Sen. Nelson now a target of tinfoil-hat conservatives

Posted Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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kennedy The tinfoil-hat brigade is raging in Austin again, and at an unlikely target.

As if the United Nations, smart meters, the new school curriculum and creeping Shariah weren't keeping conspiracy hobbyists busy, now they're worried Texas teenage girls might get their shots.

The headline flashed first on conspiracy-theory pages Wednesday, then around the Twittersphere: "Texas Moves To Forcibly Inoculate Children."

Within moments, libertarian and Ron Paul-backing websites were streaming headlines such as: "MEDICAL TYRANNY HAS ARRIVED."

This "tyrant" is not your garden-variety Austin commie pinko.

Of all the dizzy leaders in Austin, conspiracy geeks picked on state Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound).

Nelson's Senate Bill 63 does not exactly look like the stuff of patriot-movement panic.

Nine paragraphs long, it gives teen parents -- and only parents -- the authority to get immunizations.

A writer for Austin-based Truthstream News, part of entertainer Alex Jones' theatrical empire, wrote that the bill will "usurp parental rights" by giving teen mothers "potentially lethal pharmaceuticals."

Listing hysterical fears about vaccines, the story accused Texas of pushing "deadly chemicals" on "unsuspecting members of our society."

As chair of the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee, it was Nelson who led the effort to overturn Gov. Rick Perry's 2011 order mandating the HPV vaccine.

But she consistently lobbies for Texas to improve the child vaccination rate, which has hovered near a pathetic 75 percent.

Nelson was traveling Thursday, but an aide sent along her testimony from a hearing.

Nelson said the bill is meant to protect infants and unborn children from their parents' diseases. She has amended it to include only Centers for Disease Control-recommended immunizations.

"By allowing pregnant minors and minors who are already parents to consent ... we can better protect children," she said.

That doesn't sound like tyranny.

At one of the more conspiracy-minded activist groups, Dallas-based Texas Eagle Forum, President Cathie Adams said she hadn't heard complaints.

"But I'd say it doesn't matter if the mother is pregnant -- to grant a minor child authority without parental consent is frightening," she said.

I'd be more frightened if they didn't get their shots.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538

Twitter: @budkennedy

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