[Correction appended, March 1: As originally published, I incorrectly stated in this article that to bring a claim under the NVICP, claimants must first report their adverse reactions in VAERS.  The error has been corrected.  — Davis Taylor]

PIERRE, S.D. (Feb. 18, 2020) –  A bill introduced in the South Dakota House would ban mandatory vaccinations for schools and push back against the push for federal vaccines mandates.

A coalition of 14 Republicans introduced House Bill 1235 (HB1235) on Feb. 5. There’s a strong move afoot to increase mandatory vaccinations in the U.S. This includes policies to eliminate exemptions from state vaccine mandates and efforts to impose federal mandates. Mandating vaccinations is a dangerous slippery slope that violates the right to informed consent. This legislation would firmly push back against this threat to medical freedom.

The proposed law would:

  • eliminate all South Dakota vaccine mandates for public and non-public schools, early childhood programs and postsecondary educational institutions
  • replace current South Dakota law on mandatory vaccines with the following –

Under the proposed law, “No child entering public or nonpublic school, or a public or nonpublic early childhood program in this state, may be required to receive any immunization or medical procedure for enrollment or entry. The Department of Health may recommend any immunization for school entry but may not require them. No school may use any coercive means to require immunization.

HB1235 declares, “Every person has the inalienable right to bodily integrity, free from any threat or compulsion that the person accepts any medical intervention, including immunization. No person may be discriminated against for refusal to accept an unwanted medical intervention, including immunization.”

Under the law, it would be a Class 1 misdemeanor for any educational institution, medical provider, or person to compel another to submit to immunization.

HB1235 would also replace current South Dakota law regarding the local board of health immunization requirements with the following:

The local board of health, upon application of the school board of any school affected by § 13-28-7.1 (South Dakota’s provisions regarding immunizations), shall, at public expense to the extent that funds are available and without delay, provide the immunizations recommended by the Department of Health under § 13-28-7.1 to any pupil who is not provided the immunizations by the pupil’s parent or guardian if the school board obtains prior written authorization from the pupil’s parent or guardian after having supplied the parent or guardian with complete information about the immunization, including the package inserts.

Forced vaccination violates the right to informed consent

Vaccination is a medical intervention that carries the risk of injury and death. In the U.S., claims of harm caused by most vaccines must proceed under a special system, called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), whereby vaccine manufacturers are shielded from liability and taxpayers, rather than vaccine manufacturers, fund any award of damages. [1] [2]. Further, discovery is not permitted against the vaccine manufacturers under this system. To date, over $4 billion has been paid out under the system for claims of harm caused by vaccines. [4] Although the government has established a system for reporting adverse events following vaccines, called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), it’s estimated that less than 1% of vaccine adverse events are ever reported to VAERS. [3]

In light of the possibility of injury or death from vaccines, forced vaccinations violate the right to informed consent. Informed consent is a central ethical principle of modern medicine. It’s based, in part, upon the Nuremberg Code which was issued in 1947 in connection with the conviction of Nazi doctors for forced medical experimentation upon concentration camp prisoners. Although the Nuremberg Code specifically addressed the right to informed consent for participation in scientific experiments, the first principle of the Nuremberg Code has become an ethical standard for patients’ right to informed consent to all medical interventions that carry a risk of harm. It states, in part:

“The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved, as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision…” [5]

HB1235’s effect on federal policy

In the U.S., vaccine mandates currently exist at the state level. However, federal mandates appear to be on the horizon. Having the issue of mandates decided at the local or state level, rather than the federal level, affords those affected by the mandates a greater chance to have their voices heard by the decision-makers. HB1235 would protect the right of South Dakotans to informed consent for both childhood and adult vaccinations.

State mandates currently apply only to children. States have historically allowed all or some of the following types of exemptions from them:  1.) religious; 2.) medical; and 3.) philosophical. [6] South Dakota currently only has religious and medical exemptions and lacks a philosophical one. [7]

HB 1235 would eliminate South Dakota’s vaccine mandates entirely. This would reject the current trend of U.S. states bolstering their mandates by rolling back or eliminating exemptions. New York, Washington, Maine and California are examples of states that have recently weakened or eliminated exemptions.

