By Jefferey Jaxen

We live in a nation where the fight for full spectrum equality has become sacrosanct. Where religious freedoms are enshrined at the forefront of our country’s founding documents. There’s just one caveat – if you’re looking for those protections when choosing the personal medical decisions for you or your family, you may soon be out of luck. 

Currently, there are 45 states and Washington D.C. that grant religious exemptions for people who have religious objections to immunizations.

Connecticut has become the most recent in a short list of states who are now working to axe those religious exemptions to vaccinations for the state’s children. After being introduced mere days ago, HB 6423 has been rushed to a hearing in the Joint Committee on Public Health this Tuesday. Why the rush? 

The bill also sets up a board of bureaucratic overseers to ‘reimagine’ medical exemptions. In states like California who followed the same playbook, the newly created government entity works to eventually set limits on medical exemptions while finding and initiating investigations into the doctors who write more exemptions than the government likes. The end result rapidly reduces the once-sacred doctor-patient relationship into a vestigial affair once governed by the Hippocratic Oath. 

Connecticut also introduced SB 568 in January aiming to eliminate the religious belief exemption in Connecticut’s state law for public or private schools from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, for individuals in higher education and for children in day care settings. It too is scheduled to heard this Tuesday in the Joint Committee on Public Health hearing. 

The bills make no mention of Covid-19 or the public health crisis America finds itself in at the moment. So why the rush?  

In 2019, a measles outbreak provided the excuse for a tidal wave of well-over 100 new bills to flood 35 states in the U.S. threatening to either limit or completely eradicate vaccine exemptions. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. 

Currently, there is no measles outbreaks – or outbreaks of any vaccine-preventable disease at all. In fact, the medical community has even admitted humanity’s seasonal nemesis, the flu, has for the first time miraculously disappeared. 

So, why the rush Connecticut?  

During the legislative push of 2019 to supposedly counter the measles outbreak, logic quickly failed and gave way to what many saw to be a deeper aim unfolding. Rather than encourage or legislate its citizens to receive the measles (mumps and rubella) vaccine, which would be the medical establishment’s answer to such an outbreak, state officials’ reactions were grossly disproportionate. 

Bills mandating full vaccine schedules of 54 doses were being (or attempted to be) enacted. Every barrier to all vaccines was also systemically targeted; the religious, moral, parental and medical rights all became up to be voted on for removal. 

Simultaneously, a wave of censorship swept across America seeing everything from opposing voices to casual open debate surrounding the bills or their ideology, increasing silenced. Parents and families bore the brunt of corporate media’s efforts to neutralize the discussion with Big Tech as its technological action arm and many U.S. officials its faithful cheerleaders.  

The out of proportion legislative response combined with open, heavy-handed censorship efforts by Big Tech made the nation uneasy at what was being attempted.

Then Covid hit America’s shores and several aspects of the legislative focus took a backseat to more pressing matters at hand. Yet it appears certain Connecticut officials didn’t get the memo. Attempting to use the same measles-hyped playbook from 2019, they failed to understand there is no longer a measles outbreak, or media cover, to rush though their bills. 

As the country reels from our Covid response, the myopic approach of Connecticut’s bill sponsors and supporters to rush their new bills has created more questions about their intent than they purport to solve by the words written in their legislation.  

Where previous states like New Jersey saw tens of thousands show up in sustained protest at their capital when their religious exemptions to vaccination were threatened, Connecticut citizens will be denied their preferred form of representation. 

Connecticut’s Joint Committee on Public Health will be an entirely virtual testimony, on YouTube and Zoom, limited to only 24 hours. With now over 1,000 people signed up to testify, a large fraction of those will be naturally silenced by such circumstances. 

To infringe upon fundamental rights, governmental must have a compelling reason. In the case of Connecticut’s bills, religion (a Constitutional right) and education (a Connecticut Constitutional right) are being cast aside. Is there a compelling reason to rush such actions? Are these legislative ‘solutions’ the least restrictive means to achieve the ends the government thinks is right?  

Despite the failed optics of rushing through vaccine bills in the absence of any justifiably public health need, it’s assumed the authors of both Connecticut bills do have a yearning to increase confidence in vaccines and decrease the specter of hesitancy. To this end, they are in luck. 

Another proposed bill drafted under the roof of their very state house by fellow member of their own government aims to address the topic. Also drafted in January, HB 5410 proposes to amend the state’s general statutes for the stated purpose of “reducing vaccine hesitancy and increasing immunization rates by including minimal statutory assurances regarding vaccine safety.”

In short, to ensure the safety of its citizens by assuring, through legislative means and oversight, a safe vaccine program. Citizens of Connecticut are now faced with a big question with regards to the future of their relationship with injectable medical products: Does it make sense to add more checks and balances when ensuring safety upon a pharmaceutical industry exempt from the natural market forces of product liability? Or is a better approach to strip away fundamental rights of religion and education while setting a precedent for future erosions?  

CLICK HERE to register to testify via Zoom.  Registration will close on Monday, February 15, 2021 at 3:00 PM

You can also submit testimony to this email address: [email protected]

Jefferey Jaxen

Jefferey Jaxen is a health journalist and featured in his weekly segment, ’The Jaxen Report’, on The HighWire. As an investigative journalist, researcher, and compelling writer, Jefferey serves as Lead editor of The HighWire News and Opinion Team.