California Sen. Block working at cross-purposes supporting both vaccination and NDs

California Sen. Block working at cross-purposes supporting both vaccination and NDs

California Senator Marty Block is a co-author of a wonderful bill that would eliminate personal belief exemptions to childhood immunizations. This means that a misinformed parent who objects to vaccinating her child based on . . . well, actually, based on nothing, could no longer visit her poor decision-making on her child by refusing immunization.  California currently allows a parent to deprive her children of immunization against infectious diseases by simply stating that her personal beliefs tell her it's the right thing to do, even when all the evidence says otherwise.  

Hence the terrible outbreak of measles in California, now spreading to the rest of the country, where children made vulnerable to disease because of their parents' personal beliefs are suffering for their parents' choices. To my knowledge, the parents themselves are not coming down with the measles, only their unvaccinated children. 

Current law requiring immunization of all school children, except for those with medical and personal belief exemptions, applies to any public or private elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or development center. As introduced, Senate Bill 277 would have exempted home-schooled children from mandatory vaccination required for school attendace if the children were all members of the same family. The bill was amended in committee and that exception is now eliminated. 

As it now stands, to claim the personal belief exemption a parent must have a written statement signed by a licensed health care provider saying that the parent has been provided

with information regarding the benefits and risks of the immunization and the health risks of the communicable diseases . . . to the person and to the community.

Naturopaths can sign these statements if they are authorized to furnish or order drugs under a physician and surgeon's supervision.

Which brings me to Senate Bill 538.  Naturopaths can prescribe drugs only with additional training and according to a standardized procedure or, in certain cases, under the supervision of a physician. This bill would keep the training requirement, but eliminate the standardized procedure and physician supervision. 

Putting two and two or, more accurately, 277 and 538 together, if the personal belief exemption bill does not pass but the removal of restrictions on naturopathic prescribing does, naturopaths will have unfettered ability to sign off on personal belief exemptions. (They probably do this anyway, but let's not make it any easier.) And that is a very bad idea.

As we know, naturopaths are anti-vaccination. They deny it, using the same weaselly words used by the anti-vaxx movement: informed choices, health freedom, and so on. As former naturopath Britt Hermes noted:

Basically, the AANP [American Association of Naturopathic Physicians] says that 1) vaccines are scary and may not work 2) naturopaths have a lot of wiggle room as afforded by state laws; 3) and parents have a lot to bring to the discussion, all while weakly nodding to public health mandates.

That is not the only reason SB 538 is a bad idea, of course. Any practice expansion for naturopaths is a bad idea. They don't  have the education and training to diagnose and treat patients, especially with drugs. If you don't believe me, click this (Britt Hermes's Naturopathic Diaries blog) or this (her SBM post on her naturopathic education and training, such as it was) and see if reading it doesn't change your mind.  

So guess who authored SB 538? Senator Marty Block. No, Sen. Block, no. You cannot be pro-vaccination and turn around and support naturopathic practice expansion, at least not without some major cognitive dissonance buzzing around in your head. The two are mutually exclusive. We admire your support for SB 277, and we know you are getting a lot of pushback from the anti-vaxxers, and those who claim they are pro-vaccine but really aren't.  But please, withdraw SB538 before it's too late.

 

Points of Interest 04/13/2015
Points of Interest 04/11/2015