states move in this direction, and as a COVID-19 vaccine nears, we must ask: How far can government mandate compliance without violating parents’ Constitutional rights? And what lies in store if citizens neglect to stand up for their rights?

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Most parents choose to vaccinate their children – and will do so without government mandates. The small minority who choose not to vaccinate do so for a variety of reasons. Some have deeply held religious beliefs that prohibit vaccination. Some are wary of toxic ingredients such as mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde. Still others object to the unethical use of aborted fetal cells in vaccine production. Some fear the coming COVID vaccine, rushed and poorly tested. And many are rightly concerned about the possibility of allergic reactions and life-threatening side effects, as it is well-known that vaccines harbor grave dangers for certain children. However, very few health conditions qualify for a medical exemption under government guidelines.

The known dangers

A recent study from Ontario, Canada, established that vaccination actually led to an emergency room visit for 1 in 168 children following their 12-month vaccination appointment and for 1 in 730 children following their 18-month vaccination appointment. Commenting on the study, Harvard immunologist, Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych, said:

“When the risk of an adverse event requiring an ER visit after well-baby vaccinations is demonstrably so high, vaccination must remain a choice for parents, who may understandably be unwilling to assume this immediate risk in order to protect their children from diseases that are generally considered mild or that their children may never be exposed to.”

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out an estimated $4.15 billion to families of children injured by vaccines since the program’s inception in the 1980s, including 520 children who died. Often, one cannot tell prior to vaccination whether a child is at risk.

And while it can certainly be argued that the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks—where there is risk, there must also be choice.

Informed consent and vaccination

People must be able to consent or refuse a medical treatment or procedure, including vaccination. But instead of discussing any potential harm from vaccines, doctors often only tell parents the benefits. Their fears are downplayed or even ridiculed. Little or no information is offered regarding the contents of the vaccine or whether it might be contraindicated for a particular child. Informed consent requires that an individual be given sufficient facts to make a sound decision. It is the freedom to exercise choice – without coercion.

Does government have the right to demand that mothers and fathers violate their conscience and risk their children’s lives or face punishment for refusing? Absolutely not.

Rosalinda Lozano, President of Personhood Colorado issued the following statement at the passage of the new law.

 “The choice to vaccinate or not is a very personal, medical decision that should be left in the hands of parents, not bureaucrats. Vaccines come with known risks and are frequently produced through unethical means. The Colorado Healthy Communities Act erodes parents’ freedom to determine for themselves what is best for their children, and opens the door to even tighter restrictions in the future. God created the family to safeguard children and make fundamental decisions regarding their care and upbringing. As such, Personhood Colorado is committed to standing up for parents’ authority to make medical decisions for their children that align with their religious and moral beliefs, without force or coercion to do otherwise.”

The issue at stake here is not whether children ought to be vaccinated. It is whether parents ought to be compelled to do so.

Consequences of the Colorado Healthy Communities Act

The Healthy Communities Act will go into effect in the fall of 2021. Currently, Colorado parents can obtain a vaccine exemption for personal or religious beliefs simply by submitting a signed statement to their child’s school. The new law will continue to allow for exemptions, but will make them much more difficult to obtain – subjecting parents to unreasonable violations of their right to make appropriate medical decisions for their children without government interference.

In order to obtain a vaccine exemption, the new law will require parents to either submit a certificate of medical exemption signed and filed by their child’s doctor or a certificate of non-medical exemption signed by both the parent and the doctor or other qualified medical personnel. Alternatively, parents may submit a certificate of completion of a state approved online education module for each child for whom they are requesting exemption, every year. The bill also requires all exemptions to be filed in a state-wide database, enabling the state to track individuals who delay or decline vaccination. Children whose parents fail to comply will be denied enrollment in public schools.

