Jessica Biel joins vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy to oppose bill – but says she's not against vaccinations

By Caitlin O'Kane

/ CBS News

Measles outbreak spreads

The California Senate welcomed Jessica Biel on Wednesday to discuss a controversial bill that would limit medical exemptions for vaccinations. Biel joined anti-vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who lobbied against the bill.

Kennedy posted several photos of the actress on Instagram, writing: "Please say thank you to the courageous @jessicabiel for a busy and productive day at the California State House."

View this post on Instagram

Please say thank you to the courageous @jessicabiel for a busy and productive day at the California State House.

A post shared by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (@robertfkennedyjr) on

The bill in question, SB 276, would require California's State Department of Public Health, to develop a more streamlined medical exemption document for vaccinations. Currently, parents in the state who do not want to get their children vaccinated can submit a written statement by a licensed physician explaining why the immunization is not safe for their child.

Trending News

The bill, introduced by State Senator Richard Pan, proposes that by 2021, licensed physicians and surgeons statewide must use a standardized medical exemption request form, and that this form becomes the only one accepted by the state government.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, Biel explained why she personally opposes the bill. "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.

View this post on Instagram

This week I went to Sacramento to talk to legislators in California about a proposed bill. 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. My concern with #SB277 is solely regarding 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. 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. I encourage everyone to read more on this issue and to learn about the intricacies of #SB276. Thank you to everyone who met with me this week to engage in this important discussion!

A post shared by Jessica Biel (@jessicabiel) on

Biel said her concern with SB 276 is in regards to 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," she wrote, explaining this is why she spoke to legislators, arguing against the bill.

She reiterated again that she is not anti-vaccination, and encouraged others to learn more about the issue. Her fellow lobbyist, Kennedy, has argued that vaccines, specifically those containing the element thimerosal, may cause autism, a view unsupported by scientific evidence and dismissed as a conspiracy theory by experts.

In 2018, Kennedy, the son of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy, launched the Children's Health Defense (CHD), an extension of his World Mercury Project, which studied the safety of vaccines. "Our children's ability to develop and thrive is being sabotaged by an avalanche of unprecedented health epidemics now affecting 54% of our children. This is unacceptable," Kennedy said at the time.

In the CHD press release, Kennedy argued that external factors, such as vaccines, were causing not only autism, but autoimmune illnesses, allergies and other conditions in children.

While it has been proven that vaccinations do not cause autism, many so-called "anti-vaxxers" are against immunizations, believing these false claims. Other anti-vaxxers argue they have religious exemptions from vaccines.

10 deadly myths about childhood vaccines 11 photos

It is unclear what Biel said while lobbying with Kennedy at California's capital on Wednesday. In 2015, it was rumored that the actress, who has one son with singer Justin Timberlake, was not planning on vaccinating her child. However, Biel has not explicitly called her self an "anti-vaxxer."

Along with Kennedy, Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey and State Senator Brian Jones also posted photos with Biel during her time at the capital. In a tweet, Jones welcomed both Biel and Kennedy, thanking them "for taking the time to chat about your opposition to #SB276." He also included the hashtag #NoOnSB276.

CBS News reached out to representatives for Biel and Kennedy and is awaiting response.

Welcome to #caleg, @RobertKennedyJr and @JessicaBiel! Thank you for taking the time to chat about your opposition to #SB276. #caleg #NoOnSB276 pic.twitter.com/AkkWRbPSJk

— Brian W. Jones (@SenBrianJones) June 12, 2019

First published on June 13, 2019 / 11:12 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

10 deadly myths about childhood vaccines

Ford recalls 1.3 million Explorer SUVs and F-150 pickups

Automaker cites separate suspension and transmission software issues in recalling two of its most popular vehicles

8M ago

NASA recognizes "Hidden Figures" who helped put men on the moon

NASA named a block in front of its headquarters for the Margot Lee Shetterly memoir and subsequent 2016 Oscar-nominated film about the women who helped put U.S. men on the moon

12M ago

Jessica Biel joins vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy to oppose bill

Biel and Kennedy want to California's capital to lobby against a bill that would limit medical exemptions for vaccines

17M ago

Pelosi speaks after Trump says he would accept election help from foreigners

Members of Congress have criticized the preside for saying that he wouldn't go to the FBI if a foreign actor offered election dirt

updated 7M ago

House Intel subpoenas Michael Flynn, Rick Gates for further testimony

Committee chair Schiff argues they have an obligation to cooperate with Congress and haven't yet "fully" done so

1H ago

NASA recognizes "Hidden Figures" who helped put men on the moon

NASA named a block in front of its headquarters for the Margot Lee Shetterly memoir and subsequent 2016 Oscar-nominated film about the women who helped put U.S. men on the moon

12M ago

Jessica Biel joins vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy to oppose bill

Biel and Kennedy want to California's capital to lobby against a bill that would limit medical exemptions for vaccines

17M ago

Putin says U.S.-Russia relations "getting worse and worse" under Trump

"Our relations with the United States, they are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse," Putin said

