Lawyers Opposed to California SB 277

lawyers oppose sb277 post

California SB 277 was signed into law on June 30, 2015. Legal action must follow. We are continuing to add names to this letter. If you are opposed to SB 277, send your full name, SBN, and the state(s) in which you are admitted or plan to sit for the bar to info@healthfreedomaction.org.

Download PDF version delivered to all California State Senators and Assembly Members on 6/17/15
Download PDF version hand-delivered to Assembly Health Committee Chairman Rob Bonta on 6/8/15

180 lawyers in 36 states plus the District of Columbia

LAWYERS OPPOSED TO CALIFORNIA SB 277
1808 Sixth Street, Suite 7
Berkeley, California 94710

June 17, 2015

Senators, California State Senate
Assembly Members, California State Assembly

State Capitol
Sacramento, California 95814

Re: Statement of Lawyers Opposed to California SB 277

Dear California State Legislators:

We, the undersigned attorneys, strongly oppose SB 277, the proposed California legislation that unnecessarily removes all philosophical and religious exemptions from school vaccination requirements. We join thousands of Americans who conscientiously intend to protect their right to informed consent for medical procedures and to retain their Constitutional right to make parental decisions regarding their children’s health. For multiple reasons, our view is that SB 277 is unconstitutional both under the United States and California Constitutions. Perhaps even more important is our view that enactment of SB 277 is not in the best interests of our children and our nation.

If enacted, SB 277 would repeal philosophical and religious exemptions for adults and children. There is no compelling reason to disrupt the current California legal framework in which exemptions to vaccination, both religious and philosophical, are respected and preserved. Public acceptance of vaccination is not in question, and vaccination uptake rates are high and stable. There exists no compelling public health emergency that justifies the radical change to California law contained in SB 277. A small percentage of the population elects to exempt themselves from vaccination. Government mandated medical procedures – which by their nature are coercive and derogate informed consent – may have unintended consequences that will disrupt the social fabric and likely create enhanced suspicion about the vaccine program and the safety of vaccines.

The global standard is that prior, free and informed consent must apply to all medical interventions, including preventive treatments like vaccination. This standard has been endorsed by members of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), including the United States, and is the hallmark of a rational approach to all medical interventions in civil society. Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, Article VI, § 1. We believe current California law incorporates this foundational principle and should not be disturbed. Government compulsion violates this principle by eviscerating the notion of informed consent.

California’s Constitution guarantees the right to public education. Cal. Const. Art. 9 § 5. The Supreme Court of California has long unequivocally affirmed this right, stating: “We indulge in no hyperbole to assert that society has a compelling interest in affording children an opportunity to attend school.” Serrano v. Priest, 5 Cal. 3d 584, 606, 487 P.2d 1241, 1257 (1971). We believe that vaccine compulsion will not withstand a strict scrutiny analysis to qualify as a sufficiently compelling interest to take the extreme and unconstitutional step of excluding children from their right to education in California. The legal right to a free and appropriate public education is also contained in the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). Exclusion of children from school would, under SB 277, violate IDEA.

Furthermore, the United States Constitution protects the right of privacy and religious freedom. Under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, no state may “deprive a person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” The United States Supreme Court extends that protection to the right to refuse unwanted medical interventions. Cruzan v. Director Missouri Dept. Health, 497 U.S. 261, 278 (1990). In the case of children, the courts have consistently held that parents who have the capacity to act in their child’s best interests have the right to make appropriate health care decisions for them. A child is not a “mere creature of the State.” Parham v. J.R., 422 U.S. 584, 602 (1979). SB 277 improperly and unnecessarily removes the parent as the decision maker and transfers this power to the department of public health.

Religious exemptions are permissible under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Accordingly, parents should have the religious freedom to oppose medical procedures and to not have government dictate their expression of religious belief.