The pharmaceutical industry has been highly involved in efforts to roll back state exemptions. For example, a lobbying firm with reported financial backing from vaccine manufacturers recently funded an advertising campaign in Maine aimed at defeating a ballot measure which, if passed, would reverse the legislative removal of religious and philosophical exemptions in that state. [8] Other actions by the pharmaceutical industry aimed at eliminating exemptions have included, among other things, serving as “information resources” for legislators, lobbying legislators, conducting consumer marking campaigns and even drafting pro-mandate legislation. [9]

The pharmaceutical industry has also been supportive of imposing federal vaccine mandates in the U.S. Although the U.S. currently has no federal mandates, other countries have issued mandates at the federal level and there’s reason to believe that the U.S. may follow suit. In February of 2019, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, then Commissioner of the FDA, made comments to CNN indicating that the federal government has the authority to mandate vaccines and could step in with mandates if states don’t require more children to be vaccinated. [10] Gottlieb made the comments shortly before resigning as FDA Commissioner in May of 2019 and joining the Board of Directors of Pfizer, Inc., a vaccine manufacturer, in June of 2019. [11]

Any future federal mandates in the U.S. may apply to adults as well as children. The CDC has both a childhood vaccine schedule and an adult one. [12] The feds have explicitly stated the goals of increasing overall vaccination rates and increasing rates specifically in the adult population. These goals are discussed in the National Vaccine Plan (NVP) and the National Adult Immunization Plan (NAIP), respectively, which can be found on HHS’s website. [13] [14]

Argentina, Italy and France are examples of countries that have recently issued vaccine mandates at the federal level and Argentina’s mandates apply to both children and adults. [15] [16] In December of 2018, Argentina enacted a law mandating its entire 20 vaccine schedule upon both children and adults, with proof of vaccination required not only to attend school but also to obtain important government documents such as passports, driver’s licenses and Argentina’s National Identity Documents. [17] Some believe that Argentina’s vaccine policy may serve as a blueprint for other countries, including the U.S.

Federal mandates are expected to be based upon the CDC’s vaccine schedules which, as discussed below, are rapidly expanding. Also discussed below are vaccine safety concerns that should be considered in connection with the mandate issue.

The CDC vaccine schedules are growing, requiring safety testing of the cumulative and combined effects of the vaccines on the schedules.

As discussed above, special protections from liability have been put into place for the manufacturers of most vaccines. This unique legal framework has greatly increased vaccine profitability and, since it’s implementation, the number of vaccines recommended by the vaccine industry and the CDC has grown significantly.

In 1983, prior to the aforementioned removal of liability, the CDC recommended 24 doses of 7 childhood vaccines. [18] The CDC now recommends 70 doses of 16 vaccines by age 18. [19]

With the growing number of recommended vaccines, a person receiving all of the recommended doses on both the CDC’s childhood and adult schedules would receive a lifetime total of approximately 149 vaccine doses. [20] Further, hundreds of new vaccines are being developed and it’s expected that many will be added to the schedules. According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, as of late 2017, there were over 260 vaccines in development by American companies alone. [21]

The growing vaccine schedules are particularly concerning in light of some vaccine ingredients. Although ingredients differ by vaccine type, generally, vaccines contain a myriad of toxic or concerning substances. Examples are aluminum, human DNA, animal DNA, antibiotics, formaldehyde, mercury, Polysorbate 80, bovine extract, egg protein, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). [22] [23] [24] Any potential for harm from these ingredients is increased when the number of vaccine doses rises and when vaccines are given in combination. Surprisingly, despite the fact that the CDC’s childhood schedule includes recommendations for receiving doses of multiple vaccines in the same office visit (as many as nine in one visit), the CDC hasn’t required safety testing of the vaccines in these combinations. [25]

Aluminum is an example of a vaccine ingredient that may be problematic with cumulative exposure. A recent study in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology found that the 2019 CDC childhood vaccine schedule is 15.9 times over the recommended safe level of aluminum when researchers adjusted for body weight and estimated that a child who followed the schedule would be in a state of “chronic toxicity” for 70% of the child’s first seven months of life. [26] [27] Further, studies have associated aluminum with autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, autism and with behavioral abnormalities in animals. [28]

If the CDC’s vaccine schedules are mandated by federal law, Americans will continue to be subject to them even as more vaccines and doses are added.

