Are You Ready for Ebola?

October 1, 2014

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Ebola has officially arrived in the United States. An infected man traveling from Liberia was diagnosed in Texas. A person close to him may also be infected. Officials assure the American public that Ebola is not easily spread; that it requires close contact with bodily fluids. They say the disease is contained to the man’s family and close friends. They are monitoring 12-18 people so far, including five children.

Could Ebola jeopardize your freedom in unexpected ways? Many states, including Texas, have enacted a version of the controversial “Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA),” which was published by HHS in the wake of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attack on American soil. Its preamble states:
“In the wake of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, our nation realizes that the government’s foremost responsibility is to protect the health, safety, and well being of its citizens. ...”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services may have been looking for a national crisis to impose health powers on Americans. As we discovered in our research, HHS paid Professor Lawrence Gostin $300,000 a year for three years to create the model Act. And less than two months after the terrorist attack, a draft was issued.
CCHF has an entire health powers webpage devoted to exposing government encroachment under the guise of “public health.” Your donation of $25 today will help us continue this vital work to protect you against overreaching “health powers.”
Following Gostin’s Model Act word for word, the 2002 Minnesota MSEHPA bill, HF 2619, began with a list of seven purposes, including:
“(1) authorize the collection of data and records, the control of property, the management of persons, and access to communications.”
The proposed powers were extensive. They included:
  • Required reporting of diagnoses, lab tests, and increased medication use.
  • National Guard and law enforcement under authority of state health commissioner.
  • Quarantine for the not-yet-sick (in-home or other facilities).
  • Isolation for the infected or those suspected of illness.
  • Individuals examined, tested, vaccinated and treated without consent.
  • Guns could be confiscated.
  • Police empowered to use firearms to impose quarantine and isolation.
  • Hospitals and medical supplies (medication, ventilators, staff) placed under state control for rationing treatment.
  • Commandeering of vehicles, businesses and other property.
  • Limits on transportation, movement, and public gatherings.
  • Rationing of food, fuel, clothing, firearms, ammunition, any other commodities.
  • Health officials given temporary authority over legislature and Governor
In 2002, a battle ensued nationwide over MSEHPA legislation. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) led the opposition in many states, informing legislators about the dangers to freedom, property and individual rights.
CCHF testified and lobbied against the 2002 Minnesota bill. We warned that quarantine was not without its risks if the symptom-free, but soon-to-be-ill are there too. The bill passed but we had some success. For example, much of the heavy-handed language was deleted, people got the right to enter (and stay in) quarantine to be with their family members, and we succeeded in prohibiting citizens from being examined, treated, vaccinated and tested against their will.
A public health website, updated in January 2010, says thirty-eight (38) states have passed 66 bills or resolutions that “include provisions from or closely related to the Act.” As of August 1, 2011, another site says only 10 states do not have some elements of the federal proposal. But just today, Democrats in Congress wrote they want to shore up the public health system.
If Ebola spreads, government persuasion and prudence will be the most effective “power.”  Americans respond well to information and poorly to massive shows of government force -- as the police discovered in Ferguson, Missouri. In Liberia, we saw photos of troops shooting people fleeing quarantine because they had no food. This is not the kind of “health power” we need.
While we wait to see if Ebola is truly contained, citizens should find out what their State government is empowered to do under a “public health emergency.” Talk to your state legislators now about what the law could mean to your freedom, rights and safety if Ebola is not contained and shows up in your state.
Working for freedom’s cause,
Twila Brase, RN, PHN
President and Co-founder