After a year of COVID mandates and shutdowns, the next Texas legislative session is on the horizon. Texans for Vaccine Choice encourages citizens to resist local tyranny and push for medical freedom in the upcoming session.

In 2020, Texas joined many other states in wielding government power in response to the Chinese coronavirus. Gov. Greg Abbott decreed statewide shutdowns, closed bars, set occupancy limits, temporarily banned families from visiting their loved ones in nursing homes, and issued a statewide mask mandate while allowing local officials to fine businesses for not enforcing mask-wearing within their establishments.

Local officials enacted their own mandates, too, and even banned in-person worship at one point.

Along with government mandates and the consistent messaging of maintaining social distancing, everyone’s life has been put on pause until the arrival of a vaccine.

“Look, viruses aren’t going away. Bacteria is not going away. COVID’s not going away. It’s here to stay; we’ve got to learn to live with it,” Jackie Schlegel, executive director of TFVC, told Texas Scorecard. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live life in constant fear that every person I interact with is going to give me a disease and die.”

But is living in fear following the science?

“Absolutely not,” added Schlegel. “And not only is it not following the science, we know that it’s not even healthy from a mental, emotional, or social perspective to live life the way that we’re living it. On a social-emotional level, it is absolutely detrimental, what we have done.”

Members of the medical community agree, disputing the effectiveness of mask-wearing and other government mandates in combatting the Chinese coronavirus. One doctor even called Abbott’s approach a “failed strategy.”

Schlegel advises the best response to the virus on an individual level is to practice self-governance.

“Really, even regardless of how you feel about the response, we all need to take personal responsibility for our own health,” she said. “It starts with having a doctor who you have a good, open relationship with, who can treat you and make decisions in partnership for what is best for you and your health.”

COVID Vaccine

With former Vice President Joe Biden appearing likely to assume the presidency, Texans could be facing a battle to govern their own healthcare. Biden has previously hinted at the possibility of a nationwide mandate for a coronavirus vaccine, but he backtracked later.

Abbott himself has said vaccines will never be required in Texas, but Schlegel cautions such assurances don’t necessarily mean there won’t be a backdoor mandate of some kind.

“Even if we don’t have a statewide mandate, we’re going to see it pushed in other methods that are absolutely going to put people in a position where they’re going to have to accept it or lose access to their livelihood,” she said.

She’s heard concerns from other citizens about the possibility of a vaccine mandate. “What we are hearing in the community is a strong, resounding, ‘I am not comfortable with this fast-track, potentially mandated vaccine.’ These are people who have gotten all of their vaccines; some of them even get a yearly flu shot. These are not our typical followers.”

Again, for Schlegel, this is not something to be surrendered to government control. “Once we decide that the COVID response […] is so crucial that we have to allow the government to manage [it], we’re signing up for whatever they determine is best for society as a whole without us having a choice.”

“It starts with the mask. It goes into the contact tracing. Now it’s going to lead into the vaccine,” she continued. “That’s why from day one, we cannot waiver on whether we’re willing to give up our rights.”

There’s also the concern of safety when one accounts for the current vaccine schedule for American children.

“That schedule has never been tested for safety,” Schlegel said. “We don’t test that schedule against unvaccinated children. We don’t do true placebos.”

Schlegel says some of the “placebos” used to test vaccines are not even a saline solution, but a different vaccine. In those cases, one vaccine is being tested against another.

Action in 2021

As the 87th Texas Legislative Session approaches, what is the solution to maximize medical freedom?

“I think, ultimately, the only solution at this point is—at the most localized level—to start resisting,” Schlegel advised.

Next, the Capitol building must be reopened, with no restrictions. “They don’t have a right to take my temperature, to swab my nose, or any other invasive medical procedure,” she said. “That is the citizens’ building. We need to have it open, and our legislators need to be accessible. Period. End of story.”

Schlegel encouraged citizens to follow Texans for Vaccine Choice and subscribe to their emails to stay informed.

“We believe that there will be many bills that will go against our rights to informed consent […] and vaccine choice,” she warned. “Clearly, we will be there to fight against all of them.”

One priority TFVC wants to see passed is its informed consent bill.

“As a parent, I know [that regarding] any procedure … any medication … I want to research. I want to know what the ingredients are. I want my questions to be answered with an open conversation with my doctor,” Schlegel explained. “The informed consent bill is just one more avenue that we [can use to] open the conversation and give patients access to the information that they are seeking. And then they can decide if it’s the procedure they want to take or not.”

Schlegel said citizens can contact their local officials and demand an end to COVID mandates. She also encouraged citizens to let their state representatives and state senators know they want medical freedom, not vaccine mandates or medical mandates of any kind.

The 87th Texas Legislative Session starts on January 12, 2021.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.