Theresa Wrangham, the executive director for the National Vaccine Information Center, feels the measure is an effort to coerce people into vaccinating their children. She explains:

“You’re assuming that this group of people who have come to a different decision are ignorant. They require education, and you’re going to make them give up their federal privacy rights in order to get their personal and religious beliefs approved so that their children can attend school. That is wrong to so many of us.”

The Colorado Healthy Communities Act removes power from citizens and places it in the hands of unelected administrative officials from the Colorado Department of Public Health (CDPHE) and the state Board of Health. It requires the CDPHE to create standardized forms for exemptions, which may include compelled speech, acknowledging that failure to vaccinate may endanger a child’s health, even when vaccinations are a danger to the child’s health.

Moving forward, the State Board of Health will have the authority to make or change immunization requirements or practices for school entry, based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). These requirements could include additional vaccines for flu, HPV, and more, not to mention the highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccine, which researchers around the world are racing to get on the market by next year.

A red flag: Removal of religious language

Of significant concern, the Colorado Healthy Communities Act removes the exemptions for personal and religious beliefs. Instead, the law allows only “medical” and “non-medical” exemptions. While this may appear only a matter of semantics, once the words “religious exemption” are removed from the law, it becomes much easier to remove all “non-medical exemptions” in future laws without having to overtly address the loss of First Amendment rights. Our freedom of religion is protected in our Constitution. There is, however, no protection for a “non-medical exemption.” One might easily assert that this could never happen, but in California, Maine, Mississippi, New York, and West Virginia, it already has.

Following in California’s footsteps

In California, prior to 2012, only a written note from a parent was required for a religious or personal belief exemption from vaccinations. In 2012, assembly bill 2109 was passed, which required parents to seek a health provider’s signature to receive a “non-medical” exemption. At that time, Californians were assured they had no need to worry and that their rights would remain intact. But just 4 years later, in 2016, California removed all non-medical exemptions.

In January 2020, a new law, SB276, went into effect. Now, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has the authority to review all exemptions at schools with an immunization rate of less than 95 percent or when a doctor writes more than five medical exemptions in a year. The state public health officer and authorized staff may revoke exemptions that do not align with CDC or ACIP guidelines. If an exemption is revoked, parents may appeal to an “expert review panel” one time only. If the appeal is denied there is no further recourse, putting medically vulnerable children at even greater risk.

Should the decision to vaccinate be left in the hands of bureaucrats and the medical establishment? Should parents who fail to comply be “re-educated;” their personal information tracked in a database? Their children denied education? Perhaps we could consider that, in the great majority of cases, parents have their children’s best interest at heart and can be trusted with this decision – whether it’s the one recommended by “experts” or not.

The time to act is now: What you can do

While proponents of SB-163 insist the new law is benign—in reality—it puts Coloradans on the precipice of a very slippery slope. Unless the people of Colorado act now, it is likely the state will continue down the path laid out by California and other states. Citizens will see even more egregious violations of their liberty in the coming years. Now is not the time to become complacent.

The Colorado Healthy Communities Act is set to take effect in the fall of 2021. This means there is time for the people of Colorado to stop its implementation. Colorado Health Choice Alliance is one organization working toward this end. They can be contacted at LEGAL@cohealthchoice.org. The citizens of Colorado can also contact Governor Polis to make their voice heard on this issue.

Deborah Stilt is the social media coordinator for the Personhood Alliance and has been active in pro-life media for several years. But most importantly, she’s a California mom who is fighting against the lies of the culture and for the protection of every human being without exception.

6 comments on “Vaccines in Colorado: Informed choice or forced mandate?

  1. Linda Smith says:

    I have a healthy immune system and rarely become ill. If I do get sick it is not pleasant but I recover and am healthier for it. Why I should I be forced to take a vaccine I don’t need so someone else feels better about their health?

