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East Valley lawmaker proposes new anti-vaccine legislation for upcoming session

Posted at 7:05 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 21:12:07-05

MESA, AZ — State Representative John Fillmore (R. Apache Junction) supports people getting vaccinated. He believes parents ought to have the ultimate decision on whether to immunize their children against disease.

Fillmore has filed a bill known as HB 2050 which allows parents to opt-out of having children immunized without signing a document telling schools they have done it.

"These are your children. You have the right to decide what goes into your body and your children's body," Fillmore said.

Fillmore says if there is an outbreak of a disease, measles for example, non-vaccinated children would have to stay home to avoid potential contact with someone who may be immune deficient.

In places like Eastmark, a fast-growing development in southeast Mesa, home to charter schools, LDS Meeting Houses and subdivisions filled with families, parental rights is a big deal. For many, to vaccinate or not, is a parental right.

"I support their decisions for their family and their body," one Valley mom said. "They should be able to do the same for my children, knowing that I've done the research and feel comfortable in my choices." Even moms whose children are vaccinated support the right of their neighbors to not do it. "Both my kids are fully vaccinated, but I'm not afraid of my neighbors not having their children vaccinated."

I don't believe the bill is actually going to be heard," Jennifer Pawlik, Arizona State Representative, (D. Chandler) said. She opposes the legislation and believes as long as Governor Ducey is in office, Fillmore's bill has no chance. "We had a number of bills last year that were dropped and there was a lot of conversation, the governor said he would veto them."

The threat of a veto is not enough to stop Representative Fillmore. For him, the rights of parents to decide for their children is greater than the risk to public health.

"America is losing control of their civil rights. These are your children. You have the right to decide what goes into your body and your children's body," Fillmore says.