On Wednesday, hundreds of Massachusetts residents defended their religious liberty and parental rights during a hearing for several vaccine bills before the MA Joint Committee on Public Health. Together, HB604, SB1391, and HB2151/SB1458 would remove religious exemptions for K-12th grade students and allow children to get vaccines without their parent’s knowledge or consent. Large numbers of citizens on both sides of the aisle offered compelling testimony on how the proposed bills would negatively impact their children. The opposition to these bills was overwhelming!
Here is a recap of what these bills would do:
HB604 would delete religious exemptions for K-12th grade students from the current vaccine law. This would eliminate religious exemptions in both private and public schools, altering a MA vaccine statute that has been in place for decades.
SB1391 is identical to HB60, and it would also eliminate the religious exemption.
HB2151/SB1458 would keep the exemption but require all requests to go through the Department of Public Health (DPH). The DPH could prohibit schools from accepting exemption requests whenever a “public health emergency” is declared. It would also allow private programs to not accept religious exemptions at all. Additionally, these companion bills would allow minors to consent to vaccination without any age requirement and without parental knowledge or consent.
Read MFI’s legislative brief for more information.
Parents should not have to choose between honoring their sincerely held religious beliefs and access to in-school education for their children. This message was spoken loud and clear at the hearing on Wednesday. MFI as well as other state organizations, rallied hundreds of concerned citizens to express opposition to these over-reaching bills. Two MFI staff members, Michael King and Sam Whiting, testified as well. Listen to Sam’s powerful testimony in the video below.
And also read Sam’s thoughtful legal analysis of these dangerous bills submitted to the Committee here.
Although these bills have generated overwhelming public opposition, the fight to defeat them is not over. Contact your legislators today and ask them to vote no on these coercive and discriminatory bills. Visit our Take Action center to send an email to your elected officials or for a phone script to call them. MFI will continue to track these bills and keep you informed of updates.
MFI is committed to defending against attacks on religious liberty and parental rights in MA. Please support our crucial work with a donation today!