Actress Jessica Biel is turning progressive heads today with news breaking that she has been lobbying California legislators to shoot down a pro-vaccination measure aimed at ensuring herd immunity against measles.
Jessica Biel palling around with the wrong kind of Kennedy.
From the Daily Beast:
On Tuesday, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental activist whose recent work has focused increasingly on baseless allegations that vaccines are unsafe and can injure a statistically minuscule population of “medically fragile” children, appeared at the California State Assembly beside an unlikely scene partner: actress Jessica Biel. In a series of Instagram posts, first reported in Jezebel by Anna Merlan, the two posed with activists, legislators, and miscellaneous bureaucratic architecture. In the caption, Kennedy called Biel “courageous.”
The duo had come to lobby against SB 276, a California state bill that would limit medical exemptions from vaccinations without approval from a state public-health officer. The bill has been decried by anti-vaxx advocates like Kennedy…
In an Instagram post after The Daily Beast story appeared, Biel denied that she is anti-vaccination.
“I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians,” she wrote.
This is a spin that many vaccine skeptics put on their position—one that scientists say ignores the fact that high rates of vaccination is what creates herd immunity and guards against outbreaks. In fact, a growing number of medical, religious and philosophical exemptions is experts say fueled the recent measles outbreaks that have infected hundreds with a disease once considered eradicated.
Much anti-vaxxer sentiment originated on the right, with Michele Bachmann notably taking an anti-vaxxer stance during 2012 presidential debates and attacking Texas Gov. Rick Perry for supporting an “opt-out” provision with regard to HPV vaccines.
However, in recent years, conservatives have taken pains to depict anti-vaxxer sentiment as a problem emanating from progressive communities, particularly in Marin County, and use it as a way of characterizing progressives as “anti-science”– a tactic that some conservatives seem to think will help them counter progressives’ credibility with regard to topics like climate change.
It’s disappointing to see Biel emulating Bachmann while validating these conservative talking points. We’ll see if her lobbying strategy works in Sacrmento– if it does, expect the “anti-science” attacks on “Hollywood progressives” to increase.