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Action Alert
CDC proposes drastic increase in power to force treatment
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     The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a proposed set of rules, Control of Communicable Disease proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services on 8/15/2106, that will greatly expand the authority of federal government agents to arrest, quarantine, vaccinate and compel medical treatment to prevent the possible spread of communicable diseases. The CDC provides no justification why current authority is insufficient to deal with any anticipated public health threat. Or why this unconscionable expansion of their police powers is needed for public health. Please do everything you can do stop the adoption of these rules.

     The Federal government has had this type of authority for a long time, but the proposed rules drastically lowers the threshold when this authority can be used and expands the circumstances when force can be used. Traditionally, draconian procedures were intended for use during the outbreak of a deadly communicable disease such as small pox. The CDC, however, cites the outbreak of about 150 cases of measles at Disneyland in 2015 when no one died, there were a handful of hospitalizations and vaccines did not protect against the exotic strain of measles that caused the outbreak as a reason why they need this authority. They even cite chicken pox as a disease that could justify using these proposed powers.

     The rules are written so broadly that they could be applied to anyone at anytime in the US. They apply to all international travellers, and if authorities believe a person has a communicable disease and they may travel to another state they can enforce these rules. People can be held for 72 hours without access to a lawyer. Failure to comply can be met with forced vaccination and other medical procedures. The new rules state "the individual’s consent shall not be considered a prerequisite to any exercise of any authority." Compliance will also be enforced with fines of $100,000 or more, and prison sentences.

   The rules also seek to enlist airlines and other travel-related companies as enforcers, requesting the reporting of passengers with rashes, coughs, diarrhea and other symptoms of illness for investigation by health authorities.

     This is a radical increase in the police powers of the CDC, and expansion of the situations where the CDC may choose to apply these powers. Yet no compelling reasons been provided to justify this reduction in our rights. Please do everything you can to oppose these rules.

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