Actress Jessica Biel joined anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to lobby against a California state legislature bill that aims to crackdown on medical exemptions for childhood vaccines.
Biel was seen in photos posted by Kennedy on Instagram making the rounds in the California State Assembly Wednesday to discuss SB276, a bill would limit medical exemptions from vaccinations.
“Please say thank you to the courageous @jessicabiel for a busy and productive day at the California State House,” Kennedy wrote on Instagram.
Kennedy later told The Daily Beast that Biel was “upset about this issue because of its particular cruelty.”
“I would say that she was for safe vaccines and for medical freedom,” Kennedy said, adding, “My body, my choice.”
“The biggest problem with the bill, which is something I think Jessica is concerned with,” Kennedy said, “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.”
“She was a very effective advocate,” Kennedy added. “She was very strong and very knowledgeable. Extremely well-informed. An extremely effective advocate. She knows what she’s talking about… She’s upset about this issue because of its particular cruelty. She has friends who have been vaccine-injured who would be forced to leave the state.”
Biel insists she’s “not against vaccinations”:
Despite reports as far back as 2015, when InTouch reported that Biel and husband Justin Timberlake were not vaccinating their son because “she feels vaccinating could cause complications,” Biel insisted on Instagram that she is not an anti-vaxxer.
“This week I went to Sacramento to talk to legislators in California about a proposed bill. I am not against vaccinations — I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians. My concern with #SB276 is solely regarding medical exemptions,” she wrote.
“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,” she said. “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. I encourage everyone to read more on this issue and to learn about the intricacies of #SB276. Thank you to everyone who met with me this week to engage in this important discussion!”
Kids who need medical exemptions will still get them, advocates say:
Despite Biel’s claim, experts say that children who need medical exemptions will still be able to get them.
“The children who need medical exemptions will not have a problem getting them if SB 276 becomes law,” Leah Russin of Vaccinate California told The Daily Beast. “People who are on immuno-suppressant drugs will not have a problem getting a medical exemption—and in fact, the people who truly need medical exemptions desperately need everyone else to be vaccinated. That’s why they support this bill. Medical advice should be coming from medical professionals.”
“A Hollywood celebrity and the head of an environmental organization should not have credibility on an issue about how to regulate the medical profession, when an overwhelming number of medical professionals support this bill,” she added. “It’s the Jenny McCarthy show all over again.”