Rep. David Welter files bill to defend parental choice in medical decisions

Bill would prohibit any agency from requiring a minor to obtain a health care service or take a health-related precaution, including facial masking or vaccination

MORRIS – State Representative David Welter, R-Morris, has filed new legislation in the Illinois General Assembly to defend the right of parents to make medical decisions for their children.

The legislation, House Bill 4149, would prohibit the State or any local entity, agency, institution, official, or person from requiring a minor to obtain a health care service or take a health-related precaution, including facial masking or vaccination. If passed and signed into law, any person aggrieved by a violation would have a right of action in a State circuit court against an offending State or local entity, agency, institution, official, or person. A parent whose case prevailed would be entitled to recover damages in the amount of $1,000 per day for the duration of a violation.

“Protecting public health and respecting individual freedom are not mutually exclusive priorities. Both are essential to our democracy and the well-being of our communities,” Rep. Welter said. “I am deeply concerned that parental rights are not being taken into consideration by those advocating one-size-fits-all mandates with regard to COVID mitigation. These actions are setting a dangerous precedent that threaten to eradicate the role of parents in all future public health situations beyond COVID. I cannot stand by and be silent in the face of this fundamental threat to our democracy that would deny a parent the ability to make medical decisions for their child.”

Rep. Welter tested positive for COVID-19 in October, 2020, and publicly shared his status, including the symptoms he experienced. He is fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and has encouraged voluntary vaccination ever since vaccines became available. During the first months of the COVID-19 outbreak, Rep. Welter sponsored a cloth mask collection drive at his district office in Morris, which he then distributed to local individuals and organizations who had reached out requesting them. During his cloth mask collection drive, Rep. Welter shared the specific CDC guidelines for how to make and wear a homemade face covering. Welter has met with local hospital and health department officials and frontline health care workers throughout the pandemic, publicly praising and supporting their efforts.

For questions or more information, please call Rep. Welter’s office at (815) 416-1475.