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Public Health Committee Advances Religious Exemption Bills

Posted on April 2, 2021


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State Representative Anne Dauphinais Votes No
as Legislation Moves to the House and Senate

 

HARTFORD- On Wednesday, the Public Health Committee voted to send two identical pieces of legislation to the House and Senate which would eliminate the religious exemption for vaccinations for school-aged children, college students and children in daycare; arguably one of the most controversial issues ever in front of the legislature.

SB-568: An Act Eliminating The Nonmedical Exemption To The Immunization Requirements and HB-6423: An Act Concerning Immunizationspassed through committee after hours of debate by legislators on both sides of the issue. In February, almost 2,000 Connecticut residents signed up to testify on these bills during a virtual public hearing, which was capped at t­­wenty-four hours, leaving more than 1,700 people without the chance to directly engage with members of the committee. State Representative Anne Dauphinais (R-44), a vocal supporter of religious and medical freedom, voted no on both bills.

“The ability to make medical decisions for our families is under attack. For the government to make these impactful decisions for children, instead of their parents, is irresponsible. During this session, there have been hundreds of bills to redress various forms of discrimination, but the Democrats on the Public Health Committee voted to enact de-facto religious discrimination in public and private schooling for thousands of residents,” Rep. Dauphinais said. “While some states are looking to expand vaccine choice, Connecticut Democrats are determined to take it away. Vaccination mandates for public school and religious exemptions have co-existed in Connecticut for 62 years and can continue to safely co-exist.”

If passed as currently written, the religious exemption would be immediately removed for children from kindergarten to sixth grade in public and private schools, including preschool and daycares. Students currently enrolled in grades seven through twelve, with an existing religious exemption on file, would be excluded from the repeal and remain in school. New college students would be unable to use the exemption upon enrollment.

“Vaccines are the only products in this country in which the manufacturer or pharmaceutical company has no liability for injury or death.  To date, individuals have been paid out almost 5 billion dollars in vaccine injury and death settlements through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Democrats claim there is a public health emergency in this state which requires removing a religious freedom. However, Connecticut is one of the few states that has an emergency outbreak protocol already in place in the event of an infectious disease outbreak in schools. This protocol has never been implemented for a vaccine targeted illness. If passed, this government overreach could cause as many as 30,000 students to be unenrolled from school, which is especially egregious after more than a year of educational and social disruptions caused by COVID-19.  Over and over again, we have heard from nurses and others that the data cited in support of these bills are flawed. Unfortunately, despite the Democrat’s claims, there was no testimony supporting the notion that unvaccinated, healthy children are a risk to anyone. Before we look to the heavy hand of the government to restrict a Constitutionally protected religious freedom, we should be looking to collect accurate and reliable factual data,” Rep. Dauphinais added.

State Representative Anne Dauphinais represents Connecticut’s 44th Assembly District, including the towns of Killingly and Plainfield.