Florida access to service bill morphed into vaccine bill

30 Sep

A recent story in the Miami New Times caught my eye recently. The story is about how a wealthy Florida chiropractor was attempting to gain access to Florida Department of Health records so that Mark and David Geier could use them for vaccine/autism research.

In the story, Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp write:

But Kompothecras has all but bragged of his ability, via generous giving, to enlist politicians in the anti-vaccine fight. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported last year that he donated more than $15,000 to state Rep. Kevin Ambler and state Sen. Mike Bennett; both have backed legislation that would weaken Florida’s mandatory vaccine regimen.

Kompothecras told the paper that his personal lawyer had helped Bennett write an anti-vaccine bill. When he sent the irate email to DOH, the doctor copied Bennett. Whether Kompothecras’s political friends can enforce his will at the DOH is unclear. What is clear is that the DOH is afraid they might.

I tried to find this bill. A news story from 2009, Major GOP political donor Gary Kompothecras backs bill to alter Florida’s vaccine rules, had this to say:

SB 242 would give parents more authority to delay the pace at which their children are vaccinated against illnesses like measles, mumps and polio — as long as they are up to date with their shots by the time they enter the public school system. (Florida law already provides for exemptions from school vaccine requirements in the cases of religious beliefs or medical risks determined by a physician.)

The proposal, sponsored by Tampa Republican Rep. Kevin Ambler in the House, also would prohibit the use of vaccines for pregnant women and young children if the vaccines contain even a small percentage of ethyl mercury. Better known as thimerosal, it is used as a preservative in some vaccines, including flu and tetanus shots that are made in advance and in large quantities. Some people, including Kompothecras, believe thimerosal is the vaccine ingredient that makes their initially healthy children become autistic.

Senate Bill 242 was entered into the record on February 26, 2009. Here is a segment of that version:

11 Section 1.?If the parent or legal guardian of a minor who
12 is an eligible individual, as defined in s. 627.6686, Florida
13 Statutes, believes that the minor exhibits symptoms of autism
14 spectrum disorder, the parent or legal guardian may report his
15 or her observation to a physician licensed in this state. The
16 physician shall immediately refer the minor to an appropriate
17 specialist for screening for autism spectrum disorder.

It is a bill expanding access to services for parents of young autistic children. I’m sure we could have some interesting discussions about that bill, but it died. Well, even before it died, it morphed. Here is the second version after a series of amendments on 4/15/2009. It amends the vaccine statutes in Florida. Here is an excerpt:

36 499.005?Prohibited acts.—It is unlawful for a person to
37 perform or cause the performance of any of the following acts in
38 this state:
39 (30)?The sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery,
40 importation, administration, or distribution of any human
41 vaccine used for children under age 6 or pregnant women which
42 contains any organic or inorganic mercury compound in excess of
43 0.1 microgram per milliliter.


51 (6)?In vaccinating his or her child, a parent, legal
52 guardian, or other authorized person, in consultation with his
53 or her pediatrician, has the right to choose an alternative
54 immunization schedule to the immunization schedule recommended
55 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as long as
56 the child completes the required immunizations before beginning
57 kindergarten or initial entry into a public or private school,
58 whichever occurs earlier.

So, a bill that would expand access to services is completely scrapped. In its place a bill is created which seeks to change the laws on vaccines.

Leaving aside whether thimerosal should be allowed in vaccines. Leaving aside the fact that parents already have the right to an alternative schedule. Leaving aside that the language of that second section is so vague that parents might argue that any alternative vaccine schedule (including none) could be used for admission to school. Leave out whether the bill in its original form is good or not.

Leave all that aside for the moment.

Someone scrapped a bill expanding services in order to take on vaccine legislation.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: many “autism advocates” and “autism organizations” don’t really focus on autism or disability rights.

They are willing to abandon autism legislation in order to focus on vaccines.

3 Responses to “Florida access to service bill morphed into vaccine bill”

  1. Kathleen Seidel September 30, 2010 at 20:31 #

    Good catch!


  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - Florida access to service bill morphed into vaccine bill « Left Brain/Right Brain -- Topsy.com - September 30, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev, Catherina+ScienceMom. Catherina+ScienceMom said: Florida+access+to+service+bill+morphed+into+vaccine+bill http://t.co/DE4S7YM via @kevleitch […]

  2. A look at the financials for Generation Rescue and the Strategic Autism Initiative « Left Brain Right Brain - February 15, 2013

    […] I am curious if the Florida project is the same one the Geiers were attempting to get pushed through approval a few years ago. A t that time a vaccine-causation focused chiropractor and heavy political donor was pushing both access to the Florida medical records and for things like changing a bill to improve access to services for families with autistic children into a vaccine bil…. […]

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