The demise of the health of our children and the simultaneous skyrocketing of required vaccinations is arguably the most important issue of our time. As concern about this issue reaches an all-time high, we see examples of government overreach firsthand.
Recently, thousands of concerned parents, including many chiropractors, took part in "Occupy Trenton" at the State House in the capitol of New Jersey.This was a month-long climax to a two-year battle to defeat a proposed vaccine bill that would have removed the religious exemption for vaccination in the state.
Similar legislation has been sweeping the nation. California, New York, Mississippi, West Virginia and Maine all recently ended both philosophical and religious exemptions, and there is legislation pending in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Previous states fell like dominos, but in dramatic fashion, New Jersey was able to hold the line, at least for now. As the center of Big Pharma, New Jersey was perhaps the hardest fought and biggest victory for parental choice and freedom!
This was truly a David vs. Goliath moment. So much happened in a short period of time: from the Senate Health Committee meeting, to our Vaccine / Religious Freedom Town Hall Meeting; to the massive crowds of thousands gathered in front of the capitol, rallying day after day, with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., director of the Children's Health Defense, Del Bigtree (producer of "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe") and others; to the 24/7 behind-the-scenes organization network; to my infamous "Showdown with Sweeney" at the mayor's breakfast"; and right up to the night of the final vote.
Drawing the Battle Lines
Before it could go to the full state Assembly and Senate, the bill needed to make it through the Senate Health Committee. During testimony, a pediatrician representing the American Pediatric Association who was testifying in favor of the bill stated: "The science of vaccine safety is settled, and vaccines are safe."
Dr. Teri Warner commented, "We all know that science is never settled, so he should have lost all credibility right then. Also, the vaccine court for our government has paid out $4.3 billion compensating families that were injured from vaccines, and Health & Human Services in 2018 received over 62.000 reports of injuries from vaccines, including 533 deaths, so vaccines are not safe."
However, during the meeting, dirty politics were in play. Knowing he didn't have the votes, Senate President Sweeney, a Democrat, replaced three of his fellow Democrat committee members (who were going to vote against the bill), with two other Democratic senators plus himself (the third and only other "yes" vote he could find) to get this bill passed out of committee.
With tricks like this, you may ask yourself, Do our voices even matter? Yes! It was our collective voices that defeated this bill in N.J., and it was similar voices which pushed Maine to offer a ballot referendum this March to potentially reverse their decision. We need to be loud, consistent and united!
Organizing and Mobilizing
Grassroots Facebook groups successfully leveraged social media to get the word out to the masses. The Facebook pages kept everyone up to date on the issues including who to call, email and tweet; and urged parents, clergy, attorneys and others to converge at the State House on particular days. This helped enable everyone to rally together to outmatch the state's most powerful elected leader.
After making it through committee, the bill was headed for the full Senate as early as Jan. 6. It was paramount to organize as quickly as possible, even though this was Christmas week. We needed to influence the media and as many legislators as we could, so we planned a Vaccine / Religious Freedom Town Hall Meeting for Jan. 2.
With only a few days notice, more than 400 people showed up, plus News 12 NJ, which interviewed us, took footage and got it right onto the 10 p.m. news. Prior to opening up for questions from the crowd, there were several presentations from leaders in the movement including myself and Dr. Teri Warner; Mary Holland, Esq., from Children's Health Defense; Kevin Barry, Esq., of First Freedom; and pediatrician Dr. Larry Palevsky. The entire event was live streamed, shared, replayed and watched by tens of thousands.
The Turning Point
Next came my showdown with Sweeney. The week prior to the final vote, Sweeney was being honored at the Ocean County Mayors breakfast. Once I found out, my goal was to get a man on the inside. One call to my friend and our ally, former mayor Joe Champagne, and I had my "in." This was the perfect opportunity to confront the Senate president about the pending vaccine bill.
At the conclusion of the function, Sweeney opened up for questions and I quickly stood up to take advantage of this opportunity. During the confrontation, Mr. Sweeney stated that the religious exemption was started because "back in the '50s and '60s, they used aborted fetal tissue in the vaccines." He said this is no longer the case, which I quickly corrected, but to date he refuses to adopt the truth.
Up until this point, Sen. Sweeney had always been shielded and untouchable. This brought to light just how ill-informed the most powerful man in N.J. government is about this critical issue.
(To see the 13-minute breakfast meeting video clip in its entirety, click here.)
In the final week of debate, appearances by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Del Bigtree helped fuel the argument that parents, not government, should control their children's health care. In the end, all but one Republican lined up against the bill. Only one vote stopped S2173 from passing, which would have barred nearly all exemptions to vaccines for students in New Jersey at any public or private school, including preschools and colleges.
After it was clear the bill did not have the votes it needed to pass on the final day of New Jersey's two-year legislative session, powerful Sen. Sweeney said, "We're ready to go to war on this." My response is, bring it. We have God, science, and a powerful network of moms and dads thousands strong on our side.
Dr. Stuart Warner was a representative assemblyman for the state of New Jersey for the International Chiropractic Association and board member of the Council of N.J. Chiropractors (where he was also served as chair of the philosophy and convention committees). He and his wife, Dr. Teresa Warner, have been coaching fellow chiropractors for the past two decades, teaching pediatric practice management procedures, how to improve pediatric technique, and marketing strategies and promotions; and leading special events designed to propel them to become leaders in their communities and advocates for children's health.