PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Amid one of the largest measles outbreaks the country has seen in decades, a local state representative is proposing legislation that would prohibit doctors from denying care to children who have not been vaccinated. But others are calling the bill irresponsible.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican in Cranberry Township, introduced a bill called the “Informed Consent Act” at a news conference in Harrisburg Tuesday morning. Formally titled H.B. 286, the bill says a health provider could not “harass, coerce, scold or threaten a patient or parent” from refusing immunization.READ MORE: Sabrina Spellman Makes An Appearance On The CW's Riverdale; Kiernan Shipka Reveals 'Fans Will Get Some Clarity'
Metcalfe argues it’s a parent’s right to decide what is best for their children.
“This is not communist Russia. This is the United States of America,” Metcalfe told dozens of families, anti-immunization activists and health experts who gathered to support him at the conference. “And under our Constitution, the God-given rights that have been declared, you should enjoy your freedom and you should enjoy that freedom to decide for your children what’s in their best interest.”READ MORE: Around The Table: Omicron Variant's Impact On The Stock Market
Metcalfe’s proposed bill would support those who believe vaccines are a threat to health. But there are some who disagree.
Rep. Dan Frankel, an Allegheny County Democrat, calls Metcalfe’s legislation “irresponsible.” Frankel said, “These outbreaks are occurring not because the disease changed or mutated, but because people chose to forgo safe, effective vaccinations, putting themselves or their children at risk.”MORE NEWS: Pitt Quarterback Kenny Pickett Named Heisman Trophy Finalist
He’s introducing his own legislation, which would require education for parents who choose not to have their own children vaccinated — such as those who use the religious belief exemption.