Oregon's SB 526 has gained much controversy. The bill, if passed, is supposed to implement home visits by nurses/other-medical-professionals to families with newborn children. According to Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, new parents would receive 2 or 3 visits from one of these medical practitioners who would would screen the babies' health, vaccinate them, and perhaps also hook the parents up with other doctors.

Proponents of the bill support it because they say that it would reduce infant mortality by making sure babies get the treatment they need.

Opponents say that the bill will be used as a backdoor to force children into the foster care system. They say "parents today face a very real risk of losing their children to Child Protection Services if they dare to question a doctor’s advice regarding medical procedures, or even wanting to seek a second medical opinion." (medicalkidnap.com)

So, would these medical visits be voluntary or involuntary? On the one hand, the bill (with the Senate Amendments dated March 26) states:

The services included in the program must:

(a) Be voluntary and carry no negative consequences for a family that declines to participate;

On the other hand, the medicalkidnap.com article is titled, "Oregon to Become First State to Mandate Universal Home Visits of All Families with Newborn Children."

Life Site News has a similar article, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/oregon-governor-supports-mandatory-govt-visits-for-all-newborns-and-their-p, titled (at least as of 5/17/19) "Oregon governor supports ‘universal’ gov’t visits for all newborns and their parents." Notice that the URL includes the word "mandatory," even though the title of the article does not.

What's the deal? If SB 526 is passed, would these medical visits be mandatory or not? If not, what's the big scare? Is there a loophole in the law which would allow it to be abused, de facto? If parents decline to participate, could Child Protection Services de facto take custody of the children under the pretext that the parents are "refusing medical treatment?" Even though the law purports to be "voluntary?"

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    It sounds like you answer your own question... a good answer will simply quote the text of the bill that you already quoted. The word "voluntary" appears several times in the bill when describing the program. I wouldn't trust any website called "medicalkidnap", personally. – GendoIkari May 17 '19 at 14:35
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    As for the URL in the second article, that's because the title was changed to be corrected; it says this in a footnote at the bottom. – GendoIkari May 17 '19 at 14:38
  • It's possible to reconcile this by saying "The visits are voluntary, but if you accept them, and you then ignore what you're told, then Child Services may get involved". No idea if that's actually accurate, but it makes sense. – Bobson May 21 '19 at 16:15

As you've nicely pointed out in your question, the bill repeatedly states that this program must be voluntary:

The authority shall design, implement and maintain a voluntary statewide program


(5) The services provided in the program must:

(a) Be voluntary and carry no negative consequences for a family that declines to participate;

Importantly, it also mandates that insurers cannot require participation or penalize people who do not:

Carriers [defined as any person who provides health benefit plans in this state] must offer the services in their health benefit plans but enrollees are not required to receive the services as a condition of coverage and may not be penalized or in any way discouraged from declining the services

Since a child who may not be receiving vaccinations and proper preventative care is likely to be more expensive to cover, this is a likely "backdoor" way for this to become mandatory. This law, however, explicitly bans this practice.

There is still some ambiguity, as this program doesn't exist yet – this law only directs the Oregon Health Authority to design and implement it, based on the criteria listed in the law. Still, if the program that was eventually designed and implemented was in any way mandatory, it would be in clear violation of the bill that authorizes its existence, and it would be easy to challenge those provisions in court.

So, with all this said, why does the website you linked to claim otherwise? If you look at the article on Health Impact News, you'll see a repeated theme:

coordinating the myriad childhood immunizations that babies need. (Emphasis added.)

Bigger Market for Vaccines? Would Parents Lose Their Children if They Refuse Doctor’s Advice?

At two months, nurses and families could discuss the many vaccines that baby’s face. (Emphasis added.)

What would happen to parents who want to delay vaccines, or opt out of them completely at 2 months of age?

This site seems decidedly anti-vaccine, and their primary concern seems to be rooted mainly in the fear that more parents will be encouraged to use vaccines, which they believe to be dangerous.

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