Vaccine Advocates Accuse Anti-Vaxxers of Stalking Them

Vaccine Syringe (OakleyOriginals / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
OakleyOriginals / Flickr / CC / Cropped

A war of words has escalated between proponents and opponents of the highly contentious SB 277 bill in the California legislature, which would eliminate parental choice in vaccinations required to enroll children in public or private schools.

California Medical Association (CMA) CEO Dustin Corcoran wrote a letter to California Chiropractic Association (CCA) official Brian Stenzler accusing him of encouraging opponents of the bill to intimidate lobbyists for its passage. The letter describes alleged stalking, threats, fear of violence and “irresponsible rhetoric” targeting lobbyists for the bill.

Corcoran’s claims comments from Stenzler contained in 84 seconds of video, back up his assertion that Stenzler was encouraging the stalking of lobbyists according to the Sacramento Bee. The most problematic phrase, Corcoran reportedly wrote, was: “All day long–follow them to a T.”

CMA further escalated the conflict when a police report was filed claiming bill opponents were creating “online threats” and “threatening activity aimed at our employees,” the Bee reported. CMA says they have gone so far as locking doors during hearings and pairing up staff in transit.

Wednesday the CCA fired back with a letter of its own combatting claims made by Corcoran, pointing to concerted efforts on CCA’s behalf to discourage threats and negative advocacy tactics, “CCA has loudly and publicly denounced any inappropriate behavior, stressing in an April 29th press release that it “strongly condemns inappropriate actions, personal attacks or threats of any kind.””

Stenzler’s letter called out CMA for politicizing debate over the bill, describing the letter’s accusations of “criminal conduct” as, “a thinly-veiled attempt to undermine CCA’s democratic right to participate in the legislative process, a conclusion made all the more obvious by the fact that your letter was promptly leaked to the media and shared with legislative offices.”

The CCA letter went on to state their position on opposition to SB 277, “Yes, CCA opposes SB 277 on the merits, as it believes that the bill is unnecessary, overreaching, unconstitutional and a violation of the principles of informed consent and parental rights.”

CMA’s letter stated that they would take “all necessary action to protect our employees and representatives.”

“Rest assured, CCA will not be swayed by “bullying” tactics,” Stenzler wrote. “We will also strongly consider all legal remedies available to defend against further defamatory statements.”

Last weekend’s California Democratic Convention brought out opponents of SB 277 filling a large swatch of territory outside convention doors with signs and proclamations. A variety of perspectives for opposing the bill were offered, including those from the anti-vax movement, but many were parents who said that they do vaccinate, voiced concerns over parents rights and the narrow alternative of homeschooling or independent study should a parent choose to opt out of one or more required vaccinations. Some expressed the desire to opt their children out of just one or a few particular required vaccinations such as Hepatitis B.

Multiple new bills cropped up in the state legislature after the Disneyland measles outbreak began last December. SB 277 has been arguably the most hotly debated in the public eye. CDPH records indicate the strain came from outside the country.

SB 277 passed out of the Senate after much debate and has moved on to the State Assembly.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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