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Following is an excerpt from a keynote presentation given by Barbara Loe Fisher at the 2014 US Health Freedom Congress in Minneapolis, Minnesota. View the video of her full 75 minute presentation here or on NVIC.org. 

By Barbara Loe Fisher
Co-founder & President, National Vaccine Information Center

The public conversation about whether we should have the freedom to choose how we want to maintain our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health has become one of the most important public conversations of our time.

It is a conversation that challenges us to examine complex public policy, scientific, ethical, legal, philosophical, economic, political, and cultural issues.

This may appear to be a new conversation but it has been around for centuries.1 At the center of this new and old public conversation about health and freedom, is the topic of vaccination.2, 3

What unites those defending an open discussion about vaccination and health is a commitment to protecting bodily integrity4, 5and defending the inalienable right to self-determination,6 which has been globally acknowledged as a human right.7, 8, 9

Whether you are a health care professional practicing complementary and alternative medicine or specializing in homeopathic, naturopathic, chiropractic, acupuncture, or other holistic health options,10 or you are a consumer advocate working for the right to know and freedom to choose how you and your family will stay well, many of you have a deep concern about health and freedom.

Vaccination: Most Hotly Debated of All Health Freedom Issues

The most divisive and hotly debated of all health freedom issues is the question of whether individuals should be at liberty to dissent from established medical and government health policy and exercise freedom of thought, speech, and conscience when it comes to vaccination.11, 12, 13

In the health freedom movement, there are some who will defend the legal right to purchase and use nutritional supplements, drink raw milk, eat GMO-free food, remove fluoride from public water systems and mercury from dental amalgams, or choose non-medical model options for healing and staying well, but are reluctant to publicly support the legal right to make vaccine choices.

A Sacrosanct Status for Vaccination

Vaccination is a medical procedure that has been elevated to a sacrosanct status by those in control of the medical-model based health care system for the past two centuries. Vaccination is now being proclaimed as the most important scientific discovery and public health intervention in the history of medicine.14, 15, 16

Using religious symbols and crusading language, medical scientists describe vaccination as the Holy Grail.17, 18, 19, 20Vaccines, they say, are going to eradicate all causes of sickness and death from the earth and anyone who doubts that is an ignorant fool.21, 22, 23, 24, 25

In the 1970s, pediatrician and health freedom pioneer Robert Mendelsohn, who described himself as a medical heretic, warned that medical science has become a religion and doctors have turned the act of vaccination into “the new sacrament.”26

In the 21st century, if you refuse to believe that vaccination is a moral and civic duty and dare to question vaccine safety or advocate for the legal right to decline one or more government recommended vaccines.

You are in danger of being branded an anti-science heretic, a traitor, and a threat to the public health.27, 28 You are viewed as a person of interest who deserves to be humiliated, silenced, and punished for your dissent.29, 30, 31, 32

Exercising Freedom of Thought, Speech, and Autonomy

“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize,” said Voltaire,33, 34 the great 18th century writer during the Age of Enlightenment, who was imprisoned several times in the Bastille for defending freedom of thought and speech before the French Revolution.

As contentious as the public conversation about vaccination, health, and autonomy has become, we cannot be afraid to have it. There has never been a better time to challenge those ruling our health care with an iron fist. We have the power and all we need to do is exercise it.   

Information Is Power

We have the tools in the 21st century to bring about a modern Age of Enlightenment35 that will liberate the people so we can take back our freedom and our health.

The electronic communications revolution has provided a global platform for us to access the Library of Medicine36 and evaluate the quality and quantity of vaccine science used to make public health policy and create vaccine laws.

The World Wide Web allows us to circumvent the paid mainstream media dominated by industry and governments and publicly communicate in detail on our computers, tablets, and smart phones exactly what happened to our health or our child’s health after vaccination.37, 38, 39, 40

We are connected with each other in a way that we have never been before and it is time to talk about vaccines and microbes and the true causes of poor health.

It is time to face the fear that we and our children will get sick and die if we don’t believe and do what those we have allowed to rule our health care system with an iron fist tell us to believe and do.

Who Will Control the Multi-Trillion Dollar US Health Care System?

