CA Democratic Convention: Marginalized group challenges party to stand for “health choice”

20150516_114734_resizedAt this weekend’s state party convention, California Democrats went out of their way to acknowledge marginalized groups and affirm their commitment to a woman’s right to choose.

“It’s a lack of respect,” House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi said of why Republicans continue to press for restrictions on reproductive rights and undermine what she described as “choice issues.” “Respect for our judgment, our dignity, respect for our sentiment of responsibility.”

Yet, marginalized activists who support maintaining a personal belief exemption from mandatory vaccinations say that Democratic lawmakers aren’t respecting their right to choose. Opponents of Senate Bill 277 protested outside of the Anaheim Convention Center Saturday, with homemade signs and loud chants echoing the party’s position on health choice. Rather than gain acceptance from a party that champions marginalized groups, opponents of SB277 found themselves facing derisive comments from convention delegates.

“They (California Democrats) are definitely being hypocritical on this issue,” said Aaron Mills, a member of the California Coalition for Health Choice. “Democrats usually champion for the minorities. When it comes to this group, it’s “just go away and stop complaining.”

He added, “You can’t force somebody to take a product with known risks. … I don’t really feel compelled to vaccinate my day-old infant for a sexually transmitted disease.”

SB277: Reframing the debate

The debate over California’s immunization requirements began in January, following a measles outbreak at Disneyland, which coincidentally is just down the block from this weekend’s convention. As of March, California public health officials had confirmed 133 measles cases since December, according to National Public Radio.

The Disneyland measles outbreak encouraged Senator Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, to introduce SB277, a bill to end the personal belief exemption which gives parents the power to opt-out of mandatory vaccinations for schoolchildren.

20150516_114725_resizedFor months, opponents of the legislation have stumbled in their public rhetoric and legislative strategy. Some of the bill’s opponents tracked – arguably stalked – a lobbyist throughout the Capitol. Lawmakers and their staff members were inconvenienced by lengthy committee hearings. This past Thursday, the bill passed the state Senate on a 25-10 vote, with only two Democrats opposed.

However, at this weekend’s California Democratic Party state convention, concerned parents refined their argument to a message of choice.

“Are you aware that California Senate Bill 277 is moving its way through legislation right now that will remove your right to choose on vaccines?” reads a flyer distributed by protestors. “Where there’s a risk, there must be choice!”

Another handout asks, “Are California Democrats a party of choice or force?”

Both of those messages mirror the words of the California Democratic Party’s official platform, which states, “We proudly and vigorously support a woman’s right to choose how to use her mind, her body and her time.”

Democratic Senators prioritize public safety over choice

20150516_114652_resizedState Senator Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, a principal co-author of the bill, has argued that public safety should trump choice.

“The high number of unvaccinated students is jeopardizing public health not only in schools but in the broader community,” Allen said in a press release earlier this year.” We need to take steps to keep our schools safe and our students healthy.”

Allen’s arguments don’t sit well with some Democrats, who see it as government intervening in their personal health decisions.

“Never in a million years did I think my fellow Democrats would vote to take away my constitutional rights as a parent,” read one Democratic woman’s homemade sign. “Vaccination decisions are between a parent and their doctor, not the government. Opposition to SB277 will not go away even if it passed.”

During Saturday’s rally, supporters of the personal belief exemption chanted, ” We’re not going away! We’re not going away!” Yet, some Republicans are hoping that the issue could drive parents to leave the Democratic Party. A few members of the California Republican Assembly set up a table near the rally with a sign indicating their support for parental rights.

SB277 Opponents: Don’t call us anti-vaxxers

In addition to their frustration with Democrats abandoning “choice,” opponents of SB277 say that the party’s elected officials are being disrespectful to their cause by using the pejorative term, “anti-vaxxer.”

“This media stigma that is attached to it,” Mills, a member of the Democratic Party and opponent of mandatory vaccination, explained why he objected to the term. “It might be the most loathed group in the country. It’s definitely a minority group that no one looks fondly upon.”

