Sunday, November 16, 2008

Homeschooling and Vaccinations under the Obama administration

I guess this is the sort of question that everyone is asking these days. Yesterday I received a flyer in the mail advertising a seminar for estate planning professionals on how to advise their clients in light of the incoming administration. Of particular interest to my readers is how the Obama presidency will impact home schoolers and "mandatory" immunization programs. (If you have any input or links regarding midwifery, homebirth, or breastfeeding, please feel free to post in the comments; however, they tend to be state issues and I haven't heard any buzz about these topics).

Homeschooling - The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) recently sent out an e-lert on the subject of what to expect under an Obama administration. It states, "Despite HSLDA's efforts prior to the election to get an official statement from the Obama campaign regarding their position on homeschooling, we received no response." It goes on to mention the Democratic Party's support of the National Education Association (NEA) and public education in general, but asserts that the Federal government has no constitutional authority over home education. Of greater concern, perhaps, is the possibility that the United States under Obama will ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a move which HSLDA opposes.

The blogger at Obama States of America has done quite a bit of research. Rational Jenn critiques the HSLDA position. And then there are Homeschoolers for Obama ("because there is no such thing as 'the homeschool vote'").

Vaccinations - Before the election, Autism activist Becky Estepp contacted the Obama and McCain campaigns regarding the candidates' positions on the issue of vaccine safety. The McCain campaign responded with a statement that "John McCain believes in the right for individuals and in the case of children, parents, to make informed health care decisions, and does not support pre-empting these prerogatives." Obama, however, responded only with a general letter about autism which did not address the issue of vaccine safety or parental choice. However, according to New Jersey mom Claudine Liss who asked Obama point-blank about his stance, Obama replied, "I am not for selective vaccination. I believe it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio." More details are available from Age of Autism (McCain Addresses Vaccine Safety, Obama Silent, McCain Senior Policy Advisor Responds To Autism Questionnaire, and McCain or Obama: Who Will Reform Vaccine Safety?); Inside Autism (The autism election and McCain supports vaccine choice) and the Oct. 23, 2008 press release.

While the issue of mandatory immunizations and exemptions are currently a matter of state law, the federal government does have a role to play in funding vaccine safety research, enacting legislation exempting vaccine manufacturers from tort liability, the availability of military exemptions, and so forth. In addition, there are Constitutional issues involved in religious exemptions (the Equal Protection clause) and the reach of state vaccination requirements, for example to private schools which do not receive government funding, which could be decided by presidentially-appointed federal judges.

For my part, just because we have elected a president who does not appear to share my views on issues that I am passionate about (namely, the right of citizens to make healthcare and educational decisions on behalf of themselves and their children without government interference) does not mean that The End is upon us. Of course, we must be eternaly vigilant in guarding our precious rights and liberties. Fortunately - in this case at least - government is a slow-moving beast, and I have come to the conclusion that one man cannot screw things up so bad that we cannot get it fixed four or even two years from now.


Michelle said...

Both of these issues are near and dear to me, I will be watching to see if you find more information as the new Presidency rolls out.

I am a homeschooled (with some public and private thrown in), now homeschooling mom... and DIL to my dear-departed FIL who had Guillain-Barre syndrome following a flu shot.

Amy Philo said...

Obama is all over the concept of mandatory drugging, so why not mandatory vaccination too? As it relates to midwifery, he is a cosponsor of The MOTHERS Act which would mandate that all prenatal and postnatal caregivers perform psychiatric screenings on pregnant and new moms and refer those who are "at risk" based on the screening to psychiatrists, or in severe cases call the authorities to have these women driven to the hospital for forced treatment.

It's a tad bit ironic that it took a pediatrician warning Michelle Obama that her kids were getting a little heavy for her to stop buying them lunchables and fruit roll ups for their school lunches. A smart woman like her had to be told to do this by a doctor?

Amy Philo said...

This has some background info about Obama's plan to institute mandatory psych screening and treatment for many many people. It includes a plan to screen infants and toddlers in underprivileged homes to see what kind of label they can slap on them... Unbelievable.

Crimson Wife said...

Let's not forget that the Feds can use their fiscal clout to bully states into passing laws restricting personal freedoms. Just look at the 1984 law that required states wanting Federal highway money to raise the legal drinking age to 21.

Who's to say that Congress might not pass some law tying Federal reimbursement of states' Medicaid spending to them passing stricter laws about childhood vaccinations?

homeschool forms said...

excellent site good suggestion for Interested person.

What's In A Name? said...

