Faced with increasing anger from the public and a medical establishment concerned by the return of childhood diseases once thought eradicated, members of the anti-vaxxing movement have launched a petition drive calling upon President Barack Obama to ban all laws mandating vaccinations of any kind.
The petition — found at at We The People, hosted by the White house — was launched despite the president’s stern warning to parents to get their children vaccinated.
In an interview with NBC News last week, the president addressed the recent epidemic of measles cases that is sweeping the country saying, “There is every reason to get vaccinated — there aren’t reasons to not.”
“I just want people to know the facts and science and the information,” the president said. “And the fact is that a major success of our civilization is our ability to prevent disease that in the past have devastated folks. And measles is preventable.”
On Friday, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was emphatic about the need to vaccinate children against childhood diseases.
“My message to moms and dads out there is to please, please, please vaccinate your children,” Murthy said. “It’s the best way to protect your kids. And it’s the best way to protect our community.”
Despite evidence that vaccinations are both safe and necessary to public health, anti-vaxxers continue using a discredited 1998 study promoted by celebrities claiming vaccinations can cause autism in children.
The anti-vaxxing petition, launched on Feb. 4, calls upon the president to not only ban mandatory childhood vaccinations, but all “forced” vaccinations, including those for adults.
Under the heading “Prohibit ant laws mandating the force and requirement of vaccinations of any kind,” the petition reads:
“No human being should be FORCED to be vaccinated against their will and/or personal/religious beliefs. I petition against making vaccinations of any kind mandatory. This includes forcing children to be vaccinated to attend public schools, activities, and daycare centers. This also includes adults working in the public or private sector.”
In March of 2013, the White House announced that We The People petitions that receive 100,000 signatures in 30 days would receive an official response from the Obama Administration.
However, just because a petition receives enough signatures to deserve a White House response doesn’t mean that the administration will change national policies to reflect the will of the petitioners.
In 2013 the White House shot down a proposal to build a Star Wars ‘Death Star,’ citing the impact the projected construction cost –estimated at $850,000,000,000,000,000 — would have upon the deficit.