Jessica Biel Insists She's "Not Against Vaccinations"

The actress explained her controversial lobbying against California's anti-vaccine bill.

Just hours after Jessica Biel raised eyebrows by seemingly becoming the latest Hollywood star to lend a voice to anti-vaccine views when she joined Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to lobby against a California bill that would limit medical exemptions for immunizations without approval from a public health officer, the actress took to Instagram to clarify her position.

"I am not against vaccinations — I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians," Biel wrote in part.

She explained that her "concern" with the bill "is solely regarding medical exemptions."

"My dearest friends have a child with a medical condition that warrants an exemption from vaccinations, and should this bill pass, it would greatly affect their family's ability to care for their child in this state," she wrote. "That's why I spoke to legislators and argued against this bill. Not because I don't believe in vaccinations, but because I believe in giving doctors and the families they treat the ability to decide what's best for their patients and the ability to provide that treatment."

Biel was accompanied in her visit to California's capitol on Tuesday by Kennedy, who has campaigned against vaccines.

The bill, SB 276, which is making its way through the California legislature, is designed to crack down on doctors who provide what sponsoring senator Richard Pan calls fake medical exemptions. The co-sponsors are the California Medical Association; American Academy of Pediatrics, California; and Vaccinate California.

After reports of Biel's Sacramento appearance surfaced on Wednesday (Kennedy posted a photo of the two of them on Instagram), the actress, who has a son with husband Justin Timberlake, was quickly criticized by Twitter commentators for having seemingly joined stars like Jenny McCarthy in voicing anti-vaccination views that are firmly rejected by scientific experts.

While the U.S. is currently in the midst of the worst measles outbreak in more than 20 years, California has been spared the worst of it, and experts believe recent efforts to tighten the state's vaccination laws, enacted following a measles outbreak at Disneyland, has helped.

Read Biel's full post below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This week I went to Sacramento to talk to legislators in California about a proposed bill. I am not against vaccinations — I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians. My concern with #SB277 is solely regarding medical exemptions. My dearest friends have a child with a medical condition that warrants an exemption from vaccinations, and should this bill pass, it would greatly affect their family's ability to care for their child in this state. That's why I spoke to legislators and argued against this bill. Not because I don't believe in vaccinations, but because I believe in giving doctors and the families they treat the ability to decide what's best for their patients and the ability to provide that treatment. I encourage everyone to read more on this issue and to learn about the intricacies of #SB277. Thank you to everyone who met with me this week to engage in this important discussion!

A post shared by Jessica Biel (@jessicabiel) on