Jessica Biel Lobbies with Anti-Vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Against New Vaccination Bill
"Please say thank you to the courageous @jessicabiel for a busy and productive day at the California State House," Kennedy Jr. wrote of the actress
There is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
On Tuesday, Kennedy Jr., 65, shared a slideshow of photos of himself and Biel, 37, posing alongside activists and legislators.
“Please say thank you to the courageous @jessicabiel for a busy and productive day at the California State House,” Kennedy Jr. wrote of the actress, who is married to singer Justin Timberlake, 38. The couple share 4-year-old son Silas Randall.
Biel and Kennedy Jr. lobbied against SB 276, a California state bill that would limit medical exemptions from vaccinations without approval from a state public health officer.
The bill would require the State Department of Public Health to develop a statewide standardized medical exemption request form made available for use by licensed physicians and surgeons.
The bill would require “the State Public Health Officer or the public health’s officer’s designee to approve or deny a medical exemption request, upon determining that the request provides sufficient medical evidence that the immunization is contraindicated or that a specific precaution regarding a particular immunization exists, based on guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” the bill states.
When asked to describe Biel’s involvement, Kennedy Jr. explained to The Daily Beast the actress is “for safe vaccines and for medical freedom.”
He told the outlet that his and Biel’s issue with the bill “is that a doctor who has made a determination — if he has found children in this state whose doctors have determined that they’re too fragile vaccinations — this bill would overrule the doctors and force them to be vaccinated anyways.” (Children would not be immediately forced to get the vaccine — the bill would require a second exemption from the Department of Health to bypass vaccination).
“She has friends who have been vaccine-injured who would be forced to leave the state,” he claimed.
Multiple large studies have confirmed that vaccines are safe and do not cause autism, but anti-vaxxers and religious groups have rallied against vaccines as misinformation spreads online. Over the last year, there has been a 30 percent increase in measles cases worldwide and deadly outbreaks in areas with large amounts of unvaccinated children. In the U.S., the number of measles cases in 2019 is now up to 1,022, as of June 6, the most in over 25 years. Though measles was considered eradicated in 2000 with the advent of the measles vaccine, the U.S. may lose that status if the outbreak continues.
Kennedy Jr. has been a controversial figure in the anti-vaxxer movement after making claims that vaccines can cause autism, ADHD, ADD and speech delay, The Daily Beast reported in February.
In 2015, a source told InTouch Weekly that Biel “feels that vaccination could cause complications.” However, she has never publicly stated her position on vaccinating children against diseases.
A representative for Biel did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.