Emergency health bill passing in many states Measure
grants government 'dictatorial powers' during crisis
Posted: July 25, 2002
1:00 a.m. Eastern
Jon Dougherty © 2002 WorldNetDaily.com
A federally generated "model" health bill critics say
gives governors absolute power in the event of a "health
emergency" is steadily progressing through the states, say
health and legislative monitoring organizations who are tracking
According to its most recent analysis, the American Legislative
Exchange Council – which has been tracking the bill's progress
– said most states have either passed or are considering
passing the "Model State Emergency Health Powers Act."
Sue Blevins, a spokeswoman with the Institute for Health
Freedom, agreed, noting that an analysis by her group found a
total of 19 states so far have approved some form of the
measure, which was developed by the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention and introduced to state leaders last year
following the Sept. 11 attacks.
Blevins said she wasn't sure how many states have rejected the
bill so far, but said she and other IHF analysts are looking
"We don't know for sure" how many states have failed
to pass the legislation, she said. "Because of the
language of the legislative activity in some states, it's not
clear if it was outright rejected or if the legislative session
ended before lawmakers could act."
James G. Hodge, Jr., of the Center for Law and the
Public's Health – a Johns Hopkins and Georgetown University
facility – said a few states like Kentucky, California and
Wyoming have outright rejected the bill this legislative
session, but said the center remains hopeful for its passage in
"There are so many states where our news tells us we didn't
actually pass [the bill] this time but we're going to
reintroduce it," said Hodge, noting that budget
negotiations or other issues tended to delay some legislatures
from taking the measure up.
"In those states … I don't consider it a rejection.
It's just a timing issue, really," he said.
The center also tracks the bill's progress and published an
updated version of its analysis on Tuesday. (Editor's
note: You must have an Adobe Acrobat reader to view the linked .pdf
Touted by supporters as an anti-terrorism tool, WorldNetDaily
reported in March that according to the bill's authors at the
CDC and The Center for Law and the Public's Health, it was
"prepared pursuant to Healthy People 2010, a Department of
Health and Human Services nationwide health-promotion
However, critics have blasted it as a means to allow governors
dictatorial rule simply by declaring a public-health emergency.
Under provisions of the model bill, state leaders would be
permitted to confiscate property, seize firearms, quarantine
entire cities, and vaccinate citizens – even against their
will. Critics also contend governors already have enough
power to assume authority in the event of an emergency.
Blevins said another questionable provision in the model
legislation removes public and private sector workers from any
liability for administering vaccines ordered by government
officials to treat the population in the event of a disease
She said that's important because a few public interest health
groups have demonstrated that some vaccines can be harmful or
lethal to large sectors of the population – including smallpox
vaccines, which the federal government is said to be developing
as a hedge against a potential future terrorist bio-attack.
But under the legislation, said Blevins, not only can governors
order citizens to receive these oft-dangerous vaccines, but
everyone involved will be protected from liability – even if
they know it's dangerous.
One public health organization that is trying to warn the public
about dangerous vaccines is the National Vaccine Information
Center. Headed by Barbara Loe Fisher, the group said in a
statement last month that it endorses a June decision "by
the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) [in] advising against
releasing vaccinia (smallpox) virus vaccine for mass use by the
NVIC officials attended CDC-sponsored information sessions held
this spring in Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, San Antonio and
St. Louis. And in each location, NVIC officials
said, the CDC never once demonstrated an urgent need to
vaccinate the American public.
"In all of the meetings to discuss smallpox vaccination
options, there was no credible evidence presented to suggest
that the smallpox virus was going to be intentionally released
or could be successfully used by terrorists as a bioterrorism
weapon," said Fisher's June 24 statement.
"In fact, CDC experts continued to insist the theoretical
probability of the eradicated virus being intentionally released
was 'very low,'" she continued. "And yet, plans
are now going forward to intentionally release the very reactive
live vaccinia virus into our population by exposing at least
20,000 health care workers and their close contacts to the very
real risks of injury and death from the most reactive vaccine
humans have ever used."
Fisher said her group agrees with the government's decision to
stockpile smallpox vaccine for emergencies, but added: "We
are not in an emergency situation."
Emergency powers bill gaining momentum Bill would give governors
Some may refuse smallpox shots
Jon E. Dougherty is a staff reporter and columnist for
WorldNetDaily, and author of the special report, "Election
2000: How the Military Vote Was Suppressed."
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