As a registered nurse for nearly 17 years, I am appalled at the lack of empathy and knowledge that has resulted in the passage of a law that mandates vaccination for all Maine students and medical professionals. Missing just one vaccination by informed choice will result in a health care worker losing their job or a student losing the right to an education for preschool, college, online school or K-12.

This March, voters will have an opportunity to correct this disgraceful violation of basic human rights by voting “yes on 1.” As a nurse, I know that a patient of sound mind has the right to refuse a treatment, a medication or a recommendation. Removing a patient’s or parent’s right to refuse is a serious ethical violation of our profession; medical tyranny has now become state law due to the consequences of refusal. Both the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association mandate patient autonomy as a basic ethical right.

Patients have the right to informed consent and the right to have their decisions honored for themselves and their children. We must inform our patients of risk and benefits; we also must accept their decision to reject our recommendations, regardless of our opinion.

Vaccines aren’t safe for everyone. Where there is risk, there must be choice. Vote “yes” on 1 in March.

Susan Anderson, R.N.


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