Maine’s people should not be forced to trust big pharma or the government with their healthcare decisions

By Senator Lisa Keim

STATE HOUSE – Monday was a day of stories. Scores of people showed up at the People’s House in Augusta for the chance to tell lawmakers their real-life examples of how a single law changed their lives. Yet it was obvious that the enduring spirit of the people who stood before the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee would not be broken – even years after the law’s passage.

Hello, this is Senator Lisa Keim; and I’m here to tell you the enduring spirit of Maine’s people that I saw on display on Monday is alive and well.

The witnesses who came before the legislative committee demonstrated how that law dismantled the freedom of all Maine people by removing their right of conscience objection to medical intervention. It stripped them of their ability to provide for their families. Their right to attend school. Their liberty to pursue a career.

Lisa Keim – Oxford

It began in 2019 when the Legislature passed LD 798, a law that abolished religious and philosophical exemptions for students attending school or daycare. It also removed non-medical exemptions for daycare providers and healthcare workers. For children, the law was set to take effect in September 2021 upon the new school year.

Meanwhile, healthcare, emergency medical service personnel and other first responders were also subject to the new rules, which meant that whoever had a religious or philosophical exemption previously would now need to be immunized by that same month.

Yet something happened soon after the law was enacted that would end up challenging the wisdom of that law. It would also end up inspiring a popular upheaval against a political paradigm that tried to stamp out any semblance of dissention. It was called COVID-19.

In Maine, the Department of Health and Human Services under the discretion of the governor has full authority regarding required immunizations. But what constitutes an immunization varies from disease to disease. For mumps, it’s two doses of live mumps vaccine given after the first birthday. For influenza, it’s an annual dose of inactivated influenza vaccine or live attenuated influenza vaccine.

In both cases, the vaccines are tried-and-true, meaning they have stood the test of time – as far back as 1945 for the flu vaccine and 1971 for mumps. What was unpredictable at the time LD 798 was enacted was the unprecedented worldwide pandemic. Soon, rushed and unproven COVID-19 vaccines using new technology were given Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and then were widely mandated.

First authorized in December 2020, the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna are now just over two years old and were not developed in the same way as mumps or influenza. And that’s where it gets interesting – and problematic.

Janet Mills added the COVID-19 vaccines to the mandatory immunization list in October 2021. What she essentially said is you have to take this experimental vaccine. If it damages or kills you, you’re out of luck because the federal government granted both companies a liability waiver. And, by the way, if you don’t take it, you’re fired.

President Joe Biden did the same thing, almost twice. In November 2021, he required healthcare institutions receiving funds from Medicare or Medicaid to get their workers vaccinated and he tried to do the same thing through OSHA for private companies. Thankfully the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that travesty two months later in January 2022.

In the 44 states that still allow non-medical exemptions, those workers could continue in their jobs unabated under the federal rules. But here in Maine, it meant the mass exodus of a thousand healthcare and EMS workers who headed for the door in November 2021 – voluntarily or not.

In the first year of the pandemic, they were our heroes. In the second, they were told they’re unclean and must be eradicated.

All the while, kids were leaving our schools. Some left during the pandemic when their parents moved them to states that did not lock their schools down and thousands more students have either unenrolled due to not having their immunizations or have simply disappeared.

That’s right. Our public schools lost 8,000 kids from 2020 to 2021.

Without long-term safety and efficacy data, it is unethical to allow any medical treatment to be mandated. And Maine people should not be forced to trust big pharma or the government with healthcare decisions for them or their children. Medical freedom – especially for children – has not historically been a partisan issue. To protect the wellbeing of Maine people, we must come together on this issue once again.

Again, this is Senator Lisa Keim and I hope you have a great weekend.

Senator Lisa Keim is the Assistant Republican Leader and represents the communities of District 19. She is the Senate Republican Lead on the Government Oversight Committee.

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