Additionally, federal vaccine mandates may open the door to federal mandates for other medical interventions without informed consent. This could, for example, include the federal government mandating that children demonstrating emotional problems in school be forced to submit to a mental health evaluation by a government approved provider and to whatever psychiatric drugs are recommended by the provider, without the child’s or parents’ consent. The precedent set by federal vaccine mandates will set the stage for further expansion of federal control over individuals’ medical decisions.

Vaccines are not subject to placebo-controlled studies.

The FDA classifies vaccines as “biologics” rather than “drugs,” thereby allowing vaccine manufacturers to forego the multi-year, double-blind inert placebo-controlled studies required for drug approval. [29] Almost all vaccine safety studies are conducted without a control group of unvaccinated individuals receiving nothing but an inert placebo. [30] Generally, if a “control group” is used during a vaccine safety study, the group receives a substance which is not inert, such as another vaccine or an adjuvant such as aluminum. [31] For example, when Merck conducted clinical trials for Gardasil 9 it used the original Gardasil vaccine as the “placebo” in the control groups and both vaccines contain an aluminum adjuvant. [32]

Just as the FDA hasn’t required vaccines to undergo true placebo-controlled studies for approval, the CDC hasn’t required its schedules of recommended vaccines to undergo studies comparing those vaccinated in accordance with the schedules with a “control group” of unvaccinated individuals. This is despite evidence indicating that unvaccinated children, or children receiving less than the full CDC schedule of vaccines, may have better health outcomes than those who receive the full schedule. For example, on July 18, 2019 Children’s Health Defense posted an article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. entitled “Fully Vaccinated v. Unvaccinated – A Summary of the Research” summarizing the results of multiple vaccinated/unvaccinated studies conducted since 1999 which indicate a higher incidence of chronic diseases and brain and immune system injuries among the vaccinated compared to the unvaccinated. [33] 

Another article posted by the Children’s Health Defense team on March 19, 2019 entitled “Real-Life Data Show that the CDC Vaccine Schedule is Causing Harm” discusses ten years of practice data from Dr. Paul Thomas, a Board-certified pediatrician in Oregon, which reflects that the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children in Dr. Thomas’ practice had dramatically lower risks of autism compared to children vaccinated according to the CDC schedule. [34]

Vaccines require additional testing for potential autoimmune and other chronic health effects. 

Vaccines are subject to very short periods of monitoring for adverse reactions, often of 14 days or less. [35] [36] Short monitoring periods are particularly concerning because research has shown a possible connection between vaccines and medical conditions that develop over longer periods of time, such as autoimmune disorders.

In the past several decades, autoimmune disorders have become increasingly common in the U.S. and other high-income countries and they’re now estimated to affect approximately 5% to 10% of the population in such countries. [37] In a 2018 article, researchers reviewed evidence potentially linking influenza, hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to vaccine-induced autoimmunity. [38] Another 2018 study discussed evidence potentially linking yeast protein-containing HPV and hepatitis B vaccines to autoimmune disorders such as vitiligo, narcolepsy, hypothyroidism, systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. [39] Additionally, a recent study concluded that vaccines containing animal, plant and fungal proteins may be inducing numerous autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and others. [40]

Further information discussing the possible connection between vaccines and autoimmune disorders can be found in a book by Thomas Cowan, MD published in 2018 entitled Vaccines, Autoimmunity, and the Changing Nature of Childhood Illness. [41]

Vaccines require additional testing for their potential to impair fertility.

Another safety concern about vaccines is evidence linking some to diminished fertility. For example, multiple studies have found a statistically significant increase in miscarriages in women who have received an influenza vaccine. [42] Research also points to increased risks for miscarriage and ovarian failure in connection with the Gardasil and Gardasil 9 vaccines. [43] According to an article posted on May 21, 2019, by the Children’s Health Defense team entitled “25 Reasons to Avoid the Gardasil Vaccine” Gardasil and Gardasil 9 clinical trials showed high spontaneous miscarriage rates of 25% and 27.4% respectively, which were significantly higher than the background rates of approximately 10% – 15%. [44]

Vaccines require additional testing for their potential to cause autism.

