Jessica Biel clarified her stance on vaccinations Thursday after controversy erupted when she was seen lobbying with well-known anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
After Kennedy shared a photo of himself with the actress, the Sinner star took to her Instagram page to say she is not “anti-vaccination,” but instead was lobbying against a proposed California bill that would limit medical exemptions from vaccinations without the approval of a state public health official.
“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,” she wrote.
“My concern with #SB276 is solely regarding medical exemptions,” she added. “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. 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.”
Anti-vaccination stances have been widely controversial in recent weeks in light of a widespread measles outbreak.
Biel, who has a 4-year-old son with Justin Timberlake, has reportedly been against vaccines for her own child, as In Touch Magazine once reported. But she has never publicly spoken about the issue until this week.
Kennedy, for his part, called the actress “courageous” for her stance.
In a statement to NBC News, Kennedy said he is not “anti-vaccination” either, although he has attributed the increased rates of autism in this country to vaccinations, a claim which many doctors and scientists have said is false.
“I am not anti-vaccine. I am calling for safer vaccines and the right for doctors to determine if a patient is at high risk of adverse reactions to vaccines,” he said. “We should all speak out against this clear case of government overreach.”