Subject: Senate Bill 3; Legislating Away Basic Rights|
Please read through and use the sample letter provided to communicate your message to the senators listed in this email.
THIS IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM www.NoMercury.org
TAKE ACTION! LET THESE SENATORS KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS. GO TO THIS SITE FOR SUGGESTIONS ON LETTER WRITING AND FAX COMPOSITION!!
Please look closely at US Senate Bill 3. A copy of the bill is available at www.NoMercury.org
Under the guise of "Protecting America in the War on Terror" US Senators Gregg, Frist, Sessions, DeWine, Allen, Santorum, McConnell, and DeMint have introduced S. 3 which calls for many sweeping changes in pharmaceutical product liability, vaccine regulation, policy, research and The Vaccine Injury Compensation Act. This directly impacts those families whose children have suffered adverse vaccine reactions, Gulf War Veterans, and any other veteran who suffers from adverse reactions from the multiple vaccines given (remember the ill-fated anthrax vaccine and small-pox vaccines).
The most recent bill introduced in the U.S. Senate (S. 3) is aimed at liability protection of drugs and vaccines and to prevent state legislation to ban Thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines. This bill is worse than the Eli Lilly provision of the Homeland Security Act and is a direct "gift" to the pharmaceutical companies. The pharmaceutical industry gave almost $45 million in campaign contributions for Presidential and Congressional elections since 2002 (www.opensecrets.org) and the health care/pharmaceutical industry has over 600 lobbyists in Washington, D.C. alone. If constituents do not weigh in on this horrendous bill, the American people will suffer; having their civil rights violated and state autonomy will be compromised. It is an insult to every state elected official and every American.
This bill is being "fast-tracked" and is already on the agenda at the National Vaccine Advisory Committee meeting, scheduled for February 8, 2005 at 10:45 am: http://www.hhs.gov/nvpo/nvac/agenda.html.
It would also severely limit the public access to any information regarding vaccine research, vaccine production, vaccine regulations, including, but not limited to meetings about vaccines and "countermeasures" for pandemics, epidemics, etc. This bill places severe restrictions on FOIA and will impact your ability to find out about drug/vaccine safety, regulation and policy. The last thing this country needs is to give government the ability to hold more "closed" meetings without accountability to the media/public.
Furthermore, Sec. 761 (a)(1) would preempt any state legislation regulating vaccines. It would preempt State authority and legislation dealing with vaccines or vaccines components, such as Thimerosal (mercury). Missouri currently has three bills pending to ban mercury (Thimerosal) in vaccines. They are Missouri SB 49, SB74 and HB 131. The States of Iowa and California have already banned mercury in vaccines yet this bill will preempt such legislation forcing states to allow vaccine manufacturers to continue using toxic levels of mercury in vaccines (in excess of Federal EPA safety guidelines). Numerous other states are pursuing similar legislation such as Maryland, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. Various other states are also planning to introduce legislation banning mercury in vaccines within the next few weeks/months, such as Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan, Massachusetts and Minnesota.
This horrendous piece of Federal legislation would even prohibit the warning or informed consent provisions for drugs, vaccines and biologics. Additionally, this bill would prohibit punitive damages and cap compensatory damages against any pharmaceutical company. This takes the saying "to the victor goes the spoils" to a whole new and ominous level. If the FDA approves it, the company making it is protected from liability. We have all seen how attentive the FDA has been to protect Americans from dangerous drugs such as Vioxx.
This cleverly crafted legislation includes something nearly every American will understandably want to support: raising the death gratuity for families of soldiers killed in Iraq from $12,000 to $100,000 and increases other military benefits. Including an unrelated but popular provision that should stand alone legislatively seeks only to cloud the issues addressed in the major portion of this bill's language. Every American supports increased benefits for our soldiers and their families and that includes us. As parents and loyal Americans, however, we believe that S. 3 has been carefully crafted to unfairly paint parents who seek justice for vaccine injured children into a political corner. Similar to the legislative sleight of hand employed in the Homeland Security Bill fiasco in 2002 the sponsors of S.3 are manipulating the political process by tying domestic programs affecting every American's health and safety to unrelated "anti-terrorism" programs. In this way they are attempting to make legitimate opposition to S. 3 politically unacceptable.
We question why politically popular legislation supporting our troops is tied to a bill with far-reaching provisions that affect and the safety of vaccines given to millions of American children. Let's not confuse the issues. We believe that by casting the vaccine safety provisions in the language of fighting terrorism (epidemic "countermeasures" is S.3's new code word for "vaccines"--this is truly Orwellian doublespeak) the American people are being misled about S.3's impact on vaccine safety programs. Let's deal with one thing at a time. Taking away the right of states to protect their citizens from dangerous vaccine components and drugs like Vioxx and Paxil does not translate into protecting our children--from terrorism or anything else. All it does is give control of these matters--vaccines and drugs--to a few powerful people who operate behind closed doors. The vaccine safety provisions are pharma support positions, plain and simple, and are not necessary for bio-terror defense, at least not in this form.
It would also overhaul The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to the detriment of children and families. Other parts of this legislation are extremely troublesome as well and we have included a copy in pdf format for your review. This is not a benign bill--this goes directly to counter state and parental efforts to protect children from vaccine injuries.
Read a few excerpts below. If this bill is as concerning to you as it is to other parents and many members of the medical community, please contact all members of the US Senate, particularly your Senators and members of the US Senate Finance Committee (see their contact info below). This is not anti-terrorism--this is Federalism gone wild.
Hatch Orrin R- UT
Lott Trent R- MS
Snowe, Olympia R-ME
Kyl Jon R- AZ
Thomas, Craig R- WY
Santorum Rick R- PA
Frist Bill R- TN
Smith Gordon R- OR
Bunning Jim R- KY
Crapo, Mike R- ID
Democrats on Finance Committee
Baucus Max D- MT
Rockefeller, IV, John D. D- WV
Jeffords, James (I - VT)
Bingaman, Jeff D- NM
Kerry, John F D-MA
Lincoln Blanche L. D- AR
Wyden Ron D- OR
Schumer Charles D- NY
Sample letter that Dewey Duffel of VacLib sent -- You are welcome to use and/or modify. :-)
Additional bulleted points about Senate Bill 3 --
Parents and Guardians;
As more information trickles in about Bill S.3, Frist's latest and most comprehensive attempt to remove children's rights, it is becoming clear they are getting very creative in their ways to push S.3 through.
If you didn't see our initial action alert about S.3, we feel it is important to send out a reminder as well as an update.
IF YOU HAVEN'T PREPARED YOUR FAXES TO GO OUT, PLEASE DO! YOUR HELP WILL MAKE THE DIFFERENCE!
Here are some keypoints to S.3. Keep in mind that because this is a VICA/Vaccine Bill introduced under the guise of thwarting terrorist threats, there is "warm and fuzzy language" to sway potential supporters. For example, S.3 raises the death benefit for families of fallen soldiers. This, of course, is needed, but it has NOTHING to do with our children! Again, we need your help!
PLEASE FAX YOUR LETTERS TODAY. IT IS SO IMPORTANT!!!