Connecticut lawmakers Tuesday voted to repeal the religious exemption for vaccines for all Connecticut students, from daycare through higher education.

House Bill 6423, “An Act Concerning Immunization,” passed by a vote of 22 – 14 after about nine hours of debate. The bill passed almost along party lines, with all but two Democrats in favor of removing the exemption, and all Republicans against. Two lawmakers, both Democrats, abstained.

The bill includes an amendment which allows students who had exemptions on file prior to the bill passing to remain in school. However future Connecticut students of any age will now be required to be fully vaccinated per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended schedule.

Wasting no time, Gov. Ned Lamont signed the bill today.

Proud to sign this bill into law to protect as many of our school children as possible from infectious diseases as we can. pic.twitter.com/5XMHAUR9VO

— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) April 28, 2021

Attorneys representing health freedom advocates and other opponents said they will bring legal actions to challenge the bill. Connecticut activists groups joined Children’s Health Defense in calling on the media to investigate if pharmaceutical money pouring into the state legislature had any influence on the vote.

Nearly 5,000 activists gathered Tuesday at the state Capitol to encourage legislators to vote no on the bill. The day began and ended with comments from several Connecticut legislators who told the crowd why they strongly opposed this bill.

Some legislators spoke of their opposition to government infringement on parental rights, religious freedoms and bodily autonomy. Others spoke to the issue of parents not being able to find medical doctors who will provide medical exemptions, even if their children were already injured by vaccines.

“We are at a critical time when our rights concerning freedom, religious freedom, and even the freedom to express one’s position or faith is being stripped away from us,” said Dr. Aaron Lewis, senior pastor at Family of God Church in Hartford. “Without immediate intervention, I’m afraid that the freedoms we’ve enjoyed will cease to be forever.”

Opponents of the bill reminded lawmakers that serious injuries and death following vaccines can and do happen. They pointed out that many of today’s vaccines use aborted fetal cell lines including W 38, a female, and MRC-5, a male. These immortalized cell lines can trigger chronic health conditions. Some priests and even the New Orleans archdiocese are urging Catholics to avoid the vaccines tainted with aborted cell lines.

“Pro-choice doesn’t always mean anti-vaccine,” LeeAnn Ducat, founder of Informed Choice for Connecticut, told the crowd. “A lot of the people here actually did vaccinate their kids and then stopped when they thought something was wrong. Their doctors may or may not have agreed with them. But based on their experience, they chose not to continue with the vaccination schedule.”

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman of Children’s Health Defense, thanked the crowd for “coming here to fight for our children, for our Constitutional rights, for our democratic values and for our country.” He ended with: “We are going to stand firm, we are going to remember what our ancestors did for us. We are going to fight for these rights, for our country, for medical freedom against the pharmaceutical cartel.”

In addition to Kennedy, Lewis and Ducat, speakers included: Del Bigtree, founder and host of the HighWire and founder of Informed Consent Action Network; attorney Mary Holland, Children’s Health Defense president and general Counsel; constitutional attorney James Mermigis; attorney Kevin Barry; attorney Lindy Urso; and Kevin Jenkins of Urban Health Alliance.

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