35M ago

Pelosi speaks after Trump says he would accept election help from foreigners

Members of Congress have criticized the preside for saying that he wouldn't go to the FBI if a foreign actor offered election dirt

updated 7M ago

House Intel subpoenas Michael Flynn, Rick Gates for further testimony

Committee chair Schiff argues they have an obligation to cooperate with Congress and haven't yet "fully" done so

1H ago

Putin says U.S.-Russia relations "getting worse and worse" under Trump

"Our relations with the United States, they are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse," Putin said

35M ago

Oil prices spike after apparent tanker attack in Gulf of Oman

The market reaction more likely reflects worries over rising tensions in the region than "an immediate impact on oil supplies"

2H ago

New dramatic video shows David Ortiz being shot at point-blank range

New footage shows a meeting between the suspects in two gray cars

3H ago

U.S. official says "highly likely" Iran behind new tanker attacks

U.S. Navy said it was aiding both and a U.S. Defense Dept. source says Iran is the "likely" source of the attacks

2H ago

North Korea skirting sanctions, according to report sent to UN

The Hermit Kingdom is violating sanctions by importing more oil than is permitted by the United Nations, according to a report obtained by CBS News

15H ago

Entertainment

Ramy Youssef on the pressure of being "first"

Comedian Ramy Youssef is the star and co-creator of the popular series "Ramy" on Hulu. It follows a young, practicing Muslim-American as he navigates everything from family pressures to dating. The New York Times called it "a quietly revolutionary comedy." His first HBO comedy special is called "Ramy Youssef: Feelings." Youssef joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss how he dealt with the pressure of being first.

1H ago 07:02

Highest-grossing movies of all time, ranked

What's the highest-grossing movie of all time? It might be one of your favorites

Jun 4 27 photos

Lawyer: Cuba Gooding Jr. won't turn self in

Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. could be charged Thursday for allegedly touching a woman inappropriately at a New York bar. Gooding denies the allegation. Jericka Duncan reports.

2H ago 01:40

Cuba Gooding Jr. accused of groping woman at NYC night spot

29-year-old woman told New York police the actor grabbed her breast while he was intoxicated at a Manhattan night spot

17H ago

The Spice Girls are getting an animated movie

A new movie is coming to spice up your life

17H ago

House holds hearing on "deepfakes" and artificial intelligence

Lawmakers are concerned "deepfakes​" and other types of AI-generated synthetic data pose a threat to the U.S. election system

updated 14M ago

Robocall revenge: Meet the techies turning the tables on scammers

In a video that's received more than 2 million views, a man who calls himself "Jim Browning" infiltrates scammers in India

3H ago

CBS News asks Facebook to remove "deep fake" video of Mark Zuckerberg

As of Wednesday evening, the fake video was still viewable, and Facebook said it had evaluated CBS' claim and found no trademark violation

12H ago

NYC to go another year without new Uber and Lyft drivers

The city had originally banned ride-hail apps from signing new drivers last August as part of a plan to raise pay levels

17H ago

He wants to end "energy poverty" around the globe

More than 1 billion people worldwide don't have access to electricity. Henry Louie wants to change that with microgrids.

Jun 12

Nature up close: Wildlife and the story behind "Taco Bell's Cannon"

Judy Lehmberg explains how a misunderstanding by this classical musical newbie relates to imagery of animals on an unspoiled Earth

6M ago

Earth approaching "meteor swarm" eyed in past impact

Scientists hope to study the Taurid meteor shower closely, in hopes of better predicting the risk of a future impact

Jun 12

Study: Nitrates in drinking water linked to cancers

Environmental Working Group says the chemicals could be to blame for over 12,000 cases of cancer in the U.S. each year

Jun 11

Study: One-sixth of marine life at risk from climate change

The study argues losses could be offset by a reduction in carbon pollution

Jun 11

Canada to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021

Inspired by an earlier EU move, Canada's government may ban items like plastic bags, water bottles, straws and earbuds

Jun 11

Jessica Biel joins vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy to oppose bill

Biel and Kennedy want to California's capital to lobby against a bill that would limit medical exemptions for vaccines

17M ago

First Ebola death reported in Uganda as outbreak spreads

A 5-year-old boy vomiting blood became the first cross-border victim of Ebola in the second-deadliest outbreak in history

22H ago

What couples need to know about male infertility

Fertility is often treated as primarily a women's issue, but a third of the time both men and women contribute to infertility, according to the CDC

22H ago

Why "sorry" is such a loaded word for doctors

Nearly 40 states have laws letting physicians apologize for errors without fear of a lawsuit, but big malpractice payouts remain

Jun 12

Cheerios, Nature Valley cereals contain Roundup ingredient, study finds

An environmental group says its test results show many glyphosate levels above what it considers safe for children

21H ago

Ford recalls 1.3 million Explorer SUVs and F-150 pickups

Automaker cites separate suspension and transmission software issues in recalling two of its most popular vehicles

8M ago

Oil prices spike after apparent tanker attack in Gulf of Oman

The market reaction more likely reflects worries over rising tensions in the region than "an immediate impact on oil supplies"

