Take Action to Shape Public Policy that Affects our Kids

Politics and Pediatrics

Pediatrics and politics might not seem like things that go together well, but long before Dr. Benjamin Spock ran for President of the United States in 1972, getting 78,000 votes, good politicians have known that our children should always be a priority.

From early laws restricting child labor and the creation of Medicaid to the Polio Vaccination Assistance Act, many laws have helped keep kids safe and healthy.

And as you can see with all of the new legislation that the American Academy of Pediatrics is currently supporting, sometimes things do still get done in Congress. Well, that may be going too far. Our representatives seem to be good at writing and introducing new bills - getting the good ones passed is another story.


In the Spotlight - California SB 277

Welcome to California
California is experiencing a statewide epidemic of pertussis, which has already led to two infant deaths. Photo by Getty Images

A pediatrician in California has been working to make sure children are well protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.

No, it's not Dr. Bob Sears or Dr. Jay Gordon, who actually use misinformation about vaccines to scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids. It is Dr. Richard Pan, who is also a California Senator and who recently introduced Senate Bill 277.

With SB 277, California would join over 35 other states in not only requiring vaccines for school, but only allowing medical exemptions and religious exemptions.

SB 277 is not about forced vaccinations. It is about closing an exemption loophole that has led to large clusters of intentionally unvaccinated children in many parts of the state.

Take action and help get SB 277 passed. Dr. Bob, who claims that he is not anti-vaccine, is certainly taking action to make sure it doesn't pass, including rallying on the Capitol steps with RFK, Jr, Brian Hooker, and other notoriously anti-vaccine folks.

Dr. Bob continues to push the idea that SB 277 will take away your "freedom to choose," but rather than joining him, your best choice is to ignore him and others who say that measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases are harmless and that it is safer to skip or delay your child's vaccines.

Get Educated. Get Vaccinated. Stop the Outbreaks.


American Academy of Pediatrics

Your baby will get a thorough checkup and his vaccines and his four-month well child visit.
Your baby will get a thorough checkup and his vaccines at his four-month well child visit with his pediatrician. Photo © Photodisc / Getty Images

Not surprisingly, the AAP "advocates for the health of all children, and works with government, communities and other national organizations to shape many child health and safety issues."

From gun violence prevention and ensuring access to care, the AAP is a strong advocate for our children.

Among the legislation that is important to children's health and safety that the AAP is currently supporting includes:

  • the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (has passed the House) #ExtendCHIP #CHIPworks
  • the Detergent Poisoning and Child Safety Act of 2015​
  • the Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015​
  • the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act​
  • the School Food Modernization (SFMA) Act​
  • the Summer Meals Act of 2015​
  • the Farm to School Act of 2015​
  • the Preserving Antibiotics for Medical Treatment (PAMTA) Act
  • the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act of 2015
  • the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015​

Do you support these issues? If so, take action now and let your representatives know and urge them to vote to pass these important bills.​


Vaccine Laws

lthough most people think that vaccines are covered by state laws, there are some federal vaccine laws too, such as the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA).

Most laws about vaccine requirements do fall under state vaccine laws though, with:

  • all 50 states having vaccine laws requiring students to have vaccines to attend school, but allowing medical exemptions
  • 45 states having vaccine laws allowing religious exemptions
  • 15 states having vaccine laws allowing personal belief exemptions

New vaccine laws are being proposed in many states to address the rise in personal belief exemptions and the rise in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.


Vote 4 Autism

April is National Autism Awareness Month
April is National Autism Awareness Month. Photo courtesy of the Autism Society

Vote 4 Autism is an advocacy campaign of the Autism Society. They work to "support initiatives of any scale that will help the autism community!"

Although the Autism CARES Act of 2014 was signed in law, more work needs to be done.

The Autism Society also recently advocated for:


Child Safety

From strong bike helmet laws to supporting strong state and federal funding for child safety programs, Safe Kids Worldwide and other groups advocate for child safety issues.


Children's Defense Fun

The Children's Defense Fund is working to end child poverty, ensure every child has access to health care, provide quality early childhood experiences, and protect children from abuse and neglect, etc.


Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is advocating for many gun safety laws that will help protect our children from gun violence, including:

  • universal background checks

Take Action

Take action and let your representatives know that you support these important new laws.

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Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Parry M. Benjamin Spock: Pediatrician and Anti-War ActivistAm J Public Health. 2011;101(5):802-803. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2010.191403

  2. California Legislative Information. SB-277 Public health: vaccinations. (2015-2016)

  3. National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL). States With Religious and Philosophical Exemptions From School Immunization Requirements. Updated January 29, 2021.

  4. Health Resources & Services Administration. About the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Updated December 2020.

  5. Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2014. S.2449. 113th Congress (2013-2014)