‘Rise Up’: Opponents of bill that would end religious exemption for childhood vaccines rallying in Hartford


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Opponents of a bill that would eliminate the state’s religious exemption for childhood vaccines are rallying Tuesday at the state capitol. They’re calling it the “Rise Up Rally”.

Supporters of the bill say it’s about protecting public health.

It’s easiest the most controversial topic in the legislature has taken up in the past few years. This is the closest lawmakers have gotten to passing legislation to eliminate the religious exemption for childhood vaccines, and that is why these demonstrations keep growing.

On Tuesday, thousands were in attendance.

RELATED: State Senate takes up repeal of religious exemption for childhood vaccinations amid protests after passing in House

Protestors say forcing them to get their kids vaccinated is a violation of their rights. They are bringing in some celebrity anti-vaccination activists from New York Tuesday to speak, including Robert Kennedy Jr. and a man who made a film highlighting the now-debunked link between vaccines and autism. That link was proven false years ago, but the myth persists today and fuels a lot of the anti-vaccine sentiment.

“What is happening here in Connecticut is an absolute atrocity. The founding fathers that are buried in the ground in this state are rolling over in their graves at the idea that Americans do not have control over the bodies of their children or over their own bodies,” said Del Bigtree, Informed Consent Action Network.

“Pharmaceutical industries have incredible privileges. They get to mandate their products and they have liability protections on the back end. They are not honest brokers and they don’t have children’s health in their best interests,” said Mary Holland, Children’s Health Defense.

Remember, the bill lawmakers are taking up only eliminates the exemption for kids starting kindergarten next year, so it does not affect any kids currently in school.

Nevertheless, anti-vaccination protestors say thousands of parents will keep their kids home and not send them to school rather than get them vaccinated.

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