Voting Yes on 1 means restoring Maine’s previous law allowing students to attend schools using religious and philosophical exemptions. It restores medical freedom and bodily autonomy to parents and childcare workers. While there is more than one reason to Vote Yes on 1, maintenance of informed consent is one of the most critical.

According to the American Medical Association at ama-assn.org,“Informed consent to medical treatment is fundamental in both ethics and law. … right to receive information and ask questions about recommended treatments so that they can make well-considered decisions about care. … The process of informed consent … results in the patient’s authorization or agreement to undergo a specific medical intervention.”

The two main points to consider in the above statement are: “make well-considered decisions” and “patient’s authorization or agreement to undergo a specific medical intervention.” It is important to be clear – vaccination is medical intervention with risks as well as possible benefits. Removing a student’s right to attend an accredited school, including online, negates the choice that underlies informed consent.

At appointments, there is little time to ask detailed questions, providers don’t have all the answers and the information received (an oversimplified Center for Disease Control colored handout), provides only a partial view. True receipt of information and asking questions does not happen – and does not include possible risks.

Patients should be provided the full vaccine insert electronically in advance of appointments, so patients could review and ask questions. Having experience with multiple providers, the vaccination information process is rushed and opaque.

When the consequence for being off on one vaccine – or even one dose of the 69 doses of vaccines by age 18 – means expulsion from school, that is coercion.

At the dentist, I can refuse fluoride and X-rays on a yearly basis (informed consent), but I will not be able to refuse one vaccine without being denied school?

So, please vote Yes on 1, Tuesday, March 3.

Lauren Bodenski
Cape Elizabeth