The CDC asserts that “vaccines do not cause autism” and that “there is no link between vaccines and autism.” [45] Further, the media repeatedly reports that vaccines have been scientifically cleared of any role in causing autism. However, these assertions are thoroughly refuted by J.B. Handley’s book How to End the Autism Epidemic, published in 2018.

In Handley’s book, he reviews twenty-seven studies cited by the Autism Science Foundation which are generally relied upon as “proof” that vaccines don’t cause autism and explains that the studies researched only one vaccine, the MMR vaccine, and one vaccine ingredient, thimerosal, for a relationship to autism. [46] He also discusses significant flaws in the studies. [47] He additionally points out the lack of research analyzing the full childhood vaccine schedule for any possible relationship to autism. [48]

Handley’s book further reviews eleven groundbreaking scientific studies published in peer-reviewed journals since 2004 which do indicate that vaccines have played a role in inducing autism in children. [49] The book also discusses the increased amount of aluminum U.S. children receive, noting that the amount has nearly quadrupled since the early 1990s as the result of increased vaccinations, and further notes that aluminum was included in childhood vaccines without having been safety tested in children. [50] Handley’s book also contains a detailed discussion of aluminum’s use in vaccines to intentionally hyper-stimulate the immune system and evidence that the aluminum is accumulating in children’s brains, triggering immune activation events implicated in autism. [51]

Additional evidence that aluminum in vaccines can cause autism is provided in the Informed Consent Action Network paper entitled “Autism and Aluminum Adjuvants in Vaccines How Aluminum Adjuvants in Vaccines Can Cause Autism” which was published on August 18, 2017. [52]

States should resist vaccine mandates which place decision-making in the hands of bureaucrats.

As demonstrated by the above discussion, the scientific issues related to vaccines are highly complex and the safety of the CDC’s vaccines schedules has not been established. In light of this, it’s critical that individuals retain the right to make vaccination decisions based upon the advice of their chosen medical professionals rather than relinquishing this right to bureaucratic mandates. HB 1235 would be a strong step in this direction. As we have seen with marijuana, federal regulation becomes ineffective when states enact contradictory policies. If multiple states pass laws like HB 1235 which preserve the public’s rights regarding vaccinations, it will become difficult for the federal government to enforce any future federal mandates.

Status of HB1235

On February 10, 2020, HB1235 was referred to the House Health and Human Services Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.


[1] https://www.nvic.org/injury-compensation/nvic-position-on-1986-childhood-vaccine-injury-act.aspx

[2] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/4-billion-and-growing-u-s-payouts-for-vaccine-injuries-and-deaths-keep-climbing/

[3] https://digital.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/docs/publication/r18hs017045-lazarus-final-report-2011.pdf

[4] https://www.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/hrsa/vaccine-compensation/data/data-statistics-vicp.pdf

[5] https://history.nih.gov/research/downloads/nuremberg.pdf

[6] https://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements.aspx

[7] https://www.nvic.org/vaccine-laws/state-vaccine-requirements/southdakota.aspx

[8] https://www.pressherald.com/2020/02/10/lobbying-group-launches-ad-campaign-to-support-new-vaccine-law/

[9] Michelle M. Mello, Sara Abiola, James Colgrove, “Pharmaceutical Companies’ Role in State Vaccination Policymaking: The Case of Human Papillomavirus Vaccination”, American Journal of Public Health 102, no. 5 (May 1, 2012): pp. 893-898. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2011.300576 PMID: 22420796

[10] https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/20/health/vaccine-exemptions-fda-gottlieb/index.html

[11] https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/scott_gottlieb_elected_to_pfizer_s_board_of_directors

[12] https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html

[13] https://www.hhs.gov/vaccines/national-vaccine-plan/index.html

[14] https://www.hhs.gov/vaccines/national-adult-immunization-plan/index.html

[15] https://thevaccinereaction.org/2018/02/european-countries-move-to-expand-enforce-vaccine-mandates/

[16] https://healthimpactnews.com/2018/argentina-creates-mandatory-vaccination-law-for-passport-id-drivers-license-school-more/

[17] https://thevaccinereaction.org/2019/01/argentinas-new-vaccine-law-is-a-blueprint-for-american-real-id/

[18] https://www.nvic.org/cmstemplates/nvic/pdf/downloads/1983-2017-vaccine-schedules.pdf

[19] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/vaccine-mandates-results-dont-safeguard-childrens-rights-or-health-how-did-we-get-here/

[20] Moskowitz, Richard, Vaccines – A Reappraisal. New York, New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2017. 241-242. Print.

