Key Concerns/Talking Points on S.B. 346

Posted: March 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

Key Concerns of Voters Who Oppose Senate Bill 346

1) SB 346 seeks to remove religious exemptions to vaccines. This is a clear violation of Constitutionally-protected religious freedom.

First Amendment to the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

North Carolina State Constitution, Section 13:

All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.

Furthermore, in the 1993 case Petersen v. Rogers, the NC Supreme Court upheld that “in the absence of evidence of present or future physical or mental harm to the child in question, parties…should not be placed in a position requiring them to explain or defend their religious beliefs.”

2) Eliminating the religious exemption is an attack on patients’ rights to informed consent. The American Medical Association supports informed consent, including informing the patient of any ingredients of the vaccine that might interfere with religious convictions. SB 346 seeks to remove the right to refuse vaccines on religious grounds based upon information obtained through informed consent.

3) Religious convictions can be neither quantified nor legislated. Senator Tarte has gone on record stating that he might consider allowing religious exemptions, if each person requesting an exemption can prove a bona fide religious conflict. Some representatives have even gone so as to ask constituents to cite Bible verses to back up their beliefs. That is a clear violation of religious freedom. An individual’s religious convictions are are not decided upon by the church denomination the person attends. Many people have spiritual beliefs but do not identify with a particular religion or religious sect. Even atheism is considered a religion. What reasonable standard could possibly be used to quantify an individual’s religious or spiritual convictions to determine whether or not it is “bona fide”?

4) Under SB 346, medical exemptions will only be granted if they meet The Commission for Public Health’s criteria. The problem with that is that The Commission for Public Health gets set forth the standards by which a medical exemption will be defined – which We the People have no control over. These individuals who comprise the Commission for Public Health are appointed and not voted in, giving voters no control over who is making these important medical decisions on their behalf.

5) The bill not only includes current required vaccines, but also would include mandatory adherence to any and all future vaccines that may be added to the CDC’s list of recommended vaccines. The bill seeks to enforce the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended panel of vaccines. It will include the flu shot, but more alarmingly, will include any and all future vaccines that may be added to the list. Per, over 300 vaccines are currently in the development stage. If SB 346 passes, parents will have no say whatsoever when a new vaccine is added to the list, they will simply have to comply without question – even if there is a strong religious objection or a concern with the sheer volume of vaccines being injected into their child – and regardless of whether or not the vaccines have been properly and sufficient tested for safety and efficacy.

6) There are serious conflicts of interest with the ACIP, who would preside over deciding which vaccines will be mandated id SB 346 becomes law. The ACIP is comprised of members of the vaccine community, who themselves have been granted immunity from their conflicts of interest. This compromises the integrity of the CDC’c entire system of vaccine regulations and recommendations.

7) SB 345 seeks to mandate newborn screening, such as SCID screening. Mandating this procedure removes any parental consent, and undermines the rights of individuals to decide for themselves what medical treatment and medical research and studies they will participate. The blood collected from newborn screening includes DNA of each child, and is banked and kept for years, often indefinitely, with no notification to the parents. Understandably, many parents have ethical concerns with this fact, and therefore should be allowed to opt out of such a procedure.

8) This bill includes not only public school children, but children in ALL schools both public and private – including homeschools. Sen. Tarte has gone one record stating that homeschools will be exempt from this law, however the current wording of the bill does not support that claim. Even if the bill is reworded to grant immunity to homeschoolers, not all people who have a religious conflict with vaccines have the means or the resources to homeschool. That is a socioeconomic discrimination and a violation of the North Carolina State Constitution, Section 15, that guarantees education to all. Moreover, refusing to allow these children into public school qualifies as religious discrimination, which violates the State Constitution, Section 19, which guarantees equal protection and rights under the law.

9) There is no need to change the current law in North Carolina that protects religious freedom when it comes to vaccines. The federal government’s goal is to immunize at least 90 percent of all children before they enter school to keep measles and other childhood diseases at bay. Per the CDC, North Carolina already enjoys a 97% vaccination rate – one of the highest in the country. There is no rational reason to infringe upon religious freedom to slightly increase the already impressively-high number.

10) The sponsors of this bill fail to meet the burden of proof. If the senators who authored this bill want to change the current law that allows for constitutionally protected religious exemptions of vaccines, then the burden of proof lies with them to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the religious community poses a significant threat to the general public. Beyond a media-driven frenzy of pro-vaccine propaganda, there is absolutely no proof that those who choose not to vaccinate for religious reasons pose any sort of danger to those around them. There are no major outbreaks, no pandemics, absolutely nothing to support the curtailment of religious freedom.

