Jessica Biel has denied allegations that she is anti-vaccination, saying instead she is an advocate for personal parental choice. The actress became the center of controversy after she joined Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in Sacramento to lobby California lawmakers against enacting SB 276, a state bill that would make it harder for parents to obtain exemptions if they didn't want to vaccinate their children.
"Please say thank you to the courageous @jessicabiel for a busy and productive day at the California State House," Kennedy wrote in an Instagram post sharing a picture with Biel, which unleashed a tide of social media commentary that her courageousness might refer to having a controversial position about vaccinations.
According to a California legislative staff member who spoke with Jezebel,Biel doesn't have her son on a doctor-recommended vaccination schedule and believes the child of a family friend suffered a health condition after being vaccinated.
“Jessica said that her doctor recommended the regular vaccine schedule for her kid and she refused,” the staffer wrote in a letter to Jezebel. “She practically admitted to doctor shopping, which SB 276 is trying to prevent. She said she wants safe vaccines and mentioned ‘corporations’ a lot.”
“The biggest problem with the bill, which is something I think Jessica is concerned with, is that a doctor who has made a determination—if he has found children in this state whose doctors have determined that they’re too fragile to receive vaccinations—this bill would overrule the doctors and force them to be vaccinated anyways," Kennedy told the Daily Beast.
Biel then attempted to explain her position on vaccinations via an Instagram post.
"I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians," she wrote. "My concern with #SB276 is solely regarding medical exemptions. My dearest friends have a child with a medical condition that warrants an exemption from vaccinations, and should this bill pass, it would greatly affect their family’s ability to care for their child in this state. That’s why I spoke to legislators and argued against this bill. Not because I don’t believe in vaccinations, but because I believe in giving doctors and the families they treat the ability to decide what’s best for their patients and the ability to provide that treatment."
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