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TALLAHASSEE, Florida, July 16, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning vaccine passports and empowering the state to override local emergency orders that infringe on personal liberty.
But a provision in Florida law allowing public health officers to “use any means necessary to vaccinate” anyone who “poses a danger to the public health” has raised eyebrows, and draws attention to countless laws on the books throughout the United States that grant sweeping authority to health officials during an emergency.
SB 2006, which was signed by Republican Gov. DeSantis in May and took effect July 1, places an explicit ban on requiring “vaccine passports,” e.g. a print or digital certificate used to show proof of vaccination in order to engage in business or participate in public activities.
The measure also prioritizes keeping businesses and schools open and forces emergency orders to be renewed at seven-day intervals with a mandatory expiration after 42 days.
While SB 2006 came as good news for those opposed to forcing citizens to show proof of vaccination to participate in normal life, some of the language in the law it amended has elicited alarm about the potential for mandatory vaccination in the state.
DeSantis’ ban on vaccine passports and clamp-down on health agency powers were effectuated via new language added to an existing Florida statute governing public health emergencies.
The “second engrossed” version of SB 2006 is the latest iteration of Florida statute Title XXIX, Public Health, Chapter 381, and contains a bevy of underlined additions and crossed-out deletions.
One of the provisions that was not eliminated from the existing Florida law states that “individuals who are unable or unwilling to be examined, tested, vaccinated, or treated for reasons of health, religion, or conscience may be subjected to quarantine … If there is no practical method to quarantine the individual, the State Health Officer may use any means necessary to vaccinate or treat the individual.”
People of goodwill can disagree about the safety, efficacy and religious implications of a new vaccine for the coronavirus.
But, everyone should agree on this point:
No government can force anyone who has reached legal adulthood to be vaccinated for the coronavirus. Equally, no government can vaccinate minors for the coronavirus against the will of their parents or guardians.
Please SIGN this urgent petition which urges policymakers at every level of government to reject calls for mandatory coronavirus vaccination.
Fear of a disease - which we know very little about, relative to other similar diseases - must not lead to knee-jerk reactions regarding public health, nor can it justify supporting the hidden agenda of governmental as well as non-governmental bodies that have apparent conflicts of interest in plans to restrict personal freedoms.
The so-called "public health experts" have gotten it wrong many times during the current crisis. We should not, therefore, allow their opinions to rush decision-makers into policies regarding vaccination.
And, while some people, like Bill Gates, may have a lot of money, his opinion and that of his NGO (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) - namely, that life will not return to normal till people are widely vaccinated - should not be permitted to influence policy decisions on a coronavirus vaccination program.
Finally, we must also not allow the rush by pharmaceutical companies to produce a new coronavirus vaccine to, itself, become an imperative for vaccination.
Unwitting citizens must not be used as guinea pigs for New World Order ideologues, or Big Pharma, in pursuit of a vaccine (and, profits) which may not even protect against future mutated strains of the coronavirus.
And it goes without saying that the production of vaccines using aborted babies for cell replication is a total non-starter, as the technique is gravely immoral.
However, if after sufficient study of the issue, a person who has reached the age of majority wishes to be vaccinated with a morally produced vaccine, along with his children, that is his business.
But we cannot and will not permit the government to make that decision for us.
Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this petition, urging policymakers at all levels of government to reject mandatory coronavirus vaccination.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Bill Gates: Life won’t go back to ‘normal’ until population 'widely vaccinated' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bill-gates-life-wont-go-back-to-normal-until-population-widely-vaccinated
COVID-19 scare leads to more digital surveillance, talk of mandatory vaccine 'tattoos' for kids' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/covid-19-scare-leads-to-more-digital-surveillance-talk-of-mandatory-vaccine-tattoos-for-kids
Trudeau says no return to ‘normal’ without vaccine: 'Could take 12 to 18 months' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/trudeau-says-no-return-to-normal-without-vaccine-could-take-12-to-18-months
Trudeau mulls making coronavirus vaccine mandatory for Canadians - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/trudeau-mulls-making-coronavirus-vaccine-mandatory-for-canadians
US bishop vows to ‘refuse’ COVID-19 vaccine if made from ‘aborted fetal tissue' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/us-bishop-vows-to-refuse-covid-19-vaccine-if-made-from-aborted-fetal-tissue
** While LifeSite opposes immorally-produced vaccines using aborted fetal cell lines, we do not have a position on any particular coronavirus vaccines produced without such moral problems. We realize many have general concerns about vaccines, but also recognize that millions of lives have been saved due to vaccines.
*** Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
The language has been a part of Florida law since 2002 during Jeb Bush’s governorship and thereby predates Gov. DeSantis, whose tough approach to lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccine passports have generated wide-scale support among conservatives.
DeSantis has been consistent in his opposition to many of the measures that were undertaken by other state leaders to “slow the spread” of the coronavirus.
In a press conference in March, DeSantis said, “There was never under discussion any mandates to take vaccines. We will not have COVID vaccines mandated in Florida … we are not going to have you provide proof of this just to be able to live your life normally.”
On May 3 after DeSantis signed SB 2006, he said in a press release, “[O]ver the last year we’ve avoided protracted lockdowns and school closures in Florida because I have refused to take the same approach as other lockdown governors.”
DeSantis added that his amendments “[ensure] that legal safeguards are in place so that local governments cannot arbitrarily close our schools or businesses.“
“In Florida,” he continued, “your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision.”
The updated law now sharply curbs existing powers held by health officials, explicitly banning businesses or government entities from requiring Floridians to provide proof of vaccination and giving the governor greater leverage to limit, cancel, and reverse emergency declarations.
According to the press release, the newly revised law “allows the governor of Florida to invalidate a local emergency order if it unnecessarily restricts individual rights or liberties.”
Under this new language, although a State Health Officer retains authority to declare a health emergency and, under the law, to use “any means necessary” to quarantine, vaccinate, or otherwise treat citizens considered to be at risk, the governor would be empowered to shut down the emergency order if it infringed on the personal rights or liberties of state residents.
Though the broad powers afforded to health officials in Florida’s long-standing public health statute have caused concern, Florida is not unique in having such a provision.
After a 1905 Supreme Court ruling that decided that mandatory vaccination does not violate the 14th amendment, all 50 states have adopted mandatory vaccination programs for schoolchildren – and usually college students, too – although most states allow for exemptions.
With the passage of SB 277 in 2015, California became one of three U.S. states at the time to eliminate the conscience exemption, requiring vaccination with virtually no allowable exemptions.
American state statutes are replete with public health provisions that permit officials to use broad powers to contain or suppress contagious diseases and other health emergencies, often with vague or nonexistent limits.
However, DeSantis has not been alone in pushing back against the restrictive measures imposed last year to combat the novel coronavirus.
According to a May report from the Network for Public Health Law (NPHL) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), legislatures in at least 15 American states have passed or are currently considering measures to constrain public health agencies’ authority in the wake of the agencies’ unprecedented use of power during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Michigan, Republican state senators this week approved the repeal of the Michigan law used by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to lock down her state last year. Since the repeal resulted from a petition drive, Whitmer will not be allowed to veto it.
Legislatures that have failed to enact any checks on their legislation leave public health agencies with extensive authority to impose the kind of restrictive measures that crippled personal liberties over the past year.
LifeSiteNews reached out to Gov. DeSantis’s office for comment multiple times but has yet to hear back.