Maryland State Senator pulls bill nixing parent consent for vaccines after blowback

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FILE – A health worker administers a dose of a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at the Norristown Public Health Center in Norristown, Pa., Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. The FDA’s panel of vaccine experts voted Tuesday to recommend the shots in children ages 6 to 17. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) Matt Rourke/AP

Maryland State Senator pulls bill nixing parent consent for vaccines after blowback

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Maryland State Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Montgomery) has temporarily withdrawn her controversial bill that would allow minors to get vaccines without the consent of their parents from an upcoming legislative hearing.

“Despite the fact that 17 states (including AR, ID, LA, & NC) have allowed minor access to vaccines, my bill needed more research before it could be enacted in MD,” the Montgomery County Democrat wrote on Twitter Friday night.

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https://twitter.com/CherylKagan/status/1626718154432077824

Kagan’s bill, SB378, proposes giving children ages 14 and up “the same capacity as an adult to consent to vaccination.” For children under 14 years old, they can still receive vaccines without a parent’s consent if their healthcare provider decides they have the capacity to do so.

A Maryland Senate Finance Committee hearing was planned to discuss the bill on Wednesday, Feb. 22, but Kagan requested the bill to be withdrawn from the hearing schedule.

In her letter to Sen. Melony Griffith, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Kagan wrote that 17 other states have allowed minors to be vaccinated without parental consent, and these are “precedents” that “clearly demonstrate the “wisdom and benefit” to “potentially life-saving vaccines.”

However, she goes on the clarify that because her legislation is “fairly late” in the legislative session and her staff needs more time to “fine-tune” and to do more “research” on some aspects of the bill, she wanted the bill withdrawn from the upcoming hearing discussion.

Numerous Maryland parent groups have been vocal about Kagan’s bill, including Maryland’s Moms for Liberty, the Parental Rights Foundation, and Informed Choice Maryland.

“We are so thankful for all the groups that came together to oppose it and for everyone who called, sent emails and prepared testimony. We believe parents have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children and that includes what vaccinations the receive or do not receive,” Jaime Brennan, Chair of Moms for Liberty — Frederick County Chapter, told The Washington Examiner.

“We believe bills such as this put children at risk because we do not believe that minors are capable of giving full informed consent,” she said.

Some parents are concerned that these legislative efforts will lead to children being bribed into taking vaccine shots without parental consent.

Last year, the Los Angeles Unified School District was hit with a lawsuit from mother Maribel Duarte about her 13-year-old son allegedly being offered a piece of pizza in exchange for receiving the COVID-19 vaccination at school without her consent.

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Her son is now allegedly suffering from side effects from the vaccine, impacting his breathing, sleeping, and ability to exercise, per Duarte.

“Given how much we’re still learning about these shots in otherwise young and healthy people, it’s inconceivable that Cheryl Kagan is trying to lower the age of consent and lock parents out of this decision,” wrote Maryland mom Bethany Mandel.

Maryland State Sen. Justin Ready, a Republican representing Carroll and Frederick counties, who is currently sponsoring a parental rights bill in the legislature, responded to Kagan putting her bill on hold.

“I appreciate the sponsor hearing the concerns of so many about the far-reaching impact of removing parental consent for children to receive vaccinations,” Ready told the Washington Examiner.

He added, “At a time when many Annapolis policymakers are claiming that young adults as old as their early 20s shouldn’t be held fully responsible for criminal activity because their brain is not fully developed, putting medical decisions in the hands of a 14-year-old boy or girl is not the approach government should be taking.”

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While Kagan’s bill remains on hold, some parents are concerned about another bill, SB 372, sponsored by Maryland State Senator Malcolm Augustine (D-Prince George’s County). This bill would give pharmacists the authority to order and administer vaccines for children three years old and older without parental informed consent.

“I could see this [SB372] being used as a backdoor to accomplishing what Kagan was trying,” said Brennan.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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