What is at stake in this debate between citizens challenging the status quo and those resisting constructive change is: who will control the multi-trillion dollar US health care system?41

If people have the right to know and freedom to choose how to heal and stay healthy, a free people may think independently and choose to spend their money on something different from what they have been carefully taught to spend their money on right now.42

A free people may reject sole reliance on the expensive and, some say, ineffective pharmaceutical-based medical model that has dominated US health care for two centuries.43, 44, 45

A free people may refuse to buy and eatGMO foods.46 A free people may walk away from doctors, who threaten and punish patients for refusing to obey orders to get an annual flu shot or decline to give their children every single government recommended vaccine on schedule – no exceptions and no questions asked.47

The most rational and compelling arguments for defending health freedom, including vaccine freedom of choice, are grounded in ethics, law, science, and economics. The human right to voluntary, informed consent to vaccination is the best example of why Americans must not wait any longer to stand up and defend without compromise the inalienable right to autonomy and protection of bodily integrity.

NVIC: Defending Ethical Principle of Informed Consent

I and the more than 100,000 followers and supporters48 of the non-profit charity, theNational Vaccine Information Center, take an informed consent position with regard to vaccination. Since our founding in 1982, we have defended the ethical principle of informed consent to vaccine risk-taking because vaccines are pharmaceutical products that carry a risk of injury, death, and failure.49

Because informed consent to medical risk taking is the central ethical principle guiding the ethical practice of medicine.50 We support the “first do no harm” precautionary approach to public policymaking, which focuses on how much harm can beprevented from a policy or law and not how much harm is acceptable.51

NVIC Supports Your Health Choices and Vaccine Exemptions

We do not advocate for or against use of vaccines. We support your human and legal right to make informed, voluntary health care decisions for yourself and your children and choose to use every government recommended vaccine, a few vaccines or no vaccines at all.52 NVIC has worked for more than 30 years to secure vaccine safety and informed consent provisions in public health policies and laws, including flexible medical, religious, and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions.  

We are doing this in an increasingly hostile environment created by an industry-government-medical trade alliance that is lobbying for laws to compel all Americans to use every government recommended without deviation from the official schedule or face a growing number of societal sanctions.53 Although historically, children have been the target for vaccine mandates, authoritarian implementation of federal vaccine policy is not just for children anymore, it is rapidly expanding to include all adults.54, 55

Californians Stood Up for Personal Belief Vaccine Exemption

In 2012, many California residents traveled to Sacramento to protest a law introduced by a pediatrician legislator to make it harder for parents to file a personal belief vaccine exemption for their children to attend school. They responded to Action Alerts we issued through the online NVIC Advocacy Portal and lined the halls of the state Capitol building, many with their children, and waited for hours and hours to testify at several public hearings.

Mother after mother and father after father, grandparents, nurses, doctors, and students of chiropractic, came to the public microphone. Some talked about how vaccine reactions left their children sick and disabled but they can’t find a doctor to write a medical exemption so their children can attend school; others talked about how their babies died after vaccination; and others simply opposed restriction of the legal right for parents to make medical decisions for their minor children.

It was a remarkable public witnessing by articulate, courageous citizens pleading with their elected representatives to do the right thing.

The right thing would have been for lawmakers to vote to leave the personal belief vaccine exemption alone so parents could continue to make vaccine decisions for their minor children without being forced to beg a hostile doctor or government official for permission to do that. That didn’t happen.56 Today, parents in California are forced to pay a pediatrician or other state-approved health worker to sign a personal belief vaccine exemption and the doctor can refuse to sign and parents are reporting many pediatricians ARE refusing to sign.

Californians Inspired Colorado Citizens to Stand Up in 2014

Yet, because in 2012 California citizens made a powerful public statement by participating in the democratic process and taking action with calls, letters, emails, and personal testimony, in 2014, Colorado citizens were inspired to do the same when the personal belief vaccine exemption was attacked in that state.

Because in 2012, enough people in California did not sit back and assume the job of defending health freedom would get done by someone else, in 2014, enough people in Colorado did not assume it would get done by someone else.57 And this time, we were able to hold the line and protect the personal belief vaccine exemption in that state from being eliminated or restricted.58

This time, there were enough lawmakers in Colorado, who listened and carefully considered the evidence.59 They did not cave in to pressure from drug industry, government, and medical trade lobbyists60,61, 62, 63 labeling a minority of citizens as “ignorant,” “selfish,” “crazy,” and in need of having their parental and civil rights taken away for defending the human right to self determination and informed consent to vaccine risk-taking.

The Right to Make a Risk Decision Belongs to You

I do not tell anyone what risks to take and never will. The right and responsibility for making a risk decision belongs to the person taking the risk. When you become informed and think rationally about a risk you or your child will take – and then follow your conscience – you own that decision. And when you own a decision, you can defend it. And once you can defend it, you will be ready to do whatever it takes to fight for your freedom to make it, no matter who tries to prevent you from doing that.

Read more at Mercola

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