Protesters across the state raised their voices against several state bills regarding vaccination of children, calling Thursday Black Out day.

“Parents should have a choice about vaccines that your children receive,” said protestors Holly Phillips.

Protesters in Ithaca, Syracuse, Buffalo, and other cities across the state agree. They don’t want the state to take control over their children’s vaccinations. The vaccines in question are for the flu and HPV, or human papillomavirus.

“There has to be choice on this vaccine, and you can’t exclude children from school if they decide if their parents do a cost benefit analysis and say you know this isn’t really right for my kid right now. If they want to get it when they’re an adult they can go ahead and do that,” said protestor Sujata Gibson.

Three bills currently sit in assembly. One would require the HPV vaccine for all children born after January 1, 2009. Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton co-sponsored that bill. Protesters were outside her office in Ithaca on Thursday morning against it.

“I’m here to respect everybody’s wishes and everybody’s values because we’re all a little bit different. But I’m really here to voice my concern and what’s best for my kids. And I just want to remain to be able to do that in New York State,” said protestor Pamela Cullip. 

Protesters asked Lifton to not vote for the bill, and for her to no longer co-sponsor it.

“We need Barbara Lifton to stand up with us and say, choice is paramount, liability is paramount, let’s make safe vaccines, let’s keep people accountable, and let’s do this through education not force,” said protestor Sujata Gibson.

Lifton says, she has already made a strong written statement in a letter to the assembly, expressing her stance.

“I’ve made clear to the leadership, that if this bill came to the floor of the assembly in any, this year or any time soon, it would not have my support. I would not be voting for this bill,” said Lifton. 

She co-sponsored this bill a decade ago.  In the years since, it has not moved beyond discussion in the assembly. She says there isn’t an expectation this bill will even be voted on anytime soon.

The Center for Disease Control says 12 years of monitoring and research has shown that the HPV vaccine is very safe and effective.