Your action is needed now to stop the state of Connecticut from restricting the religious exemption to state mandated vaccination. We apologize for the late notice. We just caught this today.
HB 6949, requires parents who object to mandated vaccines on religious grounds to submit a notarized statement claiming that vaccination would be contrary to the religious beliefs of the child, and that they “have reviewed and understand evidence-based instructional material provided by the Department of Public Health regarding the risks to such child and to others of such child failing to receive adequate immunization.”
HB 6949 is scheduled for a public hearing this Wednesday, March 18th at 10:30 am in Room 1D of the Legislative Office Building.
Connecticut families who care about drawing the line in the sand to protect the religious exemption to vaccination should:
1) plan on attending the hearing and registering opposition to the bill or providing meaningful testimony to the committee;
2) immediately contact committee members before the hearing asking them to oppose the bill; and
3) contact their own representative and senator and ask them to oppose the bill.
HB 6949 makes the assumption that the state, not the parent, has legal responsibility for making medical risk decisions for minor children and exercising informed consent on their behalf when minor children do not yet have the cognitive maturity to understand the concept of risk and cannot yet articulate religious beliefs. The bill language requires parents to engage in compelled speech in order to receive a religious vaccine exemption for their children.
HB 6949 is unconstitutional. Requiring a state mandated vaccine “education” in order for a religious exemption to be granted violates the First Amendment “free exercise” of religion. The state may not add substantive requirements for a parent to exercise a religious exemption to vaccination.
Parents are legally responsible for the education and health of their children if they are harmed for any reason. The State cannot and should not compel parents to violate their religious or spiritual beliefs or engage in compelled speech in order to exercise informed consent to medical risk taking on behalf of their minor children.
Please help oppose HB 6949.
LEGISLATIVE EDUCATION ACTION NEEDED NOW
1) Choose how you would like to deliver your message to your Representative and Senator. The suggested modes of communication below are listed in the order of being more likely to be more impactful on educating your legislator. Appointments can be made at the capitol or in district offices.
a) Make an appointment for a direct personal visit;
b) Make an appointment to talk directly in a personal phone call;
c) Make an appointment to talk in person to a legislative aide;
d) Call and talk to a legislative aide to relay a message;
e) Stop by your legislator’s office and talk to the aid responsible for vaccine bills,
f) Send a letter, a fax, or an email through web contact forms or legislative email address.
2) Lookup your State Representative and Senator and their contact information.
Link to http://www.cga.ct.gov/ and scroll down to the section entitled “Find Your Legislators” and enter you town and street address. Or if you are registered with the NVIC Advocacy Portal, register/login at http://NVICAdvocacy.org. Your personal state legislators are listed on the right side of the page. Click on them one at a time to display their contact information.
3) Contact your own State Representative and Senator and Ask them to VOTE NO on HB 6949.Explain to them that you are already educated about vaccines and that requiring you to review educational materials or agree to affirmations about risks of not vaccinating in order for one to exercise their religious exemption to vaccination is not only wrong, but unconstitutional. Take the time to share your personal story if you have had any vaccine reactions in your family. It is these heart to heart conversations that change minds of legislators.
4) Contact the legislators on the Joint Committee on Public Health before Wednesday 3/18 at 10:30 and tell them to VOTE NO on HB 1649. Personalize a statement to them why they should vote against the bill. You can refer to some of the talking points in the bill description in the top of this alert. Please write this in your own words so that the emails they receive are all unique.
http://www.cga.ct.gov/ph/2015-2017%20PHC%20Membership.pdf – Committee Information
5) Plan on attending the hearing and registering your opposition on HB 1649.
What: Public Health Committee Hearing
When: Wednesday, March 18th at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Room 1D of the Legislative Office Building
Hearing notice posted:
Tips for testifying in Connecticut:
Driving Directions to the State Capitol:
If you attend the hearing, please drop us a line afterwards and let us know your impressions.
6) Login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal often to check for updates. http://NVICAdvocacy.org. Bills can change many times over the legislative process and be brought up for votes at different stages of the process.
7) Please forward this email to family and friends and ask them to share their concerns with their legislators as well.
Register for email updates:
NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org.
Refer to NVIC’s “Reforming Vaccine Policy and Law” guide for answers to questions your legislators may have. The fully referenced version can be found on our site posted at:http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements/Reforming-Vaccine-Policy—Law-Guide.aspx. You can include this link in your letters as well.
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