[21] https://www.phrma.org/en/Media/New-Era-of-Medicine-Vaccines

[22] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/toxic-vaccine-ingredients-the-devils-in-the-details/

[23] https://www.nvic.org/nvic-vaccine-news/january-2018/new-human-fetal-cell-lines-for-vaccine-production.aspx

[24] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/countering-false-vaccine-safety-claims/

[25] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/countering-false-vaccine-safety-claims/

[26] https://thehighwire.com/study-cdc-vaccine-schedule-likely-induces-aluminum-toxicity-in-newborns/

[27] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0946672X19305784#bib0130https://thehighwire.com/study-cdc-vaccine-schedule-likely-induces-aluminum-toxicity-in-newborns/

[28] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/25-reasons-to-avoid-the-gardasil-vaccine/

[29] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/vaccines-and-the-liberal-mind/

[30] Moskowitz, Richard, Vaccines – A Reappraisal. New York, New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2017. 29-37. Print.

[31] Moskowitz, Richard, Vaccines – A Reappraisal. New York, New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2017. 29-37. Print.

[32] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/25-reasons-to-avoid-the-gardasil-vaccine/

[33] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/research-reviews/fully-vaccinated-vs-unvaccinated-a-summary-of-the-research/

[34] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/real-life-data-show-that-the-cdc-vaccine-schedule-is-causing-harm/

[35] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/vaccines-and-the-liberal-mind/

[36] Moskowitz, Richard, Vaccines – A Reappraisal. New York, New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2017. 29-42. Print

[37] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/molecular-mimicry-understanding-the-link-between-vaccines-and-autoimmune-disease/

[38] Segal, Y., Shoenfeld, Y. Vaccine-induced autoimmunity: the role of molecular mimicry and immune crossreaction. Cell Mol Immunol 15, 586–594 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/cmi.2017.151

[39] Arumugham V. Bioinformatics and epidemiological evidence link yeast protein containing HPV and Hepatitis B vaccines to numerous autoimmune disorders such as vitiligo, narcolepsy, hypothyroidism, systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. Zenodo 2018. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1435404

[40] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/vaccines-containing-animal-plant-fungal-proteins-cause-autoimmune-diseases-and-cancer/

[41] Cowan, Thomas, Vaccines, Autoimmunity, and the Changing Nature of Childhood Illnesses, White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018. Print.

[42] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/cdc-study-shows-7-7-fold-greater-odds-miscarriage-influenza-vaccine/

[43] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/25-reasons-to-avoid-the-gardasil-vaccine/

[44] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/25-reasons-to-avoid-the-gardasil-vaccine/

[45] https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism.html

[46] Handley, J.B., How to End the Autism Epidemic. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018. 85-89. Print.

[47] Handley, J.B., How to End the Autism Epidemic. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018. 88-93. Print.

[48] Handley, J.B., How to End the Autism Epidemic. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018. 85-88. Print.

[49] Handley, J.B., How to End the Autism Epidemic. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018. 141 – 169. Print.

[50] Handley, J.B., How to End the Autism Epidemic. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018. 150-151. Print.

[51] Handley, J.B., How to End the Autism Epidemic. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018. 141-169. Print.

[52] https://www.icandecide.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/ICAN-AluminumAdjuvant-Autism-2.pdf

Additional Resources

The websites below contain additional information regarding vaccines that you may find helpful.

Children’s Health Defense https://childrenshealthdefense.org/

The HighWire with Del Bigtree https://thehighwire.com/

Informed Consent Action Network https://www.icandecide.org/

National Vaccine Information Center. https://www.nvic.org/

Vaxxter https://vaxxter.com/