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Terrorism: CDC's Model State Emergency Health Powers Act May Terrorize
To combat bioterrorism, federal health officials have proposed that state legislators give state health officials new powers over citizens. The powers proposed in the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act would be broad and sweeping, forcing citizens to submit to physical examinations, tests, quarantine and vaccinations against their will.
Some states, including Minnesota, are already considering enactment in 2002.
Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC), a Minnesota based health lobby is concerned that the proposal would provide intrusive authority for purposes far beyond bioterrorism. According to press accounts, the writing of the Act began well before September 11th - the day of the terrorist attack.
"Unfortunately, the terrorist attack and the public's new awareness of bioterrorism have given public health officials new ammunition to advance their pet projects of health care surveillance and mandatory vaccination," says Twila Brase, president of CCHC.
Of particular concern in the Act are the following provisions:
Loss of Civil Rights
Medical Privacy Violations
The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, prepared for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was written by Lawrence O. Gostin, J.D., Professor and Director of the Center for Law and the Public's Health at Georgetown University Law Center. It is meant to provide a template for state legislation. A draft version of the Act was released October 23, 2001.
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