The bill to allow children as young as age 12 to take the COVID-19 vaccine without parental consent, passed the California State Senate three weeks ago. Senate Bill 866 by Senators Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) may be heard in the Assembly this week.
Why are we even having this discussion? Passing laws interfering with parental rights is unauthorized intervention in a child’s healthcare, and is no business of state lawmakers. There is nothing more insidious than the government wheedling its way in between parents and their children.
Should SB 866 pass, the law would undoubtedly have significant consequences, and possibly dangerous consequences for some kids. Sen. Melissa Melendez, a mother of five, warned about parental concerns over vaccine side effects:
“More importantly, any vaccine can have side effects, sometimes life threatening. That’s why parents are required to furnish information on the child’s medical history, prior allergic reactions, and the child’s overall well- being.”
“Do we believe all 12 year olds will know what they’re allergic to and communicate that to the person administering the vaccine? Do we believe they will be aware of any past reactions to vaccinations received as a toddler?”
SB 866 was one of several bills introduced in the Legislature designed to increase vaccinations by Californians aged 18 or younger. However, as the number of COVID-19 cases in California drastically plummeted throughout the first several months of 2022, vaccine legislation efforts quickly lost steam. Support dried up as more scrutiny on the bills exposed mandates and the erosion of parental rights, in many cases.
But Sen. Wiener kept on with SB 866.
The bill would apply to any vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including the COVID-19 vaccine.
Children aren’t allowed to make many decisions for many good reasons, primarily because they are children. Children can’t go to the doctor without a parent. Children aren’t allowed to enroll themselves in school without a parent. Children can’t even sign up for the local soccer team without a parent. They can’t open a bank account without a parent. They cannot drive until age 16. Children can’t vote until age 18. They aren’t even allowed to administer cold medication to themselves at school. So why would ostensibly rational adults allow them to make decisions about taking vaccines at school without a parent’s approval?
The bill never was heard in the Senate Health Committee – only in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Here are the lawmakers who voted to pass SB 866 in the Senate Judiciary Committee: Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, Sen. Lena Gonzalez, Sen. John Laird, Sen. Mike McGuire, Sen. Tom Umberg, Sen. Bob Wieckowski, and the bill’s author – Sen. Scott Wiener. All Democrats.
SB 866 is an assault on the rights of every parent in California.
The Capitol Resource Institute explains:
“SB 866 will eliminate a parent’s right to make decisions for their young pre-teen(s). This bill is another threat to parental rights in California. Parents are already told by school districts and the government to stay out of their child’s education, and now the government wants to eliminate the necessary safeguards that protect minors from the adverse side effects a vaccine may bring.”
And, SB 866 puts children in the untenable position of being extremely susceptible to being pressured to receive vaccines – from peers and school officials.
We don’t let children inject themselves with dangerous, illicit drugs – why would any lawmaker think it is okay to allow children to inject a substance into their bodies without a parent’s consent?
Here’s who voted YES to pass SB 866 in the Senate: Sen. Pres. Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Senators Josh Becker, Steven Bradford, Dave Cortese, Bill Dodd, Maria Elena Durazo, Susan Eggman, Steve Glazer, Lena Gonzalez, Bob Hertzberg, Sydney Kamlager, John Laird, Monique Limón, Mike McGuire, Josh Newman, Richard Pan, Anthony Portantino, Nancy Skinner, Tom Umberg, Bob Wieckowski, Scott Wiener. All Democrats.
Here are the Senators who voted NO on the Senate floor: Republican Senators Andreas Borgeas, Brian Jones, Melissa Melendez, Jim Nielsen, Rosilicie Ochoa-Bogh, Scott Wilk, and Democrat Senators Ben Hueso, Sen. Melissa Hurtado.
Sen. Scott Wiener, SB 866 author says this on his website:
“Existing California law gives minors 12 and older the autonomy to make critical and even life-saving decisions about their own bodies under certain circumstances.
Wiener dubiously says on his website, “This bill does not take away the rights of parents to decide to vaccinate their child. It simply allows children to get vaccinated on their own, without their parents. This bill will encourage more vaccination, not less.”
And Wiener claims, “Even if a teenager desperately wants a vaccine — and even if not being vaccinated prevents a teen from participating in sports and music activities or from seeing friends — a parent can simply refuse to allow the teen to get vaccinated.”
Sen. Scott Wiener is not a parent, yet makes as if the role of the parent is unimportant if a child “desperately wants a vaccine.”
Here are the votes to pass SB 866 in the Assembly Judiciary Committee: Assembly members Richard Bloom, Matt Haney, Ash Kalra, Eloise Gómez Reyes, Robert Rivas, Buffy Wicks. Those Assembly members voting NO: Jordan Cunningham, Laura Davies, Kevin Kiley, Brian Maienschein.
Assemblyman Kevin Kiley noted that SB 866 passed the Senate by a single vote. “We will stop this obscene legislation in the Assembly.”
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