According to Google search trends, there has been a dramatic spike in use of the term since the Disneyland measles outbreak. So, what should people call them?

“We’re not anti-anything,” Mills said. “We’re for health choice.”

California Democratic Party: Health Choice Rally

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31 comments

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  1. Earl
    Earl 17 May, 2015, 17:52

    More kids die from the vaccine than the actual disease.
    The Dems concern for ‘the children’ stops at the womb, and even supports partial birth abortion.
    Check out 180Movie.com to see what history has taught us.

    Reply this comment
    • SHW-CA NOW. ORG MEMBER
      SHW-CA NOW. ORG MEMBER 18 May, 2015, 12:16

      There have been no deaths from MMR in 100 years. We have measles parties when I was growing up, before vaccines. My mother and her sister combined households and did the nursing care and waited out the 10-12 day “incubation period” before we returned to school. Some of my siblings got them and some did not. We all survived. This is drummed up to keep the trillions going. Nobody died in Disneyland…..But, 27 children in Mexico became sick and hospitalized and 2 died with more in the hospital…Our children die from the vaccines and “toxic overload.” Doctors and Researchers need to go back to school and learn natural science and “toxicity”. Tell Big Pharma, the FDA, and the CDC and AMA Medical Mafia to stuff it!

      Reply this comment
    • Puuuuhlease
      Puuuuhlease 18 May, 2015, 22:30

      More kids die from the vaccine than the actual disease? If that’s true, Earl, it’s BECAUSE of vaccination.

      Reply this comment
      • Aaron
        Aaron 18 May, 2015, 23:42

        Measles killed like 1-100k, and that was 50 years ago. I think you’ll be fine. You’ll most likely not die from the vaccine either, but why don’t I get choice?

        What if you like your kids chances vs the measles, instead of rolling the dice on vaccines? What if you don’t like the idea of no Pharma liability? If my kid gets sick, I can cure that 99.9% of the time…. if vaccines harm them, there is no product liability. Just a kangaroo court where death is capped at $250k. When I use a product, I want some consumer protection, there is little to none here. Thats an issue for me.

        Reply this comment
      • Tim Lundeen
        Tim Lundeen 19 May, 2015, 12:01

        Actually, medical history shows that over 95% of the reduction in child mortality since 1900 happened BEFORE vaccination for all of the current vaccine schedule Please read Suzanne Humphries’s book — she is an MD, a board-certified nephrologist, who started researching vaccines when she saw her kidney patients get injured by them. Her book, Dissolving Illusions, is a superb history and overview of the risks/benefits.

        The United States is ranked 53rd among developed nations in terms of infant mortality. Ours is about 6.17 per thousand, and we give 27 doses of vaccines to infants. The countries that give only 12 doses to infants have an average infant mortality of about 3 per thousand. If we reduced our schedule to only 12, we might well save 12,000 infant lives per year — this dwarfs the infant mortality rates before vaccines were introduce. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3170075/figure/fig1-0960327111407644/

        Reply this comment
  2. Kristie Sepulveda-Burchit
    Kristie Sepulveda-Burchit 18 May, 2015, 09:13

    Excellent reporting.
    Parents have a right to choice and to informed consent when it involves a medical procedure.

    Reply this comment
  3. Hannah Jackson
    Hannah Jackson 18 May, 2015, 09:52

    Wow! “Lawmakers and their staff members were inconvenienced by lengthy committee hearings.”. I thought the voice of constituents were important. But sadly, now we really know how politics works.

    Reply this comment
    • SHW
      SHW 18 May, 2015, 12:55

      Not only were they inconvenienced when I called and faxed and emailed …..some of them went to sleep. They woke up enough to pass the bill forward admitting that more time was needed to read all the constituents sent in….my Amendment for Antioxidants that killed the bill in other States was completely ignored. Big Pharma and the CMA lobbyist were running Dr. Pan and other Senators paid with health donations. This is what I call the Medical Mafia. Congress has the FDA, CDC, Big Pharma and AMA…All Share Profits. It’s a 3 trillion dollar industry.

