After Jessica Biel joined Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Wednesday in speaking out against a pro-vaccine bill, she was slammed online when plenty of people assumed she was against vaccinations for children.
Kennedy Jr. told The Daily Beast that Biel, 37, is "for safe vaccines and for medical freedom," implying that she may not totally be against all vaccinations in general.
Thursday morning, Biel clarified her beliefs in a lengthy Instagram post. Captioning a photo of her standing outside the California State House in Sacramento, Biel wrote, "I am not against vaccinations — I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians."
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She added that she her concern with the specific bill, SB 276, was with "medical exemptions."
"My dearest friends have a child with a medical condition that warrants an exemption from vaccinations, and should this bill pass, it would greatly affect their family’s ability to care for their child in this state," Biel wrote. "That’s why I spoke to legislators and argued against this bill. Not because I don’t believe in vaccinations, but because I believe in giving doctors and the families they treat the ability to decide what’s best for their patients and the ability to provide that treatment."
The California state bill would limit medical exemptions from vaccinations without approval from a state public health officer. It would require the State Department of Public Health to develop a statewide standardization medical exemption request form made available for use by licensed physicians and surgeons.
Kennedy Jr. said that 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 [for] vaccinations — this bill would overrule the doctors and force them to be vaccinated anyways."
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"She's upset about this issue because of its particular cruelty," he said. "She has friend who have been vaccine-injured who would be forced to leave the state [if the bill passed]."
Many people spoke out on social media after seeing Biel's involvement with Kennedy Jr., who has been a controversial figure in the anti-vaxxer movement after making claims that vaccines can cause autism, ADHD, ADD and speech delay. The Centers for Disease Control reports that there is not scientific link between vaccines and autism.
"This is oblivious, sheltered, idiotic, and irresponsible," one Twitter user wrote alongside a link to an article about Biel's involvement in the bill.
"Rich people are out there causing as many apocalypses as they can at once," another said.
"Who knew I would end the day so mad at Jessica Biel?" someone else wrote.
"Justin Timberlake brought sexy back, and his wife Jessica Biel wants to bring measles back," another quipped.
Biel and Timberlake married in 2012 and welcomed son Silas together in April 2015.