This past Thursday, a group of parents screamed and cursed at New Jersey lawmakers after pushed forward a bill to make is harder for parents to skip vaccines for their kids based on religious and ideological grounds.
In a video from the event that’s been circulating social media, dozens of people stood up and shouted, “You are going to hell!” “Shame!” and “You Democrats destroy America!” among other obscene gestures and epithets after the Assembly Health Committee approved the measure. One person who looked to be a teenager can be seen giving the middle finger to lawmakers.
Anti-vaxxers having a meltdown is a perfect illustration of how toxic misinformation can be pic.twitter.com/Rcgy7sWkqf
— jordan (@JordanUhl) April 9, 2018
As NJ.com reported, the melee came after two hours of angry and tearful testimony from parents and religious leaders.
Under the bill, families who avoid getting their children shots based on religious grounds would have to submit a notarized letter explaining how vaccinations violates their faith.
The opponents called the proposal burdensome, intrusive and discriminatory, and sharply questioned why the government had the right to judge their beliefs.
Some said they would feel compelled to home-school their children, to protect them from the potentially harmful side effects of vaccines, which many said they had seen first-hand.
According to the Department of Eduction, schools granted about 2 percent of New Jersey students religious exemptions from vaccines during the 2016-17 school year. But pubic health experts argued that the exemptions were posing an unacceptable risk to students from diseases like measles, whooping cough, mumps, and other vaccine-preventable conditions.
According to New Jersey Immunization Network director Michael Weinstein, the law would “rein-in” what he calls “an exemption of convenience, to bypass the mandate.”
The legislation (A3818) says parents who want to claim a religious exemption must submit a notarized statement to the school explaining how permitting their child to be vaccinated “would violate, contradict, or otherwise be inconsistent” with a tenet or practice.
The letter must show the parents’ request is not solely based on “political, sociological, philosophical, or moral views, or concerns related to the safety or efficacy of the vaccination.”
The parents also must include a statement that says they understand the risks and benefits of vaccines, and that the Health Commissioner may exclude their unvaccinated child from school in the event of a communicable disease threat.
Finally, a doctor or other medical professional designated by the state must verify in writing the parents have been counseled to the risks of declining vaccine for their child, according to the bill.
Writing for the blog XOJane, Elizabeth Broadbent points out that it takes “money and time to refuse vaccinations.”
“Privileged, usually white, free riders, who enjoy limited social contact, superior nutrition, and better medical care will likely have a lower incidence of complications of death from those diseases,” she continues. “The undervaccinated will be the ones to suffer: overwhelmingly black children from low-income families.”
Watch the video below, via NJ.com:
Featured image via screen grab