N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9
Tucson, AZ 85716-3450
Phone: (800) 635-1196
Hotline: (800) 419-4777
of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
Omnia pro aegroto
April 2, 2002
The Honorable Jeb Bush
PL 05 The Capitol, 400 South Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
FAX: (850) 487-0801
Dear Governor Bush:
AAPS is totally opposed to SB 1262, "an act relating to public health...," which has passed the legislature.
This bill gives the State Health Officer the sole, unbridled power to issue a public health advisory and "take any action appropriate to enforce any public health advisory," without oversight or accountability.
The declaration of emergency would continue until the State Health Officer terminates it, except that it cannot continue for longer than 60 days unless the Governor concurs.
The Legislature has abdicated its authority with respect to the alleged emergency altogether.
We have objected to the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act - which was drafted by the CDC and is being promoted by the Department of HHS, with promises of federal dollars, and groups such as the National Governors Association - because it could be used by a governor to seize dictatorial power. The American Legislative Exchange Council also opposes this Act.
The Florida legislation is even more frightening. It bypasses the ballot box altogether, giving life and death powers to an unelected bureaucrat.
The State Health Officer could use "any means necessary" to force vaccination or treatment on unwilling citizens, if "there is no practical method to quarantine" such individuals, and "if the individual poses a danger to the public health." The degree of force, the assessment of what is "practical," and the definition of "danger to public health" are all at the sole discretion of this Officer.
Although we like to believe that most public health officials are competent and reasonable persons, who are respectful of our civil rights, it is highly dangerous to entrust any human being with unlimited power.
There are a number of medical issues that this legislation fails to take into account.
Fallible human beings should not be imposing medical treatments on unwilling citizens at gunpoint, or with threats of taking children from their parents, or with other coercive measures - obliterating informed consent and due process of law. Medical consequences - as well as the consequences for the American system of government - could be disastrous.
- The only contagious disease that is a credible biological warfare threat-and for which a reasonably effective vaccine exists-is smallpox. (Anthrax is not very contagious from person to person.)
Yet this disease is not mentioned by name; public health officials could use this law to force any vaccine on people. In an outbreak of measles or whooping cough, with several dozen cases, is an unvaccinated child a "danger to public health"? This law could be used to invalidate all vaccine exemptions, including medical and religious ones, overriding all the checks and balances of representative government-legislative, executive, and judicial.
- There are many scientifically valid arguments against mass smallpox immunization campaigns. The vaccine is known to cause serious adverse effects, including death.
- The strain of smallpox chosen for a biological attack might be resistant to the vaccine. Inspectors visiting a Biopreparat facility in the former Soviet Union in 1991 were not allowed to don space suits and enter a bioweapons explosion test chamber because their smallpox vaccination might not have been protective. Thus, an entire population could be subjected to the dangers of mass vaccination while reaping no benefit at all.
- Public health officials are not omniscient. They were silent as the World Health Organization destroyed tens of millions of doses of smallpox vaccine in the 1990s for want of $25,000 per year to buy electricity for the storage freezers. They were in denial for decades about the intensive ongoing research on the weaponization of smallpox. While 100 tons of weaponized smallpox was being manufactured annually in the Soviet Union, they discontinued vaccination entirely, congratulating themselves on the eradication of this plague. "What was then considered a triumph has now become our problem," writes Anthony S. Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease in an article to be published in the April 25, 2002, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
- While herd immunity may be cited as the compelling reason for mass immunizations, it is achieved without vaccinating 100% of a population.
We ask you to veto this bill and demand that forced vaccination and treatment be removed from it. Moreover, no unelected official should be permitted to declare a public health emergency, nor should such a state of emergency continue without ratification by the state legislature as soon as it can be called into session.
Jane M. Orient, M.D.