      Reply this comment
  4. Donna
    Donna 18 May, 2015, 11:02

    Thank you for supporting a parent’s right to choose. Opposing this Bill does NOT mean you are against vaccines. Many parents and doctors feel that the CDC vaccine list is too aggressive and are choosing to vaccinate at a slower pace. This means that their children WILL be vaccinated … it will just take a little longer. To call these parents “anti-vaxxers” and their children ‘un-vaxinated’ is incorrect, unfair and inflammatory. And, to discriminate against them and ban them from a public education is shameful. There is NO public health crisis! 130 Californians contracted measles out of a population of 38.8 MILLION people. 20% of these were school age children. This Bill is unnecessary. The State vaccination rates are way within the safe ‘herd immunity’ zone. The current legislation has worked very well in decreasing PBE’s by 30% since it’s inception 2 years ago. Please oppose this Bill that discriminates against HEALTHY children.

    Reply this comment
    • SHW
      SHW 18 May, 2015, 13:08

      I sent in an Amendment for Antioxidants, first and then s-p-a-c-i-n-g vaccinations. One size fits all is causing toxic overload on infants, toddlers, and children. Vitamin C killed the bill in other States. It was ignored by Senator Pan and Big Pharma and CMA lobbyists and all Senate Committees. I know what this Medical Mafia does in Congress….I’ve been fighting them for years. Allopathic Medical Doctors need to go back to school to learn “natural science” instead of just “synthetic chemical science” and a greater understanding of ” toxicity”, they are killing our babies, toddlers, and children, including chemo patients. One size fits all and keeping with the CDC Schedule….even when a babies immune system is weak or they are low birth weight or premature or came by C-Section. It is suppose to turn on coming down the “birth canal”. But, does it. Toxic wombs are happening these days from the increase in environmental toxins, including “certified drinking water.”

      Reply this comment
  5. Andrea Geise
    Andrea Geise 18 May, 2015, 11:03

    My body – and that of my children – doesn’t belong to the State, any more than it does to my father or husband. This is a feminist issue, this is a choice issue, and the Democrats have it wrong. They are losing life-long supporters over this…and in an election year, they certainly cannot afford to make this critical mistake.

    Reply this comment
    • SHW
      SHW 18 May, 2015, 13:20

      The number 1 lobbyist for Pharmaceuticals and the CMA was the legislative lobbyist for CA NOW. Org…..She was paid to speak when grieving mothers were not allowed to speak. She coached Senator Pan and forced the bill forward in a big rush! Big Pharma and Medicine in Ca pays well.

      Reply this comment
    • bob
      bob 18 May, 2015, 19:43

      Andrea, in the eyes of your gooberment masters you are nothing but livestock.

      Reply this comment
  6. Blurg
    Blurg 18 May, 2015, 11:51

    What a bunch of hypocrites and liars the Democrats are. So a woman’s right to choose is sacrosanct, but the moment she gives birth, her baby is now property of the state if she wants it to have a taxpayer funded public education? The only winners are the liability free drug companies, whose bottom lines are assured by these bought and paid for legislators who go whoring for cash. What a disgrace to the state and to the nation. Anyone who thinks this was about vaccination should get their head out of their you know what so they can watch their freedoms disappear into the BIG BROTHER government that the Democrats have been working towards for years.

    Reply this comment
    • SHW
      SHW 18 May, 2015, 13:16

      CA marriage licenses has a fee attached to it to go into a fund that enforces the State’s Right to take your child away. What his bill is going to do is allow the CPS and Law Enforcement to pay visits to Home Schools to enforce the vaccine law…at gun point. CPS receives Federal dollars for transferring custody for 5 minutes, or 5 months or 5 years. So,of course they are going to remove the children and have the vaccinated. Currently, CPS is targeting young single Mothers in poverty for home births, breast feeding, and eating or feeding their children Vegan Diets. This is all ready happening. CPS has been forcing vaccines for years. And, so has the Schools…..get your children vaccinate for they cannot go to school here.

