In my past posts lamenting our lack of rights in this country to deny vaccines we believe to be harmful (for us or our children), some of us have said how much we'd love to have a vaccine rights attorney on our side, helping us to fight the fight. Well he has found us! Attorney Alan Phillips commented on one of these posts and then agreed to answer some questions for us…
First, though, did you see these previous posts?
- How we came to our personal vaccination choices: Part 1: Vaccination safety issues and the 7 factors that led to our decisions. Part 2: Our 5-part plan for vaccinations and how do school exemptions work?
- Healthcare workers: how to refuse mandatory vaccines and not get fired. Still more posts on mandatory flu vaccinations. And another: 150 Employees Fired for Not Getting the Flu Shot. See all my flu shot related posts.
- Read about a chat I had with the nurse at our doctor’s office (about “mandatory” vaccinations). And here’s the follow-up story to that post. And one last update to the story with info on the school getting in on this, too, and what my doctor said when we sat down to discuss everything.
- More like these! (You'll first have to scroll past these ones, but then there are tons more.)
And you may want to check out this DVD: Vaccines: The Risks, The Benefits, The Choices
Q & A with Alan Phillips, vaccine rights lawyer:
>>>When my first child was born, a friend said another friend's child had been permanently disabled by a vaccine, so I might want to look into it before vaccinating my own child. I was stunned–had never heard of that. I began researching and never looked back. I was moved to go to law school, after being out of school 17 years, by this issue. I'm now the only attorney in the U.S. whose practice is focused on vaccine rights issues–exemptions, waivers, and legislative activism.
2. What are some of the more memorable cases you've worked on?
>>>I work with clients and attorneys around the U.S. in a consulting practice that involves over a dozen different vaccine exemption and waiver contexts–schools (public, private, military, college, college healthcare that require clinical work in local hospitals), military (members, families, civilian contractors), immigration (includes foreign adoptions), employment (concerns fed civil rights law–most state exemption laws apply only to students), vaccine custody disputes (where parents separate or divorce and disagree about vaxing the kids), foreign travel–each of these areas concern or involve different law, and laws vary from state to state with state law exemption and waiver matters. Most of my clients are successful, and that's most memorable, of course.
But the insight I've gotten into the medical, legal and political worlds has been most disturbing.
While I have great faith in humanity generally, there is extensive corruption in each of these arenas where health (among other areas) is concerned, and with vaccines in particular. E.g., state legislatures have been passing unconstitutional laws restricting access to exemptions and actually granting consent authority to children for vaccines (the latter is just plain bizarre); hospitals around the U.S. are requiring employees who don't want flu shots to get them to get or keep their jobs (it's disconcerting to see healthcare policy dictated to healthcare professionals against their will instead of being guided by their professional expertise!), most states have laws that remove routine vaccine exemptions if the state declares an emergency, doctors are increasingly refusing to treat any unvaccinated children regardless of the reason (violates parents' Constitutional rights in many cases), etc.
3. What do you see is the biggest obstacle in retaining and/or regaining parental rights to deny vaccines and/or an employee's rights to deny mandatory workplace vaccines?
>>>Vaccine policy is driven by a corrupt industry that controls the system. E.g., pharmaceutical companies get billions of criminal and civil fines every year, increasingly in recent years. Glaxo: $1 billion *criminal* fine in 2012; Pfiser: $1 billion *criminal* fine in 2009 (4th time they were caught since 2002 doing the same criminal behavior); criminal (and civil) fines in the $100's of millions are common. This is an industry that routinely engages in criminal behavior (but no one ever goes to jail, and it's profitable to do it, so they keep doing it). A lot of this is verifiable at the Justice Department's website. Anyway, this industry “partners” with government to control policy, lobbies for more vaccines and fewer exemption rights (with disturbing effectiveness), “buys” or otherwise persuades state and federal legislatures.
Look: The federal government subsidizes vaccines research and development ($billions/year); has passed laws making vax manufacturers immune from liability; state and federal governments mandate vaccines (increasingly for more and more people, and more and more vaccines for each person); and the Federal government compensates vaccine victims and their families. It's the ultimate dream to maximize profit a business could ever hope for, except that people are unnecessarily disabled and killed in the process. There are other means of addressing infectious disease concerns that work better, cost profoundly less, and don't injure and kill people.
Vaccine policy is not about health, it's about profit, and possibly population control.
In any event, vaccines introduce widespread chronic disease into the population, which produces a huge market for more pharmaceutical drugs. Pharmaceutical drugs focus on managing symptoms; if they actually healed, they'd be cutting off a market. Most of us wouldn't make decisions like this, but there are people who would and do, and some of them run pharmaceutical companies and occupy important decision-making positions in state and federal government.
