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Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
Omnia pro aegroto

Contact:
Kathryn Serkes
202.333.3855
[email protected]

Nov. 13, 2002
For immediate release:

SMALLPOX PROVISIONS HIDDEN IN HOMELAND SECURITY BILL

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is urging Members of Congress to eliminate the section of the new Homeland Security Bill that would give the HHS Secretary virtually unlimited powers to declare an emergency and order smallpox treatment that could include forced immunizations and quarantines.

The 480-page bill, HR 5710 hits the floor of the House tonight, even though most Members haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Section 304, Subsection C is titled “Administration of counter measures against smallpox.”

It gives the Secretary of HHS these unchecked powers (pg. 76):

  • Declare an actual or POTENTIAL bio-terrorist or other kind of incident
  • He can administer “countermeasures” to a category of individuals or everyone
  • He can continually extend the declare the declaration without Congress’s consent

Also, if you are harmed, you cannot sue or take any other civil remedy.

“This section will give the Secretary unlimited power to define a real or potential threat, to take any measures he decides, and to do it for as long as he wants,” said Kathryn Serkes, AAPS spokeswoman. “It’s Alice in Wonderland time again – an emergency is just what he says it is.”

Serkes also points out that the section echoes the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act that most state legislatures defeated this past year. “Just remove ‘governor’ from the old bill and insert ‘Secretary’ and magically you have a federal bill that was firmly rejected by voters across the country,” said Serkes.

AAPS sent out thousands of email alerts urging voters to ask that the section be removed.

“Just what are the ‘counter measures’ allowed?” Forced immunizations? Quarantines? It’s not clear, but the powers seem virtually unchecked by any other agency,” said Serkes. “We need an honest accounting of how this will work. It’s too frightening to allow it to be rammed through.”

AAPS has repeatedly applauded the President’s movement toward an advance, voluntary immunization to head off forced vaccines following an attack. (Previous statement posted at www.aapsonline.org).

AAPS is a non-partisan professional association of physicians in all specialties dedicated since 1943 to the protection of the patient-physician relationship from third-party intrusion.

Other Links:

Contact your Member of Congress: www.house.gov/writerep

Contact the White House: [email protected]

Read the text of the subsection (1 page): Click Here

Read the text of entire bill: Click Here