We also must point out that vaccines can cause injury to children. For this reason, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. This legislation created the national Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which since its inception has paid more than $3 billion to the victims of vaccine injury. The legislation provided almost complete immunity from liability to vaccine manufacturers on the ground that vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe”, even if properly prepared and manufactured under FDA standards. Bruesewitz v. Wyeth LLC, 562 U.S. 223, 131 S. Ct. 1068, 1089, 179 L. Ed. 2d 1 (2011). At the same time, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program limits compensation for pain and suffering and does not allow for a trial by jury, as guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, or for discovery of information about vaccines or their safety. 42 U.S.C. §300aa-1 et seq.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has recognized that medical science is “a field bereft of complete and direct proof of how vaccines affect the human body.” Althen v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., 418 F.3d 1274 (Fed. Cir. 2005). Medical science cannot explain how or when vaccines cause injury. There is no way of knowing in advance who might suffer harm from these products. Because of this incomplete knowledge, individuals have a right to choose whether or not they consent vaccination, a right they have with any other medical procedure. It is not possible to make a vaccine that is completely risk free nor is it possible to make vaccines that are 100% effective in preventing infectious diseases. In light of these realities, we respectfully submit that mandating medical procedures without allowing for a philosophical or religious exemption is draconian public policy.

For these and many other reasons that are beyond the scope of this letter but which have been presented to California legislators through in-depth analysis contained in correspondence and testimony, we strongly urge you to decline the temptation to tamper with California’s legislative scheme that works to achieve public health objectives while protecting the rights of individuals to make conscientious medical decisions regarding their own health.

Please take the responsible course by rejecting SB 277 and avoiding the legal, educational, and health decision-making chaos that would follow from enactment of this legislation.

Respectfully submitted,
/s/ RJK

LAWYERS OPPOSED TO CALIFORNIA SB 277
Robert J. Krakow, Attorney At Law
New York

James S. Turner, Attorney At Law
District of Columbia

Robert T. Moxley, Attorney At Law
Wyoming

Susan C. Lee, Attorney At Law
New York

Mary S. Holland, Attorney At Law
New York

Susan Judge, Attorney At Law
New Jersey

Tony Lyons, Attorney At Law
New York

Patricia Finn, Attorney At Law
New York

Kevin Barry, Attorney At Law
New York

Kimberly Mack Rosenberg, Attorney At Law
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