11) Senator Jeff Tarte, himself, has some very serious conflicts of interests with SB346. Sen. Tarte’s wife is a doctor; her name is Dr. Nancy Tarte, and she is a pediatrician in Davidson, NC. Many insurance plans offer financial incentives to doctors, pediatricians and primary care providers alike, for keeping patients up-to-date on vaccinations. It’s a clear conflict of interests for Sen. Tarte, of all people, to be pushing a bill that would mandate that all children be vaccinated with no room for religious exemptions when his wife would stand to make a profit from such a law.

Additionally, there is irrefutable evidence that Sen. Tarte has been financially influenced by Big Pharma. In his last campaign, 38% of the donations made and 48% of the total amount in donation money he received was from pharmaceutical companies, doctor’s offices and hospitals, who would all stand to make a profit if the bill passes.


There are too many issues with SB 346 for it to move forward. From the clear violation of constitutional rights to legitimate concerns of compromised interests, the bill simply cannot be allowed to be made into law. Our justice system has checks and balances in place to keep the government from overreaching into the lives of individuals. These checks and balances are also intended to keep greedy corporations, such as pharmaceutical companies, from influencing the government into abridging constitutionally-protected freedom for the sake of profit. When it comes to vaccinations, protecting personal beliefs exemptions is the only way to preserve the integrity of our checks-and-balances system.

  1. Stephen L. Stager says:

    This is a copy of the letter that I wrote to the three Senators who originally sponsored the Bill:


    Would it be right, in any case, in any situation, for you to personally walk next door and to jab a needle into your neighbor’s body against his or her will for any reason whatsoever? Would it be be right for your neighbor to receive any form of punishment — from your own hand– for refusing to allow you to do so? Then neither could it possibly be right for the force of government to do either of these to anyone.

    What I am seeing in your response to the vaccination issue can be viewed as literally an embodiment of the tendency to favor collective security over individual rights. Worse, and more dangerous, it also embodies the replacing of the idea that the ethical basis of authority for the utilization of force is ultimately found in nature, in natural law, in the individual (and by extension, in our own families) with the notion that what is determined by an elite subset of the population to be “good” for the largest number of people should be not only the law of the land, but the criterion of legitimate force.

    Opposing this, and opposing you in this case, is the idea that, as Frederic Bastiat put it in his essay, The Law: “Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two.” Your bill insists that the force of government reach to our person –even more so than it does under current law. Your bill would destroy our liberty, and in some rare cases –no less real for being so rare, actually destroy, rather than preserve, lives and health.

    Instead of subtracting from it, instead of detracting from it, instead of substituting something contrary to it, you should be calling attention to, you should be adding to, you should be participating in, the recognition, the resurrection, the reclamation and reaffirmation of individual liberty as the cornerstone of our society, as the ethic that lends meaning to each of our institutions, as the ingredient of human society –consonant with human needs and human necessities– which must be called forth and appropriated by individuals to oppose actions such as your own in this case.

    The words of an English political philosopher, William Godwin, can also be applied: “To conceive that compulsion and punishment are the proper means of reformation is the sentiment of a barbarian.” It would clearly be a barbarous act for you to personally walk next door and to jab a needle into your neighbor’s body against his or her will, or, for your neighbor to receive any form of punishment — from your own hand– for refusing to allow you to do so. That being the case, it is no less barbarous, no less anti-social, no less of an improper approach to the entire question to propose that the force of government do either of these actions on our behalf. That is why you should be instead introducing a bill giving North Carolinians the right, or rather, restoring their right, to make informed vaccine choices –a right that is abused by current law and which you propose to abuse further.

    Godwin also spoke of the alternative: “The proper method for hastening the decay of error is not by brute force, or by regulation which is one of the classes of force, to endeavor to reduce men to intellectual uniformity; but on the contrary by teaching every man to think for himself.” In this country, America, in this state, North Carolina, at this time, 2015, if we are to be free and not slaves, if we are to live out our motto, Esse Quam Videri, if we are “to be rather than to seem” free peoples, individuals each must be free to make their own decisions about vaccination in consultation with their doctors.

    The American Medical Association also opposes mandatory vaccination legislation.

    “Whenever government assumes to deliver us from the trouble of thinking for ourselves, the only consequences it produces are those of torpor and imbecility” –William Godwin

    “The saddest epitaph which can be carved in memory of a vanished liberty is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch forth a saving hand while yet there was time” — Justice George Sutherland, in his dissenting opinion on Associated Press v. National Labor Relations Board, 301 US 141 (1938).

    Respectfully submitted,
    Stephen L. Stager

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stephen L. Stager says:

    Have you seen this letter from an attorney on the subject? Maybe he will let you put this up on here?


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