April 18, 2012
By Alan Phillips, J.D.
“So New York thinks children are smart enough to make their own health decisions. If this is the case, why not let them eat ice cream for dinner?” –KTRN
New York’s A343 and S384, if enacted into law, will give children the right to consent to HPV and Hep B vaccines, without the knowledge and consent of their parents. Regardless of your position on vaccines, these bills set a disturbing precedent in violation of the U.S. Constitution. If you live in New York, take or send this Memorandum of Law to your state representatives, along with any other concerns you may have, to oppose these bills!
As a starting place, constituents are “one person with one vote.” If your position is one held by a minority, which is usually the case with vaccine freedom-of-choice advocates, legislative activism is an up-hill battle. But legislative activism involves the art of persuasion, since ultimately, legislatures can enact any law they have the votes for, Constitutional or not. So, if you can tell your representative, “I don’t like this bill” and why that can be persuasive, but if you can add to that, “and by the way, you can’t enact this bill into law because it’s unconstitutional,” you can substantially bolster your “one person, one vote” starting point. Furthermore, a loud minority can often influence legislation considerably, and a compelling legal argument can add considerable “volume” to your position. So, if this Memorandum represents your views, then given a copy to your NY rep today!
Meanwhile, here’s a summary of some of the legal and other problems with NY’s A343 and S384:
1. They are unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court has stated: “Most children, even in adolescence, simply are not able to make sound judgments concerning many decisions, including their need for medical care or treatment. Parents can and must make those judgments.” Giving medical decision-making authority to children violates parents’ 14th Amendment Constitutional due process right to parent their children. When the state takes parental decision-making away from parents, it is essentially saying that the parents are unfit to make those decisions. When the state gives that authority to children, it is saying that kids are fit to make decisions that the parents aren’t fit to make. Rather absurd, isn’t it?!
2. These NY bills violate parents’ First Amendment “free exercise” of religion. Parents, and not children, have the legal authority to exercise a vaccine religious exemption for their children under N.Y. Pub. Health Law § 2164(9). They also violate the NY State Constitution’s religious liberty section, which supports NY parents’ right to refuse vaccines for their children for religious reasons.
3. These bills violate the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which requires “each healthcare provider who administers a vaccine” to “provide to the legal representatives of any child” a copy of information “prior to the administration of the vaccine.” A child can’t consent to the administration of a vaccine without the parent’s knowledge and consent if the person administering the vaccine must first give the parent vaccine information. If healthcare providers administer a vaccine to a child without first giving the required information to parents, they are violating federal law, and in the process, probably violating state medical ethical rules at the same time (because of violating federal law), subjecting themselves to discipline by their state medical, nursing, or other relevant boards.
May 21, 2010
By Sam Gustin
Facebook, the giant social network now under fire over its privacy practices, has been sending personal information to online advertising companies without its users’ consent, according to a Harvard Business School professor who filed a letter of complaint with the Federal Trade Commission Thursday.
“Facebook has been telling its users one thing and then doing the opposite,” Ben Edelman, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, told DailyFinance Thursday. “Facebook never told anyone, anywhere, they were going to do this. It’s no longer about quality of disclosure, but about whether Facebook is telling the truth in the first place.”
November 2, 2009
By Paul Joseph Watson
When does yet another “mistake” become a flagrant official disregard for parental rights? Another three children have been injected with the swine flu vaccine against their parents’ wishes as schools institute mass inoculation programs with little concern about consent.
A girl in Brooklyn suffered an allergic reaction to the H1N1 shot after nurses injected her with the vaccine without the consent of her mother, Naomi Troy.
6-year-old Nikiyah Torres-Pierre takes medicine to control her epilepsy and for this reason her mother was waiting on doctors’ advice before signing the H1N1 consent form.
However, nurses administered the shot without even checking the girl’s name against a register of pupils who had received parental consent.
“My stomach was hurting, and I was itching,” Nikiyah said after she was released from the hospital,” reports the New York Post.
Officials at Public School 335 in Crown Heights then tried to get Troy to sign a consent form after the fact in a crude attempt to hide their culpability.
“I was insulted. I was really angry. ‘You just incriminated yourself even more,’” Troy recalled thinking.
September 16, 2009
By Audrey Hudson
The White House is collecting and storing comments and videos placed on its social-networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube without notifying or asking the consent of the site users, a failure that appears to run counter to President Obama’s promise of a transparent government and his pledge to protect privacy on the Internet.
Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the White House signaled that it would insist on open dealings with Internet users and, in fact, should feel obliged to disclose that it is collecting such information.
“The White House has not been adequately transparent, particularly on how it makes use of new social media techniques, such as this example,” he said.
Defenders of the White House actions said the Presidential Records Act requires that the administration gather the information and that it was justified in taking the additional step of asking a private contractor to “crawl and archive” all such material. Nicholas Shapiro, a White House spokesman, declined to say when the practice began or how much the new contract would cost.
Susan Cooper, a spokeswoman for National Archives and Records Administration, said the presidential records law applies to “social media” and to public comments “received by the president or immediate staff.”
Mr. Obama signed a memo in January stating that his efforts to maintain an open government would be “unprecedented” and “ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration.”
An Obama campaign document on technology pledged that, as president, Mr. Obama “will strengthen privacy protections for the digital age and will harness the power of technology to hold government and business accountable for violations of personal privacy.”
In a June 5, 2008, article in PC Magazine, Mr. Obama said, “The open information platforms of the 21st century can also tempt institutions to violate the privacy of citizens. We need sensible safeguards that protect privacy in this dynamic new world.”
The National Legal and Policy Center, a government ethics watchdog, said archiving the sites would have a “chilling effect” on Web site users who might wish to leave comments critical of the administration.
Ken Boehm, a lawyer and chairman of the center, also disputed that the presidential records law applies, because the comments are pasted onto a third-party Web page and not official correspondence with the president.
“If the White House has nothing to hide, why is this cloaked in secrecy? Why won’t they make the dollar amount this is going to cost public?” Mr. Boehm asked. “I don’t think there is an expectation that this is being captured by the government and saved.”
But Patrice McDermott, director of OpenTheGovernment.org, called the proposal “a positive development because it demonstrates a commitment from the Obama administration to meet its obligations under the Presidential Records Act.”
“Additionally, I am encouraged to see the administration recognizing that it must find a way to handle the ever-expanding amount of data generated electronically. I hope the rest of the executive branch will learn from the president’s leadership on this issue,” Ms. McDermott said.