The Institute for Health Freedom previously reported that the CDC and academicians have drafted a Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA). The original draft (dated October 23, 2001) proposed giving state governments broad police powers to:
- Declare public-health emergencies;
- Force individuals to undergo medical exams;
- Track and share individuals’ personal health information without their consent;
- Force individuals to be vaccinated, treated or quarantined;
- Ration food and other commodities; and
- Mobilize state militias to enforce state orders and impose fines and penalties.
A revised model act was released December 21, 2001. It includes several major changes that would greatly expand the power of state and local governments. Most important, the revised version would:
- Give local governments (in addition to state governments) new police powers, and
- Tie licensing laws to the MSEHPA. Health-care facilities, doctors, and health-care providers would have to agree to abide by the MSEHPA during public-health emergencies in order to maintain their licenses to practice or run a health-care business.
These changes would greatly diminish Americans’ health freedom–including the freedom of doctors and other health-care providers. Under the revised MSEHPA, doctors could be required to administer treatments they object to. For example, pro-life doctors could be forced to give persons vaccines developed from fetal tissue. This provision clearly would infringe on doctors’ and other health-care providers’ freedom of conscience. Moreover, the revised draft legislation does not state clearly that it will uphold existing state laws that provide for exemptions to vaccination. However, it does state that individuals who refuse medical treatment (including vaccination) could be quarantined or isolated.
It is also worth noting that several words were changed to make the legislation appear less authoritarian. For example, the revision proposes to:
- “Protect” rather than “control” persons and
- “Manage” instead of “control” public and private property during public-health emergencies.
It sounds better, but does it change the meaning? Given the newly added sweeping police powers, it’s clear that these minor cosmetic changes were made to appease freedom-loving Americans who don’t want Big Brother controlling their lives–even during a “public health” emergency.
The revised Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (dated December 21, 2001) can be accessed at www.publichealthlaw.net.
Many States Have Introduced and Are Considering the Legislation
Various versions of the MSEHPA legislation have been introduced in at least 16 states, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Web site www.alec.org, including: AZ, CA, DE, IL, KY, MA, MN, MO, MS, NE, NM, NV, NJ, NY, PA and TN.
States that are considering the legislation or executive branches that are studying it include: CO, CT, DC, HI, MD, ME, NC, OH, OK, SC, TX, VA, and WI.
This article was originally published in the January/February 2002 issue of Health Freedom Watch, the bimonthly watchdog report published by the Institute for Health Freedom.