Parental and medical freedoms are being targeted again this legislative session. Texans for Vaccine Choice has sounded the alarm about some proposed legislation and how it would affect Texans if signed into law.

First is House Bill 325, authored by State Rep. Donna Howard (D–Austin), and its companion, Senate Bill 468 from State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D–Laredo).

“We have two bills, one in the House and one of the Senate, that would change ImmTrac, which is the vaccine registry in the state of Texas, to an opt-out system,” Rebecca Hardy, policy director for TFVC, told Texas Scorecard. “Currently, ImmTrac is opt-in. You have to give your permission to the state to track your vaccine history.”

“We also have duplicate bills in the House and the Senate [that] would allow daycares to start releasing percentages of who’s vaccinated and who’s not,” Hardy continued. “The kids that are enrolled—not names, but percentages. And we feel like this is a violation of medical privacy.”

The bills Hardy refers to are House Bill 495, authored by State Rep. Gene Wu (D–Houston), and Senate Bill 139 by Sen. Nathan Johnson (D–Dallas).

Another concerning piece of legislation, House Bill 1221 by State Rep. Liz Campos (D–San Antonio), “is regarding long-term care facilities and these disease control measures in those facilities,” Hardy explained. “They list all of these control measures that would be implemented—including vaccination—and [there are] no delineated exemption processes in the bill.”

Parental Rights Targeted

A bill that brings up scary memories for TFVC, and parents, is House Bill 1773 by State Rep. David Cook (R–Mansfield).

“This is pretty much a duplicate bill that was filed last session that was attempting to go after parents accused of Munchausen by proxy,” Hardy told citizens Monday at True Texas Project’s meeting in Dallas.

“Munchausen by proxy is defined in different ways,” said Krista McIntire, also of TFVC and former director of Family Rights Advocacy. McIntire described it as a mental illness typically assigned to mothers. “She makes up things and tells the doctor, and hopes to get medical procedures, attention from her community, [and] money from her community.”

McIntire said it’s “otherwise known as medical child abuse.”

HB 1773 reminds McIntire of the horrific Drake Pardo case.

In June 2019, Texas Child Protective Services came to Daniel and Ashley Pardo’s house—unannounced and with armed officers—and illegally took their 4-year-old son, Drake, who had many medical and developmental needs.

CPS justified the raid by citing undisclosed “medical child abuse.” McIntire was among others trying to defend the Pardos.

“By day three, I knew we could not do this without an attorney, and I knew [Ashley] was facing allegations of Munchausen by proxy,” McIntire recalled. “What had happened was the child abuse pediatrician, who directed the Department of Family Protective Services to remove [Drake], had only seen the medical records.”

“His mother didn’t consider him medically fragile, [but] the physicians of that particular hospital considered him medically fragile,” she explained. “The mother made a complaint during one of her hospital visits and, rather than address the complaint, that physician consulted with the child abuse pediatrician, [who] said this child needs to be removed.”

McIntire said the child abuse pediatrician based their decision solely on the medical records and never met the mother, father, or child.

Why is TFVC concerned?

“The reason why this is important to Texans for Vaccine Choice is because the majority of our vaccine-injured families have children that are medically fragile,” McIntire continued. “We have a situation, in my opinion, where we have child abuse pediatricians being utilized, with the Department of Family Protective Services, when a doctor gets upset about a mother who wants a second opinion [or] a mother who is upset … says, ‘I want to take my child to the best specialist in the country,’ and that just so happens to be in California or New York.”

This isn’t the first time this kind of bill has shown up. It came up last session, and TFVC Executive Director Jackie Schlegel—who has a medically fragile, complex care daughter—helped lead the fight to kill it.

“The only thing I could think about [was] both my child and my daughter, my situation, and how many families could be affected,” Schlegel told citizens that night. “I worked throughout that legislative session to make sure that bill never saw the light of day.”

Now, it’s back.

The Good Bills

TFVC has found some bills they say are worth supporting, however.

House Bill 1872 by State Rep. Gary Gates (R–Richmond) would ban schools from mandating wearing devices that would allegedly detect the Chinese coronavirus.

Another bill TFVC supports is State Rep. Matt Schaefer’s (R–Tyler) House Bill 1406, which would allow citizens to challenge emergency orders in court if it burdens their rights in the state or federal constitution or is “alleged to cause injury to the person.”

TFVC has provided a list of all bills they are tracking regarding medical and parental liberties. Concerned citizens may contact their state representative or state senator.

Robert Montoya

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