All House Republicans side with whipped up anti-vaxxers as Rep. Chesney declares “My body, my choice” during debate
Friday, Apr 23, 2021
* Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) rose on the floor this afternoon to explain House Bill 347. The bill, she said, does two things. First, it creates a database of all immunizations to help the Illinois Department of Public Health track immunizations across the state and said people can opt out if they don’t want to be in the registry. Second, the bill would increase vaccine reimbursement to pediatricians for vaccinating children from the current $6.40 to $16.
Intense opposition to the bill was whipped up by at least one so-called “vaccine awareness” group and thousands of electronic witness slips were filed against it.
* Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) rose to say (inaccurately) that 15,000 witness slips had been filed in opposition to the bill and that she had received several emails about this as well.
“People are very concerned about having this information based in a data registry,” Hammond said, and asked the sponsor “Who is going to hold those records and how they will be disseminated?”
Rep. Gabel replied that the records are “only for the Department of Health” and are not disseminated with identifying data. “They’re used in the aggregate to be able to check immunization rates across the state to identify areas that have low immunizations and to target services for those areas.”
Gabel also stressed that there is an opt-out process “in current law.” Rep. Hammond said the opt-out was a concern of many who had contacted her. Even so, Hammond said she wouldn’t be voting for the bill.
* Rep. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) then asked to be recognized to speak. “I recommend my colleagues vote ‘No,’” Chesney said. “My body, my choice.” Some of you may recognize that saying as an anti-vaxxer slogan used to troll liberals.
“This bill does not mandate anybody get a vaccine for anything,” an exasperated Gabel retorted.
* Not a single Republican voted for it…