New York Lawmakers Pushing To Vaccinate Children Without Parental Consent

Fact checked by The People's Voice Community

New York State lawmakers are weighing legislation that will allow children of any age to be vaccinated without parental consent in cases where parents object to immunization.

Assembly Bill A6761, introduced by New York Assemblymember Karine Reyes (D-Bronx), also would allow medical treatment including hospitalization and surgery without parental consent if the minor appears to have the “capacity to comprehend.”

According to Dr. Suzanna Burdick, who analyzed the legislation for The Defender, the measures would allow a practitioner to administer a vaccine to a child if “they have reason to believe that a person in parental relation to the child … objects to the immunization.”

Further, “A child who may give effective consent [to various medical interventions] … may give such consent to their own immunization, and the consent of no other person shall be necessary.”

Supporters of the legislation, including the American Civil Liberties Union of New York, claim the measure is about ensuring equal access to healthcare for everybody, including children whose parents are opposed to vaccinations.

However, critics of the bill, including John Gilmore, founder and executive director of Autism Action Network, have described the bill as incredibly dangerous and sets a precedent for handing over parental rights to the state.

“The bill’s biggest problem,” Gilmore told The Defender, “is that it allows any medical procedure to be done to children of any age without parental knowledge or consent. That’s the kicker.”

Assemblymember Karines Reyes, a registered nurse, introduced Assembly Bill A6761 which seeks to allow children to be vaccinated without parental consent
The bill has companion legislation in the Senate (S8352), introduced January 19 by state Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse). The bills share identical text.

According to Gilmore, there are many more problems with the bill. The active summary statement on the New York Assembly website declares it “allows homeless youth to give effective consent to certain medical, dental, health, and hospital services.”

But as Gilmore points out, that statement is “deliberately misleading” because the bill’s text applies to more than just “homeless” youth seeking “certain” services. In fact, it applies to all minors regardless of how young they are.

The bill states:

“Any person, including a minor, who comprehends the need for, the nature of, and the reasonably foreseeable risks and benefits involved in any contemplated medical, dental, health, and/or hospital services, and any alternatives thereto, may give effective consent to such services for themself, and the consent of no other person shall be necessary.”

Albany is lying about the bill, concludes the Autism Action Network.

Michael Kane, founder of Teachers For Choice in New York, agrees that the bill is duplicitous.

“It’s a complete lie to say the bill applies only to homeless children or runaways — and it’s a dangerous one,” Kane told The Defender. “It’s imperative that legislators understand what the bill really does,” Kane said.

It is also remains unclear how practitioners would assess a minor’s “capacity to comprehend.”

With New York lawmakers considering close to 10,000 bills, legislators may rely on a bill’s one-sentence summary — rather than reading its full text — for deciding how they vote, according to Gilmore.

Baxter Dmitry
About Baxter Dmitry 6088 Articles
Baxter Dmitry is a writer at The People's Voice. He covers politics, business and entertainment. Speaking truth to power since he learned to talk, Baxter has travelled in over 80 countries and won arguments in every single one. Live without fear.