We must determine what action we can take in order to prevent mandatory flu vaccinations of our children which are sure to be done in the fall of this year. The WHO (World Health Organization) ramping up the "H1N1" "crisis" to pandemic level even though we all know this is a farce sets the stage for these vaccinations. Many choose not to believe this. But these vaccinations have caused many problems; even deaths in the past. I personally believe these vaccinations will contain the virus itself. I don't believe any deadly virus has been detected and this has all been contrived. Under the Neuremberg Law we have the right to refuse these, but I have a feeling this won't help us a bit. We need a way to keep our children safe. Perhaps under religious protest and beliefs. Also, we do have the right to home quarantine (in case someone wants to haul us off). I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist but I am not. I do not trust this government. Any government that wants to do away with those who have private insurance with the ability to prolong life, believes in killing viable children through abortion and feels that euthanasia ia proper is dangerous. We are responsible for protecting ourselves as well as our children.

What's In A Name? said...

Here's something I found regarding mandatory vaccinations. Seems the government tried to pass a law stating that the federal government could "mandate" this and Congress smelled a rat and voted it down. Well, it was attached to a bill related to HOMELAND SECURITY
“Criminal government legislation.
The Model States Health Powers Act contained provisions to mandate compulsory vaccination. Property confiscation, incarceration in "quarantine" centers and the use of law enforcement to ensure compliance was all carefully detailed. This is reminiscent of the "concentration" camps employed by another twentieth century despot when he was redesigning the government of his country. This was to be essentially a state activity. However, many States failed to adopt this totalitarian monstrosity as being alien to our American sense of fitness. Many States tabled it, one State, Alabama, rejected it outright.

To many, it appeared to provide too much power to a government that is showing disturbing signs of being willing to kill large numbers of people any way that they can just so long as they can accomplish their hidden goals.

When it became clear that mandatory vaccination was dead at the State level, it was included in the most totalitarian piece of legislation ever attempted here in America. It was included in The Homeland Security Bill which recently passed and will soon be signed into law by the president. Even many that voted on this bill do not realize what it contains.

Many congressmen did not even read the final draft upon which they voted. This bill provides for "mandatory vaccination of the entire population at the discretion of the director of Homeland Security." All options for refusal of the vaccine have been deleted. Personal, religious and medical exemptions have been deleted; informed consent is no longer required. Refusal will lead to arrest, property confiscation and imprisonment. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services is already on record as saying "I have a vaccination with the name of every American on it."

This bill also authorizes "other medical interventions" as specified by the director of Homeland Security. One of the most outrageous clauses in this bill is known as the "vaccine injury indemnity clause." This clause holds the makers and distributors of vaccines harmless for any injury that they cause. The theory is that vaccination is a necessary response to terrorism and that any injury caused by the vaccine is an unavoidable collateral casualty.. This clause removes any redress at law. If, as will happen to many, you are injured by the vaccine you or your survivors cannot even sue for damages..

Prior to the passage of the Homeland Security bill, federal law required all suits against vaccine makers to go before a special court before any civil action could be brought in the State civil court system. This court is known as the "vaccine court." It was set up to help protect vaccine makers against la rge punitive awards provided by outraged jurors in the State courts. This court is presently facing over 1000 suits brought by parents of autistic children whose autism was caused by MMR vaccines.

On November 25, 2002 the Bush administration asked this court to order the evidence from hundreds of cases of autism by vaccine be kept from the public. The "special master", George Hastings, of this court has promised a "speedy" ruling on this request.

What's In A Name? said...

Vaccinations - Mandatory

If this request by the Bush administration is approved it will make it very difficult for the parents of these damaged children to obtain redress in the State civil courts. It is to be noted that the State civil courts were set up to handle precisely this sort of action..

Michael Hugo, a Boston lawyer, in commenting on this situation said: "We dealing with real injury to real children in a program that is funded by taxpayer dollars. It is unbelievable to me that the president of the United States, in the name of trying to help the drug industry, would put the interests of the drug industry over the interests of neurologically impaired sick children and their parents."

Dickerman: Let's take a hypothetical look at the anti-vaccination mindset. Imagine now that I live in Harlem for years, and am robbed multiple times, and every time I am I say, "It's the blacks." Now, most of my neighbors are black, it's not an entirely improbable thing that the people who are robbing me again and again are black, I'm probably saying that because I'm a racist, but you can't really be sure and I'm not necessarily wrong. So then I move to Greenpoint. And in Greenpoint, I am repeatedly robbed, day after day and every time I am, I say, "it's the Polish." Once again, most of my neighbors are Polish, so it's not entirely unreasonable to assume that when I am getting robbed multiple times every week, it's the Polish people around me that are doing it. So I move to Washington Heights, where I am robbed repeatedly and of course whenever I am, I tell people, "It's the Dominicans." But a pattern is starting to emerge and my friends point it out to me, and so I tell them "It's the minorities." And so eventually, when I move to Riverdale, surround myself with Orthodox Jews, and am repeatedly robbed day in and out, I tell people "It's the minorities." And it makes sense to me. And by sticking to these guns, I get to ignore the facts that my roommate is a crack addict and that in all my time living in New York City, I've never learned that I should lock my door.