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Vaccines, Bodily Autonomy, NYS Assembly bill 11179

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

By Emily Foster

The Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York endeavors to cultivate a political social and economic climate that upholds every citizen's civil liberties, including for those of our minority community. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York another battle to uphold our civil liberties.

The right to bodily autonomy under vaccine distribution should be a basic right to any society. Any vaccination that has not been thoroughly tested is experimental, the vaccine’s creator should be liable for adverse effects, and the experimental vaccine should not be mandated on a free people. At Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York, we will uphold every citizen’s right to informed consent.

Because of our stance on civil liberties for many years, Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York will be opposed to NYS Assembly bill 11179.

A11179 mandates that every person in New York State will receive a vaccination, except those who are exempt due to medical conditions. Because this vaccine has been rushed, there can be no comprehensive scientific finding that would allow a fair opportunity for exemption from this vaccine.

We have seen that, throughout history, people have been used as test subjects by their own government. One specific example of this experimentation was on the infamous Tuskegee airmen. The horrific abuse of the black and brown community in Alabama was lightened by black nurse named Eunice Rivers. Eunice Rivers was used to administer the experimental syphilis vaccine on her trusting African American brothers. More recently, Governor Cuomo used the same imagery to assure the black and brown community of the Covid-19 vaccine’s safety.

The image of a caring black nurse was once again used to ease fears and administer an experimental vaccine into the arms of the minority community. We have yet to see the long-term effects of the experimental Covid-19 vaccination.

Every American – not only New Yorkers – should question the Supreme Court’s ruling in 1986 that exempts vaccine companies from liability for adverse reactions to their vaccines.

If New York State mandates that every person has a vaccine, then New York State must take on that liability. Any other course of action would make New York State an experimental, genocidal, or authoritarian regime. With vaccine manufacturer Merck positioned in Albany, it is of no question that vaccine companies are lobbying diligently to make merchandise of New York State residents’ health. It is highly unlikely that Merck has New York State residents’ health as their optimum priority.

Assembly bill 11172 does uphold New York State citizens’ right to informed choice during a COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The question if New York State residents should have a vaccine plan for COVID-19 should be addressed. Instead of vaccines being pushed on a population, there should be educational programs and information provided to the residents so they can make an informed decision. Every New York State citizen is responsible to keep themselves healthy. During his press conferences, Cuomo has said that we (NYS residents) do not have the right to get people sick. At the same time, NYS does not have the right to lock up healthy people. The issue of vaccination should be addressed by the residents of New York. If we are to keep our society free, then individuals must be informed, educated, and encouraged to keep themselves and their families healthy. Vaccination is just one avenue an individual may take to reach that goal. However, it should be their choice and not their obligation.

At Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York, we encourage citizens to become active in the political process. As New York State residents, we have the responsibility now more than ever to keep our elected officials accountable. The state is given the power that we the people give to them. Please contact your representative ( and let him know your thoughts on bill 11172 and bill 11179. Visit to find more information on these specific bills.

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