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2016 will be my 34th year as a vaccine safety and human rights activist.1 For more than 20 years I have been warning that the day would come when vaccine extremists and profiteers would move to legally force Americans to buy and use all government mandated vaccines and punish those who refuse.23 Still, it was a shock to see it happen in California this year,4 even as I know that preparations are being made by vaccine extremists to attack the religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions in more states next year.5 6
But knowing and predicting what will happen is very different from watching it actually happen.
Born in Minnesota to a mother, who was a nurse, and a father, who fought on the beach at Anzio and then re-enlisted in the Army after returning from World War II,7 I was raised with a deep respect for the values and beliefs upon which this Republic was founded and for the natural rights and principles of democratic government outlined in the U.S. Constitution.8 Like so many others who are grateful for freedom of thought and religion in this country, my abiding faith in a Creator of the natural order sustains me during my life’s journey and I believe Americans will not give up the natural rights and cultural values that define who we are as a nation without a fight.
Earlier this year, when vaccine extremists and profiteers used a few cases of measles at Disneyland to attack freedom of speech, thought, religious belief and assembly,9 my heart sank. It was painful to watch good people be demonized for simply criticizing poorly tested vaccines and inhumane one-size-fits-all vaccine policies.10 11 Then, when dozens of pharmaceutical and medical industry-backed bills were introduced in multiple states to eliminate religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions so citizens could be tracked, discriminated against, segregated and punished for making vaccine choices that do not conform with government policy, I held my breath.
What would the people do? Would they bow down and cower before their oppressors, or would they stand up and defend their natural rights and civil liberties?
In a remarkable display of outrage, common sense and courage, we witnessed mothers, fathers and grandparents from every walk of life in California show up by the thousands to testify in legislative hearings and hold rallies in Sacramento opposing a forced vaccination law that was rammed through the legislature, despite the biggest public protests in that state Capitol since the Viet Nam war.1213 The same thing happened in Vermont, where industry lobbyists strong armed enough legislators to eliminate the philosophical belief vaccine exemption despite overwhelming public opposition,14 even as spirited citizen action in Texas and nine other states was successful in blocking the passage of bills stripping away personal belief vaccine exemptions.15