Lisa D. Nicolls, Attorney At Law
California

Mary Kay Elloian, Attorney At Law
Massachusetts

Andy Kislik, Attorney At Law
California

Sara Sabbagh, Attorney At Law
Connecticut

Timothy A. Adams, Attorney At Law
California

Tonya Grant, Attorney At Law
Connecticut

Stamatia Dewbury, Attorney At Law
New York

Rolf Hazlehurst, Attorney At Law
Tennessee

Diane M. Miller, Attorney At Law
Minnesota

Anne Tenner, Attorney At Law
Minnesota

Richard Power, Attorney At Law
California

Betsy E. Lehrfeld, Attorney At Law
District of Columbia

Arthur J. Obolsky, Attorney At Law
California

Christine Cagnina, Attorney At Law
North Carolina

Natalia Litchev, Attorney At Law
California, Washington

David A. Rotman, Attorney At Law
California

R. Rosser Cole, Attorney At Law
California

Elizabeth McCoy, Attorney At Law
California

Richard P. Klein, Attorney At Law
Kansas

Alan Phillips, Attorney At Law
North Carolina

Scott C. Tips, Attorney At Law
California

Rosemary Spohn, Attorney At Law
New Jersey

Terry Dodson Poling, RN, CLNC,
Attorney At Law
California, District of Columbia

Ann A. Arceneaux, Attorney At Law
Louisiana

Valerie Borek, Attorney At Law
New Jersey, Pennsylvania

Victoria A. Pappallardo, Attorney At Law
New Jersey

Heather Coy, JD
Ohio

Colleen Shaw, Attorney At Law
California

Gerald McNally, Attorney At Law
California

Brian Wirtz, Attorney At Law
California

Justine Hinderliter, Attorney At Law
California

Christopher B. Turner, Attorney At Law
District of Columbia

Stanley M. Ziegler, Attorney At Law
California

Christina A. Humphrey, Attorney At Law
California

Raymond P. Schmidt, Attorney At Law
New Jersey, New York

Lindsie McBratney, Attorney At Law
California

William A. Fead, Attorney At Law
Vermont

Shelley M. Janssen, Attorney At Law
Michigan, Indiana

Dale Rasmussen, Attorney At Law
California

Frances Kyriazis, Attorney At Law
California

Shannon Hill, Attorney At Law
California

Laureen Monty, Attorney At Law
California

Cornelia Sterner, Attorney At Law
California

Judy Kosovich, Attorney At Law
District of Columbia

Anne Harris, Attorney At Law
California

Robert M. Snee, Attorney At Law
Oregon

Gordon J. Rose, Attorney At Law
California

Dean Vescera, Attorney At Law
California

Anjali Lathi, Attorney At Law
California

Nicholas J. Sarwark, Attorney At Law
Colorado

Namvar A. Mokri, Attorney At Law
California

Allison Lucas, Attorney At Law
Michigan

Valerie Charles, Attorney At Law
Idaho, New York

Elizabeth M. Monterrosa, Attorney At Law
California

Frank Amoroso, Attorney At Law
New York, North Carolina

Robert J. Liptak, Attorney At Law
Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania

Araceli Martinez, Attorney At Law
California

Elizabeth P. Peterson, Attorney At Law
California

Karen Reeves, Attorney At Law
California

Carol L. Gallagher, Attorney At Law
New Jersey

Keilembo D. Ellison, Attorney At Law
California, Minnesota

David Yung Ho Kim, Attorney At Law
California

Michael Pogue, Attorney At Law
Idaho

Vasanth Vaidyanathan, Attorney At Law
New York

James W. Henderson, Attorney At Law
California, Washington

LouAnna C. Perkins, Attorney At Law
Maine

Laura Carrier, Attorney At Law
California, New York

Patricia McGill, Attorney At Law
Illinois

Joshua Romano, Attorney At Law
California

Steven J. Serratore, Attorney At Law
California

Robin J. Gray, Attorney At Law
Pennsylvania

Thomas J. Schmidt, Attorney At Law
California

Peggy Palms, Attorney At Law
North Carolina

Michael McCormack, Attorney At Law
Washington

Samantha Schroder, Attorney At Law
California

Larissa Cummings, Attorney At Law
California

Cristina Culicea, Attorney At Law
New York

Irina S. Martirosyan, Attorney At Law
California

Dawn Rochlen, Attorney At Law
Illinois

Tracie J. Hulbert, Attorney At Law
Colorado

Molly K. Zurflueh, Attorney At Law
California

 

 

 

Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney At Law
New York

Caitlyn M. Obolsky, Attorney At Law
California

Lisa Colin, Attorney At Law
New York

Nicole Varisco, Attorney At Law
New York, New Jersey

Cathrine Devon Ji, Attorney At Law
California

Sabrina Knickelbein, Attorney At Law
Maryland

Jessica Monroe, Attorney At Law
California

Robert E. Reeves, Attorney At Law
Kentucky

Leonora Gorelik, Attorney At Law
California

Eric Grodan, Attorney At Law
California

Deborah Bass, Attorney At Law
California

Victoria Theofanis, Attorney At Law
New York

Tiffany M. Kopacz, Attorney At Law
New York

D. Ian Bristol, Attorney At Law
Florida

Bree Gathers, Attorney At Law
Florida

Jaime Ries, Attorney At Law
California

Deb Bess Urbaitis, Attorney At Law
New Hampshire

Dwayne Pennant, JD
North Carolina

Michael Cremata, Attorney At Law
California

Tom McKissick, Attorney At Law
California

Emily Weissenberger, Attorney At Law
California

Jennifer Sambito, Attorney At Law
California

Virginia Stoner, Attorney At Law
Texas

Pamela Ryan, Attorney At Law
Virginia, Georgia, Alabama

Carla R. Kralovic, Attorney At Law
California

Michael W. Shonafelt, Attorney At Law
California

Lisa Dawn Sterling, Attorney At Law
California

Kristina Boudreaux, JD
California

Jason Pucci, Attorney At Law
New Jersey

Sean P. Joyce, Attorney At Law
California

Brandon Horn, PhD, Attorney At Law
Florida

Bruce Kaminski, Attorney At Law
California

Sonali Arnzen, Attorney At Law
California

Gregory A. Forest, Attorney At Law
California

John Patrick Galvin, Sr., Attorney At Law
California

James Henderson, Attorney At Law
California

Lauren Marie Vescera, Attorney At Law
California

Annette Infante, Attorney At Law
Florida, New Jersey

Sharon Finkel, Attorney At Law
New York

Radomir Kwiatkowski, Attorney At Law
Delaware

Philip DeJong, Attorney At Law
California

Jason F. Amoroso, Attorney At Law
California

Lucas Rogers, Attorney At Law
California, New York

Mark A. Berman, Attorney At Law
New Jersey

Martin B. Fischler, Attorney At Law
California

Michele Denise McCaslin, Attorney At Law
California

Julia Herrington, Attorney At Law
California

Kent Heckenlively, Attorney At Law
California

Ed Noyes, Attorney At Law
Iowa

Brian Festa, Attorney At Law
Connecticut

John McHugh, Attorney At Law
New York

Michael E. McMorrow, Attorney At Law
Wisconsin

Scott Langley, Attorney At Law
California

Larksana Perkins, Attorney At Law
California, Washington

Barbara Brown, Attorney At Law
California

Richard E. Lehrfeld, Attorney At Law
California

Tyler S. St. Cyr, Attorney At Law
Vermont

Joshua W. Centeno, Attorney At Law
California

Julie V. Abizaid, Attorney At Law
District of Columbia

April Peebler, Attorney At Law
California

Michelle Leah Gomez, Attorney At Law
California

Barry Rietz, Attorney At Law
Arizona

Sandra Lee Lipkin, Attorney At Law
California

Allison Folmar, Attorney At Law
Michigan

Tamara VonBuck, Attorney At Law
California

Eric Mintz, Attorney At Law
California

Wendy Kingston, Attorney At Law
California

Jennifer Janeiro, Attorney At Law
California, Connecticut

Myrna Ocasio, Attorney At Law
New York

Bruce Colbath, Attorney At Law
New York

Rudy Grasso, Attorney At Law
New Jersey, New York

Christopher A. C. Smith, Attorney At Law
Idaho

Michael D. Hoy, Attorney At Law
California, Nevada

Sheila A. Bjorklund, Attorney At Law
Minnesota, Wisconsin

Alan V. Seagrave, III, Attorney At Law
Arkansas, California

Kristy Stewart, Attorney At Law
Alabama

Carla T. Dobrovits, Attorney At Law
Illinois

William Simpich, Attorney At Law
California

Karise Morgan, Attorney At Law
Minnesota

Shoshona Kraus, Attorney At Law
Florida, New York

Joel Dorfman, Attorney At Law
Michigan

Margaret Kuebler, Attorney At Law
Tennessee

Deanna Waldron, Attorney At Law
Colorado, New Jersey, New York

Santos Gomez, Attorney At Law
California

Cori Sutherland, Attorney At Law
California

Amy G. Langerman, Attorney At Law
Arizona

Kate Rinne Scarborough, Attorney At Law
California

Dina Demetrio, Attorney At Law
Illinois

Theresa McLean, Attorney At Law
California

Anthony A. Karian, Attorney At Law
California

Valeria Capilouto, Attorney At Law
California

Rebecca Koch, Attorney at Law
California, Arizona