>(This is an awesome letter by Dr. Jane Orient to Dr. Sam Katz regarding his
>"misguided" information on the ABC NEWS Nightline piece...)
>Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
>1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9
>Tucson, AZ 85716-3450
>October 25, 1999
>Dr. Samuel L. Katz
>Wilburt C. Davison, Professor
>Duke University Medical Center
>Box 2925
>Durham, NC 27710
>Dear Dr. Katz:
>Last night I received a phone call from Barbara Alexander Mullarkey, who was
>present at the recent meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization
>Practices. She tells me that you stated that I wrongfully accused the CDC of
>threatening to remove children from the custody of their parents if they
>failed to receive a recommended vaccine. You stated that the CDC did no such
>thing. Moreover, you stated (according to Mrs. Mullarkey) that the ABC
>Nightline program had been taped and that portion of my remark had been
>edited out taped. Mrs. Mullarkey asked me to verify these statements.
>I told her that the program had been taped, but the remark in question had
>not been edited. I did not accuse the CDC, but merely stated that parents
>had reported to me that such events were happening.
>It appeared to me that you felt that it was outrageous for a parent to be
>threatened in this way, and that vaccines were always a matter of informed
>consent. The very concept of consent, of course, implies that one may
>withhold such consent.
>Do you see it as your duty as a physician to try to persuade patients and
>their parents to follow your recommended course of treatment? Or do you see
>it as your role as a protector of the public health to use the required
>degree of coercion to get them to comply, even if they for some reason
>believe that it is not in their own best interest to do so?
>Returning to the question that I did ask you on Nightline, which was indeed
>edited out of the tape, would you take any action if you discovered that
>parents were being threatened with the loss of their children (and children
>were being threatened with the loss of their parents, perhaps the most
>frightening possibility that a child ever faces)? I realize that neither you
>nor the CDC has any jurisdiction over Child Protective Services. However, I
>believe that you are extremely influential. Would you be willing to write
>and sign a statement to the effect that immunizations are strongly
>recommended, but they are given with informed consent, and that refusal of
>consent does not constitute child abuse or neglect?
>I understand that Nightline has received quite a number of statements from
>parents would have been threatened by Child Protective Services. Contact
>with CPS, as you certainly know, is a very intimidating experience for any
>parent. At the very least, it may mean emotional upheaval, and it is quite
>likely to mean thousands of dollars in legal expenses and a cloud of
>suspicion that may never be fully dispelled.
>I believe that you are in a position to be extremely helpful to parents who
>are threatened by heavy-handed government enforcement in an area that should
>be a matter of private decisionmaking in the jurisdiction of the family. I
>believe that millions of parents are waiting for you to speak out.
>By the way, I am sure that you are also aware that the proponents of
>vaccines are certainly losing credibility, as parents learn that the
>vaccines are, in effect, being imposed by force. Evidently, the proponents
>have not been successful in persuading all parents that the benefits of all
>vaccines outweigh the risks. In other words, the successes of smallpox and
>polio vaccine in the past do not convince them that every single vaccine
>that is being given to their child is of equal merit. They suspect that some
>of them may be like rotavirus vaccine. And if you will not stand up for the
>truth in the matter of harassment by CPS, why should parents believe you on
>any other subject?
>I look forward to your prompt and responsive reply.
>Sincerely yours,
>Jane M. Orient, M.D.
>Executive Director
>pc: Mrs. Barbara Alexander-Mullarkey
>P.O. Box 946
>Oak Park, IL 60303
>Ted Koppel ABC Nightline

Mother Loses Round in Controversial Custody Hearing