      Reply this comment
  7. SHW-CA NOW. ORG MEMBER
    SHW-CA NOW. ORG MEMBER 18 May, 2015, 12:07

    There are no deaths from MMR in America for 100 years. Disneyland out break had no deaths and 78 were vaccinated for MMR. This is a FEAR Based Drummed Up Campaign for the FDA, MD’s, and Drug Companies to make more trillions. The same in Congress. This not about Health….IT’s About Money!
    I am hearing that many Democrats are turning Republican to guarantee their Parental Right’s and Personal Belief-Religious Exemptions Upheld and out of Government control.
    What we have in our State Legislature right now is The Medical Mafia at work, usually found in Congress. Merck and other Drug Co and the CA Medical Association is busy buying our Legislature with generous donations and sending in their paid Lobbyists who have obvious control over Senator-Doctor Pan and had the right to speak instead of the grieving Mothers. The bill would have died, but Senate Pro Temp and Sen. Monning ” rigged the votes”. $$$$ in their pockets.
    The first dirty work bill contributing to the Genocide of the Mothers-Women to allow 12 year old girls to make their own decisions to vaccinate with Gardasil, .a known killer and linked to sterilization. Mothers refused to let their daughters take the vaccine after deaths were reported. Merck lost major sales. To recoup their investment Merck paid for the passage of this bill signed into law by Governor Brown in 2011. When really it should be removed from the Market. Doctor Pan received triple digit donations and will prosper from shared pharmaceutical profits. All Pharmaceutical manufacturers have immunity from damages set forth by Congress when Autism was emerging in 1986. They don’t prove safety or effectiveness or carcinogens as they serve up cancerous cells in new vaccines to end breast cancer. Our bodies and the bodies of our infants and children are their free guinea pigs when they will make trillions. Our babies are dying needlessly from HIV and Hep B vaccines in the hospital and the first 18 months of life. We ignore it and the stupidity of MD’s murdering our babies goes with remedy. We have a high mortality rate.
    Mexico children are still hospitalized in critical conditions and 2 babies are dead from last week from MMR vaccines. “What kind of crazy American medicine is this to hurt and kill our children.” Vaccinations have ceases and prosecution of the American Doctor for “child abuse.” Bill Gates is under fire for $49,000 paralyzed children, brain damages, and deaths for his Polio and MMR vaccines. The Lies and cover up’s continue. “No aborted fetuses or harmful chemicals are in vaccines, they are safe and effective.” All You have to do is go to Merck’s website or read a package insert…peanuts are included. Who wants to trust this maker of vaccines.

    Reply this comment
    • Margo
      Margo 18 May, 2015, 14:07

      I think you meant to say no deaths from measles. There are definitely deaths from MMR.

      Reply this comment
  8. Susan
    Susan 18 May, 2015, 12:29

    And when the dems lose the legislature over this, the repugs will come in and attack reproductive choice as well.

    Every damn democrat that supports this unprecedented attack on patients’ and parents’ rights needs to be primaried.

    Pan needs to be prosecuted and I would bet my next paycheck that he is dirty enough to get out of the legislature if not to send to prison. Too much smoke there for there not to be some fire.

    Reply this comment
  9. JL
    JL 18 May, 2015, 12:44

    I truly believe Pan was hornswoggled into authoring and introducing this bill by certain folks with the power of money on their side. If he actually paid attention to the strong public outcry against SB277 and LISTENED to the people, he would have seen the error in his ways.

    Now we must continue to fight for what is supposed to be ours already – our human rights, our person beliefs, our religious beliefs. Seems ridiculous to have to fight for something that is already ours.

