GateHouse News Service
September 30, 2009
[efoods]Mandatory vaccinations, home searches without a warrant and forced quarantine for those who resist.
Critics of a pandemic preparedness bill pending in the Legislature say it would allow all those things and sets the stage for a medical police state where any response to an epidemic of flu or other illness has the potential to steamroll civil liberties.
The bill’s supporters and its sponsor, Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge, have found themselves in recent weeks defending against attacks from talk show hosts and Internet critics with an anti-Big Government bent. In the category of unlikely bedfellows: the ACLU has joined the opposition.
Moore and other supporters say the bill is largely borrowed from public health laws and court rulings already on the books. They say that rumors and lies have led people to overreact to the legislation, and cite as an example the statement that the bill makes vaccinations mandatory. While he says his own bill doesn’t mandate vaccination, Moore points to a 1905 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Massachusetts smallpox case that said states could require people to get vaccinated.