Dear Weston A. Price Member:
Parents in NY State who choose to opt out of mandatory vaccines for their children, are being subjected to intrusive “sincerity tests” of their religious beliefs. In the State of NY, a religious exemption is the only way to opt out of vaccines you don’t deem necessary or safe for your child, unless you qualify for a medical exemption, which is nearly impossible to receive, due to pressure on doctors. To address this unconstitutional practice, a new bill is about to be presented to the floor of the NY State Assembly. It’s presentation to lawmakers is generally accompanied by “Memorandums of Support” (bill memos) from concerned citizens and groups. The impact that these bill memos have is enormous, as all assemblypersons are provided copies of all bill memos when they receive their bill packets, prior to the bill’s presentation on the Assembly floor. Please join the parents of NY in support of legislation to end this abusive scrutiny of conscience.
The following link offers some basic background information on this important issue:
You Tube Video of Aggressive Interrogation of Parents-A Must See!
Kimberly Hartke, WAPF Publicists’ Blog Post on the Issue:
ACTION TO TAKE
We need for you to send in a bill memo. Below are samples of bill memos from organizations and individuals, to guide you as to format. SHORT IS OK. THE NEW BILL NUMBER for the religious exemption bill is A.883
– If you are an individual:
You must write to your representative asking for his/her support and vote for the bill when it comes to the floor of the Assembly. State why you think the bill is important, including whether you have been subjected to sincerity testing yourself, or other relevant experience or information. It is best to keep in mind this bill’s goals. You must also write to Richard N. Gottfried, Chair, NYS Assembly Committee on Health, gottfrr (at) assembly.state.ny.us ; the Speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, speaker (at) assembly.state.ny.us
or you can make them a “cc.” You can find your representative at http://nymap.elections.state.ny.us/nysboe/ or
– If you are an organization that is NATIONAL, then write a memo and urge your NY affiliate, if you have one, to write a memo, or put both your names on it. In fact, a memo can have more than one organization’s name on it, if that is helpful to save time (but may be more work).
– If you are an out-of-state organization with national readers (like PROVE), urge your NEW YORK STATE MEMBERS OR READERS to follow instructions for “individual.”
There is no reason to have people from out of state write, unless the person is a leader of a national organization or a well-known organization.
– If you are an MD, do all. IF YOU ARE AN M.D. WITH a professional affiliation that would support either or both bills, get those memos done from your organization if possible, otherwise, from yourself. The memos must be sent to the office of: (Richard N. Gottfried, Chair, NYS Assembly Committee on Health), gottfrr (at) assembly.state.ny.us; the Assembly Majority Leader,
Ron Canestrari, canestr (at) assembly.state.ny.us ; the Speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, speaker (at) assembly.state.ny.us ; and to your representative, who you can find at http://nymap.elections.state.ny.us/nysboe/ or
People who do not have email can send the letters addressed to the appropriate legislator, at Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY 12248. Letters may also be faxed.
Please post this information as widely as you can.
Sample Memo of Support
Here is an example of an individual Memo of Support for you to send to the above elected officials:
January 26, 2009
MEMORANDUM OF SUPPORT
School Vaccination Religious Exemption
A.883 (Gottfried, et. Al)
We would like to express our enthusiastic support for the above referenced bills.
We applaud Assemblyman Gottfried’s initiative and responsiveness. It is past time that New York ended the widespread practice of sincerity testing of parents who claim religious exemption to vaccine requirements. Such actions represent a clear violation of 1st Amendment rights and as such, are clearly out of step with the state’s real mandate, which is to protect the health of children. Defending against such action is incredibly costly, leaving all but the most financially secure families in a catch 22 (pay for a lawyer against a school system with unlimited resources or pay for private school). It is such tactics that have spurred 19 states to pass philosophical exemptions in order to protect families from such shameful bullying. Sadly, New York is not yet among them.
We look forward to the Assembly’s passage of this bill and hope that these improved protections of the constitutionally guaranteed right to religious freedom will free parents from this appalling struggle. If New York is really committed to protecting the health of its children, then Commissioner Daines should refocus his efforts toward supporting local, sustainable agriculture, farm to school lunch programs and the institution of a statewide Junk Food tax. Such measures will have a significantly more powerful impact on protecting the immune systems, and therefore the overall health, of New York’s children. The present philosophy of mandating vaccination is based on fear and inadequate clinical data and serves only to enrich pharmaceutical firms, who, thanks to legislation enacted by former President Bush, enjoy COMPLETE FEDERAL IMMUNITY from any and all litigation arising from reactions suffered by vaccine recipients. Please take this opportunity to show that New York’s government does not pander to such powerful special interests, but instead, responds to the real needs of the citizenry.
Organizations wishing to see a boilerplate version of a support memo may contact Deverell Pedersen, wapfrockland (at) gmail.com .