  2. A Logical Mind says:

    Why does my unvaccinated child scare all these immunization believers who absolutely believe in the efficacy of vaccinations? They try to convince me that vaccines are 100% effective and that if you get vaccinated “there is ZERO chance you will contract the diseases they were designed to fight.” Then in the same breath they will lecture me on how I’m not contributing to “herd immunity” and endangering THEIR vaccinated children. Wait, what? You just said that the vaccine is what keeps you from getting the illness. YOU CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. Either they work, or they don’t. If you’ve been vaccinated, then you have the all- protecting, disease-fighting material in your immune system and you are safe, right? It confounds all logic to then turn around and worry about getting infected from my child. Basic logic tells us that this is a fallacy. #stopbeingsheep

  3. Karen Schelhorn says:

    All my children and grandchildren have been vaccinated. My oldest grandchild has had some problems from kindergarten on and he has never willingly eaten solid food. He graduated from high school with a regular diploma. The not eating solid food started before he got all his immunizations. My granddaughter is hyperactive but then so was her biological father. I took care of a child that was autistic but high functioning. His parents knew he was different from the time he was a tiny baby. The doctors would not say autism until he got older but the parents knew. The only study that says that said immunizations caused autism was seriously flawed. My thought is unless your child has a severe reaction after an immunization then maybe they shouldn’t have any more or wait until they get older. There are very few religions that say “no immunizations”. If the parents say that then they need proof that they follow that religion. Also, why should anyone be allowed to depend on all the others being immunized so my child doesn’t need to.

    1. Jennifer Schrank says:

      To help you understand the why of religious exemption:

      “…Cells derived from elective abortions have been used since the 1960s to manufacture vaccines, including current vaccines against rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis A, and shingles. They have also been used to make approved drugs against diseases including hemophilia, rheumatoid arthritis, and cystic fibrosis. Now, research groups around the world are working to develop more than 130 candidate vaccines against COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization; 10 had entered human trials as of 2 June….

      “…Senior Catholic leaders in the United States and Canada, along with other antiabortion groups, are raising ethical objections to promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are manufactured using cells derived from human fetuses electively aborted decades ago. They have not sought to block government funding for the vaccines, which include two candidate vaccines that the Trump administration plans to support with an investment of up to $1.7 billion, as well as a third candidate made by a Chinese company in collaboration with Canada’s National Research Council (NRC). But they are urging funders and policymakers to ensure that companies develop other vaccines that do not rely on such human fetal cell lines and, in the United States, asking the government to “incentivize” firms to only make vaccines that don’t rely on fetal cells…”

      “It is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically: no American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience,” members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and 20 other religious, medical, and political organizations that oppose abortion wrote to Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in April. “Thankfully, other [COVID-19] vaccines … utilize cell lines not connected to unethical procedures and methods.”

      https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/06/abortion-opponents-protest-covid-19-vaccines-use-fetal-cells

    2. James Joseph says:

      As a physician, I can tell you that the claim “the only study that says said immunizations caused autism was seriously flawed” is something which is repeated over and over again to make it sound like some kind of settled science, when the opinion “it was seriously flawed” is rendered by the very interests responsible for vaccination policy and in fact there are dozens of studies which have looked at this question and the concerns are very real. Thankfully, they to present emerge in a limited number of individuals, which helps to dilute the warning signs, but a very likely contributor is latent systemic magnesium deficiency, a condition not detectable by simple blood testing (hence not immediately clinically apparent) and yet increasingly common. In the absence of minimally adequate magnesium, the body will “grab” and attempt to utilize mercury in ways it might otherwise avoid. I must agree that if it were true vaccines offer meaningful protection, it should be only the un-vaccinated who suffer the consequences. Those who call upon the concept of “herd immunity” being a necessity for disease suppression in most cases have no understanding of how it actually functions.

  4. Mark says:

    Once Again, Deborah Stilt has produced an understandable, and easily read, Article about an an important and VERY TIMELY topic: Vaccinations. Well Documented.

    I’ve shared this Article on Facebook, AND by direct messaging to MANY of my Friends, and ALL the Feedback I’ve received as been VERY Positive.

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