2H ago

House holds hearing on "deepfakes" and artificial intelligence

Lawmakers are concerned "deepfakes​" and other types of AI-generated synthetic data pose a threat to the U.S. election system

updated 14M ago

NYC to go another year without new Uber and Lyft drivers

The city had originally banned ride-hail apps from signing new drivers last August as part of a plan to raise pay levels

17H ago

Bernie Sanders: Jamie Dimon didn't criticize socialism during Wall St. bailout

JPMorgan CEO rebuked by presidential candidate after saying a socialist course for country would be a "huge mistake"

17H ago

Crime

Protests erupt over Memphis police shooting

A tense standoff between police and residents of a Tennessee neighborhood turned violent overnight after a deadly shooting involving law enforcement. Dozens of protesters took to the streets of Memphis throwing rocks and bricks, injuring at least two dozen officers. The protests started after U.S. marshals shot and killed a man earlier that night. Investigators say the man resisted arrest, and pulled out a weapon.

3H ago 00:27

Defense makes stunning revelation in trial of scholar's brutal death

Attorney for a former University of Illinois doctoral student tells jurors that the defense is admitting that their client kidnapped and killed a visiting Chinese scholar in 2017

4H ago

Deadly police shooting in Memphis leads to anger, unrest

Crowd threw rocks and bricks at officers after U.S. Marshals shot suspect; some 25 officers hurt

4H ago

How to watch "NCIS: The Cases They Can't Forget

The series, hosted by Rocky Carroll, looks at some of the biggest cases handled by the real-life agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service

10H ago

NCIS: Slayings of newlyweds involved "torture, greed"

When NCIS agents and detectives hunt down the killers of a newlywed couple, their identities are almost as shocking as the murders

10H ago

Earth approaching "meteor swarm" eyed in past impact

Scientists hope to study the Taurid meteor shower closely, in hopes of better predicting the risk of a future impact

Jun 12

SpaceX launches 3 Earth-observation satellites

The three Radarsat satellites will monitor resources and the effects of climate change across Canada

Jun 12

Jupiter's largest moons visible with binoculars in June

NASA has a message for space lovers this month: Look up

Jun 11

Unknown mass larger than Hawaii discovered on moon

Scientist think it could be leftover metal from a previous asteroid strike

Jun 11

Trump criticizes NASA moon plans he approved

In a tweet, the president disparaged NASA's moon mission plan that his administration had endorsed

Jun 7

Tony Awards 2019: Red carpet looks from your favorite stars

See Broadway stars walk the red carpet at Radio City Music Hall in New York City at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards

Jun 9 39 photos

Jayme Closs case: Recently released evidence photos

At Jake Patterson's sentencing hearing, prosecutors showed a select few evidence photos to the court and asked that Patterson be sentenced to life in prison for the murders of Jayme Closs' parents and the 13-year-old's kidnapping

Jun 8 14 photos

Summer music 2019

It's summertime – time for music at festivals and venues across the country

Jun 8 35 photos

11 photos of former NICU babies show how far they've come

These babies proudly hold photos of their former selves to celebrate their amazing progress since graduating from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Jun 5 11 photos

Evidence photos in the disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit

Jodi Huisentruit, the morning news anchor at Iowa's KIMT-TV was reported missing on June 27, 1995. Mason City Police are still at work trying to solve this case 23 years later.

Jun 1 26 photos

Popular

Kids with credit cards on the rise

Thinking about getting your teenager a credit card? CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger explains why it might not be such a bad idea. From building credit to teaching financial responsibility, here are some reasons for adding your children to your credit line.

updated 53M ago 04:47

Ramy Youssef on the pressure of being "first"

Comedian Ramy Youssef is the star and co-creator of the popular series "Ramy" on Hulu. It follows a young, practicing Muslim-American as he navigates everything from family pressures to dating. The New York Times called it "a quietly revolutionary comedy." His first HBO comedy special is called "Ramy Youssef: Feelings." Youssef joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss how he dealt with the pressure of being first.

1H ago 07:02

Man forms bond with cop who arrested him

In our ongoing series, A More Perfect Union, we bring you stories that show how what unites us as Americans is far greater than what divides us. In this installment, we introduce you to a young Indianapolis man whose surprising decision led to an unlikely friendship. Adriana Diaz reports.

1H ago 04:30

NASA renames street "Hidden Figures Way"

For decades, the three African-American mathematicians whose efforts ultimately helped put men on the moon received little recognition for their contributions to the space program. On Wednesday, NASA acknowledged their role by renaming a block in front of its headquarters "Hidden Figures Way." The women's stories were featured in the 2016 film "Hidden Figures." Michelle Miller reports.

2H ago 02:37

What you need to know about glyphosate

New tests reveal popular cereals and snacks could have potentially dangerous levels of the same chemical found in weed killer called glyphosate and some reports say it may cause cancer. Of the 21 General Mills products examined by the Environmental Working Group, the highest levels of glyphosate were found in Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch, which had more than five times what the advocacy group considers a safe level. Original Cheerios had more than four-and-a-half times what the group believes is a safe level. The products are considered safe under EPA standards. Dr. David Agus joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss what people should know.

1H ago 04:04