    Reply this comment
  10. Noelle
    Noelle 18 May, 2015, 15:02

    As a long time voting Democrat and an attendee of the convention in Anaheim this past weekend, I can affirm the allegations in this article. At yesterday’s convention, I attempted to exercise my Democratic rights to speak out in the General Session. I was silenced. A man hit me with his cane. Another delegate criticized me vehemently for bringing my nursing infant to the convention. I was chastised for crying. I was told that I must not under any circumstances try to stop this bill from passing. That there was no way that this bill would not pass. While SB 277 may protect some children, it does not protect my children or any children who are genetically susceptible to vaccine reactions. My children are not of any concern to lawmakers trying to pass this bill. I am so distraught by the realization that the party that I love seems indeed to be the party of force, and not the party of choice. It has abandoned its ideals.

    Reply this comment
    • Joe
      Joe 18 May, 2015, 20:13

      Thank you for going to speak and I’m so sorry to hear you were treated like that.

      Reply this comment
      • Noelle
        Noelle 19 May, 2015, 01:39

        Thank you, Joe. It was a tough day. But the truth is on our side and I will keep speaking it.

        Reply this comment
  11. KingCrab
    KingCrab 18 May, 2015, 15:19

    This is a well written article, representing opposition to this bill truthfully. In a free country, never does safety trump choice. You don’t take a parent’s rights away to ensure safety, and from what?? What major threat is looming? And a handful of cases of the measles isn’t reason enough to force a whole schedule of vaccines on all children. It is Draconian and unthinking. And how many times in history has “We will protect you if you just give up your rights” worked?? The government will never care as much as a parents do for their children. We are informed, most of us really look, we research, we ask our pediatricians, we read…WE decide!

    Reply this comment
  12. Lyn
    Lyn 18 May, 2015, 16:06

    Great and fair article. We are not anti-vax, we are pro-rights.

    Reply this comment
  13. Puuuuhhhlease
    Puuuuhhhlease 18 May, 2015, 22:29

    Marginalized? Oh please. They’re fringe because they’re fringe. Bad science. Outright lies. Putting other kids at risk.

    There’s a difference between a CHOICE and an innate characteristic. The Democratic party is against discrimination. It isn’t discrimination or “marginalization” to ignore a group of science-deniers who voluntarily make a terrible and ignorant choice, then post Nazi imagery and call for the death of a Senator who proposed some legislation. Marginalizing those people is the right thing to do.

    For others who find this article truly ridiculous: vaccinatecalifornia.org – come join the grassroots parents and community members who SUPPORT this bill.

    Reply this comment
  14. Carson
    Carson 18 May, 2015, 22:32

    I’m an ex-vaxxer. I vaccinated my son. I vaccinated myself until I was injured at 49. Did my research on vaccines. Now I’m an ex-vaxxer who will vaccinate again once they’re made safer.

    Reply this comment
  15. Tom Harper
    Tom Harper 19 May, 2015, 05:44

    Your body your choice, and parents have rights.

    Every medical procedure or intervention has risk, and parents should be allowed to choose based on their family history, personal genetics, etc.

    I am also tired of hearing, the “science says x”. I have found that is what is said by the people who have done the least amount of actual research.

    Reply this comment
  16. real American
    real American 19 May, 2015, 13:25

    …so pro-choice apparently only applies to abortions, not vaccines

    Reply this comment
    • SkippingDog
      SkippingDog 20 May, 2015, 22:36

      Abortion harm is limited to the aborted fetus. Communicable diseases don’t have any such inherent limitations. It’s fine with me if you don’t vaccinate your kid, just don’t expect him/her to be welcomed at a school with other kids who might become the true victims of your “choice.”

      Reply this comment
      • Earl
        Earl 23 May, 2015, 18:22

        Pleessssse
        Check out 180movie.com. ” it’s only the fetus’; then it was only the Jews…. Is that the world you want to live in? I’m glad my Mom didn’t consider me just a fetus. How about you?

        Reply this comment

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John Hrabe

John Hrabe

John Hrabe spends his time traveling the world as a freelance journalist. When he isn’t on an international flight, John writes about California politics for CalWatchdog.com and CalNewsroom.com.

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