4. Is there a way that groups, such as health care workers for example, could band together, with you at the helm, to fight the growing push toward mandatory workplace vaccines?
>>>I'm not sure that the “helm” is the place for me, but I have worked closely with legislative activists around the U.S. and am available to continue doing so as long as the system remains corrupt and I'm still breathing. While being informed is a critical first step, that alone does nothing. We have to organize and become legislatively active to oppose laws furthering the destructive pro-vaccine agenda while supporting freedom of choice. This is not a decision we have the luxury of taking lightly. Laws are changing as we speak; our rights are going away; and the industry and government have plans to vaccinate *all* of us.
If you're not confronted with a vaccine requirement right at this moment, you will be!
So, it's better to become active now to prevent ever being in that situation in the first place if at all possible. However, many of us are already in that situation. So, it's critical to learn what your rights are right now, so you can exercise them effectively; and then become legislatively active so you can expand your right to choose, and prevent that right from being taken away as is happening all over the country.
A healthcare worker client of mine reported that the system she worked for received over 1,000 exemptions, and the system allowed *4*.
This, and any other exemption situation where you have to state religious beliefs opposed to vaccines, are difficult arenas to manage on your own. On the one hand, anyone who is not an atheist can potentially qualify for a religious exemption (in the employment context, there's even a narrow category of beliefs one could hold as an atheist that are protected ‘religious' beliefs!), when it comes to writing a statement of beliefs, most people who do that on their own wander into one or more “legal pitfalls” that can cost them the exemption. The law in this area is just not consistent with most people's common sense approach. In the employment arena, a further complication is that the vast majority of hospitals (in my experience with over 150 healthcare workers in 26 states just this past fall and early winter) implement unlawful exemption policies that are overly restrictive–they reject qualifying exemption requests. So, having an attorney's help can be critical.
5. What can the average person do to FIGHT back on the invasion of their rights like this?
>>>To repeat, become legislatively active. If you also take steps to learn more about your rights, you'll understand better where we are right now, and what needs to change to fix that. With humble but great respect, anti-vaccine websites are not a good place for exemption advice. They mean well but they don't understand the law, and often have a mixture of accurate and inaccurate information, or make recommendations that can backfire. Some people have lost exemption rights by relying on them. So, get your information from an authoritative source–the state or local health department, your state's statutes and regulations from the web or your local library, or a knowledgeable attorney. My site has lots of free information, an e-book that goes into depth, and I'm willing to help individuals or groups with vaccine rights issues. Most of what I do is volunteer–radio shows, articles, and legislative activism.
A complete explanation of all of the important points would take many hours to document, and the issue is constantly evolving, so “complete” is constantly growing.
Meanwhile, I co-host 2 weekly radio shows and am a regular guest on two others, and am an intermittent guest from time to time on still others. Anyone can call in with questions, or email me and have their questions answered on the air (if I can get to it!):
1. The Know Your Rights Hour, Monday nights, 9 pm ET: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/
2. Vaccines and Your Rights in the U.S., Thursdays at 1pm ET: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/
Also: Here is documentation of my assertions in my articles: http://www.vaccinerights.com/
Here's Alan's book: The Authoritative Guide to Vaccine Legal Exemptions.
6. One confirmation/clarifying question: How SPECIFICALLY should someone get involved with changing the laws?!!! Or is that something that is only known on a case by case basis, depending on the specific issue?
>>>The National Vaccine Information Center's Advocacy Portal is a website dedicated to vaccine legislative awareness and activism. I *highly* recommend that people go to that site and join: www.nvicadvocacy.org. It's free, enables participants to easily monitor vaccine legislation (pending bills) in their state and around the U.S. (it's an eye-opening experience to see the trends–pharmacists to give vaccines, children being allowed to consent to vaccines, more vaccines being required, etc.), and makes it very easy for people to participate in the legislative process, tells you who your representatives are and how to contact them, and lets you know when that's needed. It's a work in progress, but a brilliant project.
Beyond that, if someone wants to initiate a piece of legislation, they need to put together a concise, well documented/supported written concern, and then make an appointment with their representatives to sit down face-to-face to request their help (letters and emails get lost in the shuffle in my experience). There are people, including me, who can also provide support along the way. But at minimum, we should all be on the Portal so we know when there's a bill to support or object to in our state.
Alan, we are very grateful to you for your help, thank you!!!
If you have any questions, he said he'd try to answer in the comments, or also be sure to visit the links above.