Jessica Biel lobbies California lawmakers to allow kids to die needlessly

Jessica Biel

As we see America beset by Republican legislatures ready to strip women of their bodily autonomy, there’s one thing we should all be able to agree on: medical advice should be coming from medical professionals, not from invasive Republicans or evangelicals. However, when it comes to another issue, vaccinations, the anti-vaxxers have co-opted the slogan, “My body, my choice,” going against the advice of most medical professionals. Enter the once respected environmental activist, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and actress Jessica Biel. It seems Justin Timberlake’s wife has come out on the side of the anti-vaxxers when it comes to the passage of a California bill, SB 276.

As Jezebel reported yesterday, Biel and Kennedy appeared together in social media shots as they lobbied the California State Assembly against SB 276. She appeared with Kennedy on social media alongside Democratic Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, who opposes the bill, which would increase the oversight of medical exemptions provided by doctor’s notes.

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According to Jezebel, the bill co-sponsor, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez,
says that “a handful of doctors in the state” are abusing the medical exemption process and selling exemptions to parents who don’t have an actual medical reason for not vaccinating their kids. California’s vaccination rate has dipped for the second straight year, and there’s persuasive evidence that parents who were previously applying for personal belief exemptions — exemptions that were written out of the law in 2015— are now applying for medical exemptions instead.”

Although Biel’s representatives couldn’t be reached to confirm the actress is taking an anti-vaccination stance, Kennedy later talked to the Daily Beast to confirm Biel’s stance after the pair talked to some 15 legislators.

“Kennedy confirmed that the actress, whose past controversial opinions include insisting it is a “struggle” to get roles because she is too sexy, was “upset about this issue because of its particular cruelty.”

Kennedy, who takes issue with the label “anti-vaxx”—which he deems “pharmaceutical propaganda” and “a lie”—declined to align Biel with the controversial movement. “I would say that she was for safe vaccines and for medical freedom,” Kennedy said, before echoing an anti-vaxx rallying cry: “My body, my choice.”

Kennedy says that they are concerned that the bill would impose unnecessary “red tape” on parents, forcing kids to receive vaccinations. Official estimations suggest it would reduce the number of people receiving exemptions for their kids by almost 40 percent.

However, medical experts say that’s precisely why the bill is important, to protect children at risk for contracting potentially deadly diseases. In fact, the bill would not impose a burden on kids with legitimate medical exemptions.

Leah Russin, executive director of Vaccinate California, and co-sponsor of SB 276 told the Beast.

“The children who need medical exemptions will not have a problem getting them if SB 276 becomes law,” said Leah Russin, executive director of Vaccinate California, another co-sponsor of the bill. “People who are on immuno-suppressant drugs will not have a problem getting a medical exemption—and in fact, the people who truly need medical exemptions desperately need everyone else to be vaccinated. That’s why they support this bill. Medical advice should be coming from medical professionals.”

Other notable co-sponsors are the California Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, California.

Once more, when it comes to health care, people probably should put more emphasis on the advice of respected medical experts, and less on politicians, activists, or actresses. As diseases like the measles are coming back due to people’s exposure to false information such as what is often found on social media, we all have to push back.

An hour ago, Biel posted her explanation to Instagram.

“This week I went to Sacramento to talk to legislators in California about a proposed bill. I am not against vaccinations — I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians. My concern with #SB277 is solely regarding medical exemptions. My dearest friends have a child with a medical condition that warrants an exemption from vaccinations, and should this bill pass, it would greatly affect their family’s ability to care for their child in this state. That’s why I spoke to legislators and argued against this bill. Not because I don’t believe in vaccinations, but because I believe in giving doctors and the families they treat the ability to decide what’s best for their patients and the ability to provide that treatment. I encourage everyone to read more on this issue and to learn about the intricacies of #SB277. Thank you to everyone who met with me this week to engage in this important discussion!”

View this post on Instagram

This week I went to Sacramento to talk to legislators in California about a proposed bill. I am not against vaccinations — I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians. My concern with #SB277 is solely regarding medical exemptions. My dearest friends have a child with a medical condition that warrants an exemption from vaccinations, and should this bill pass, it would greatly affect their family’s ability to care for their child in this state. That’s why I spoke to legislators and argued against this bill. Not because I don’t believe in vaccinations, but because I believe in giving doctors and the families they treat the ability to decide what’s best for their patients and the ability to provide that treatment. I encourage everyone to read more on this issue and to learn about the intricacies of #SB277. Thank you to everyone who met with me this week to engage in this important discussion!

A post shared by Jessica Biel (@jessicabiel) on


Featured image: Screenshot via Instagram