OPINION: Assemblyman Donnelly Urges Governor to Veto Vaccine Bill

Donnelly has sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking him to veto a bill that would require parents who do not want their children vaccinated to get signed statements before they can be exempted.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly has released a letter he sent to Governor Jerry Brown that urged a veto of AB 2109 authored by Assemblyman Richard Pan of Sacramento.

The bill requires parents who their children to receive immunizations to submit a statement signed by their health care provider that verifies they received information on the risks and benefits of vaccines.

Opponents of the bill includes actor Rob Schneider, a former Saturday Night Live cast member, who says he feels parents are being forced to get vaccinations despite what he feels are clear risks.

Assemblyman Donnelly was one of 29 "No" votes on the Assembly Floor during the vote earlier this monthhis, according to Donnelly's office. The bill was sent to Governor Jerry Brown on Sept. 6.

September 17, 2012

Dear Governor Brown,

I am writing to urge your prudent veto of AB 2109, which received bi-partisan opposition. This bill impedes parents' right to make the best medical choices for their family, costs families in the midst of an economic downturn, and violates the religious freedom of many California residents. New research is streaming in every day about the controversial effects of vaccines; it is imperative that parents are able to take charge of their children's medical decisions.

By forcing families to involve a third party in personal healthcare decisions, AB 2109 assumes that parents are unable or unwilling to make informed decisions without the oversight of the state. This sentiment is in direct contradiction with the trust our founders had in the people. No one care more for a child's health than mom and dad and there is nothing stopping them from consulting a doctor about the pros and cons of vaccinations, before opting out. That is a parent's choice though, not the Legislature's.

Besides impeding parental rights, this bill brings up two additional concerns.

First, this will make the process more complicated and costly for parents trying to make the best decisions for their children. Doctor appointments can be time-consuming and costly. This bill would add that extra burden of both time and money to families in a recession. It will also cause longer waits for patients needing medical treatment for existing ailments.

Second, this bill raises constitutionality question as many religions object to modern medicine. This would force observers to consult with a physician despite religious objection. It also could apply pressure contrary to an individual's religious or philosophical beliefs regarding which medicines are or are not appropriate for their families.

In the end, AB 2109 compromises a fundamental right of parents to direct the care and upbringing of their children and could violate an individual's right to follow religious standards. I strongly urge you to take a stand and preserve these rights with a swift veto of this bill.


Tim Donnelly

Assemblyman; 59th District

T.J. Maxx September 20, 2012 at 03:49 AM
First--the bill was approved with 19 votes NO. So, Assemblyman Donnelly wants our kids to have mumps, measles, whooping cough? The bill was authored by a pediatrician. When will Donnelly just go away??????????
Kate K. September 20, 2012 at 06:18 AM
Measles, polio, whooping couch, diptheria, chicken pox, influenza are all often FATAL diseases that ran in epidemics, killing tens of thousands of children (as well as adults) annually. UNTIL national, mandatory vaccination programs were implemented, starting with smallpox early in the 20th century, there was NO ESCAPE from these killing and maiming diseases. Americans have forgotten what vaccinations DO provide: Public health and safety, wherein very few children die of communicable diseases. This ignorance and disregard of history will bring all these diseases back, and we will live the nightmare all over again. These anti-vaccine people are foolishly leading us all into another age of disease and increased childhood mortality. Assemblyman Donnelly seems to believe that required vaccinations (which he had as a child) are stepping on people's rights. What about the rights of ALL children to LIVE ???
Holly Hale September 20, 2012 at 05:49 PM
@Kate: Thank you for your intelligent words regarding vaccines. The anti-vaccine crowd is nuts if they think not having their kids vaccinated. There are people who had chicken pox before there was a vaccine who can now get shingles. This is one point I disagree with Donnelly on but I see his point. Of course, when Obamacare is in full force there will be no choice.
Ellen Zunino September 20, 2012 at 11:15 PM
It's a bill that helps put the liability where it should be: on the parents. If an unvaccinated child gets a preventable disease or is exposed and has to take extreme measure to avoid getting sick, the parents - and their lawyer - in their quest for the deepest pockets to pick, can't argue that they didn't know the full ramifications of not vaccinating their child.
Kate K. September 22, 2012 at 06:32 AM
Okay, there's some information about vaccines that a lot of people are apparently not privy to: Vaccines ONLY keep diseases out of the general population IF, and only IF, most of the population is vaccinated. If half or more of children in a school are unvaccinated, there is a high likelihood of disease and epidemic. Please look up the measles epidemic that devastated much of Great Britain for several years, less than 10 years ago, because so many parents "opted out" of vaccines (out of fear of autism and other urban-myth hysteria) and thus made measles, a diseases which not only kills, but often cripples those who survive with deafness, retardation, heart defects, and other disabilities. There ARE excellent reasons why so many societies made vaccines mandatory in the mid-20th century. Its a shame we learn so little of our own history that in less than 50 years we believe that vaccines should be optional and government should regulate nothing. Both those situations existed, less than 100 years ago in this nation, and most Americans were not happy with the death, disease, crime and poverty that flourished in that society. Thus they made changes. Now many people want to change it back, thinking their 'freedom to choose' is worth it. Our great-grandparents certainly didn't think so.


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