Oregon Senator Steiner Hayward: Blameshifter in Chief

Mar 16, 2015 · 7 min read

blameshift [bleym-shift](verb) To blame another for one’s own wrong-doing. Blameshifting can be caused by pointing the finger at another when trying to save one’s skin.

Is it just us or did the defeat of Senate Bill 442 by outraged Oregonians trigger a nearly endless tirade of misplaced blame on the part of the bill’s sponsor, Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward?

As we mentioned in an article last week, we were impressed with the sincerity and clarity with which Senator Alan Bates spoke about his willingness to drop SB442 — a bill for which he had been identified as a co-sponsor — after hearing from constituents:

“The decision was made yesterday afternoon to kill the bill and we won’t be bringing it up in the foreseeable future…The intention was to get more parents to immunize. We’re hearing that they do immunize but they don’t want us to tell them what to do. We do listen, believe it or not.”

And, before we detail Senator Steiner Hayward’s antics, it’s worth reminding all readers of a very important point:

Exemption legislation— all intended to reduce vaccine exemptions — have now failed in 5 separate states: Maryland, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington, and Oregon. It’s very likely more will follow.

As Senator Steiner Hayward seeks to blame specific circumstances that lead to her bill failing in Oregon, she’s missing the bigger picture: the bills are failing everywhere because the average citizen gets really angry when politicians try to steal their freedom, particularly medical freedom related to their children.

With that, let’s look at a “Best Hits” of some of Senator Steiner Hayward’s after-the-fact rationalizations for why her misguided bill that no one wanted failed.

It’s never, ever, ever, ever, ever my fault.

Portland Business Journal:

“Some of my colleagues changed their minds for a variety of reasons,” she said. “They got a lot of pressure. This is an issue that mobilizes a small minority of people but makes them pretty loud.”

What we think she means:

My weak-minded colleagues succumbed to the irrational pressure of a few people who got really loud.

Our observation:

Do you think Senator Steiner Hayward knows her elected colleagues read the newspaper? How do you think they feel when their extremely thoughtful approach to considering all sides of the mandatory vaccination debate led them to pull their support from the bill? She’s saying they are weak-minded and gave in to pressure. Even Senator Alan Bates — himself a Doctor — comes in Senator Steiner Hayward’s crosshairs.

We’ve heard reports of elected officials in Salem spending hours on this topic, listening to both sides of the argument, and making an educated decision. Don’t tell Dr. Steiner Hayward that, to her they are small-minded and frail, succumbing to the loud, irrational minority.

If you don’t like my bill, you are a moron.


“The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, said Wednesday that pushback largely revolved around who was right or wrong about the benefits of vaccines and she has decided not to pursue the legislation.”

What we think she means:

Anyone who doesn’t think vaccines are “safe and effective” is an idiot. Descending into a debate about the merits of vaccines shows that my colleagues have an inferior intellect.

Our observation:

The Supreme Court says vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe” which means that ANY discussion about vaccines MUST include a conversation about benefits and risks, as a rational discussion about any medical procedure would.

Get out of my kitchen if you can’t stand the heat!

Statesman Journal:

But there were a bunch of people who weren’t prepared to take on this controversial of a topic at this point.

What we think she means:

My colleagues are wimps and bailed on me as soon as there was resistance to my bill.

Our observation:

As we said, we aren’t elected officials. But, we’re guessing that if we had taken a bunch of time to get informed on SB442 and vaccination policy in general and decided her bill is an overreach — as 5 states have now decided — it would be fairly annoying to have a colleague telling the press what we were weak-willed. But, hey, that’s just us.

And, finally, the granddaddy of them all, an editorial by the Oregonian, where Senator Steiner Hayward appeared to let her blameshifting skills manifest through four separate excerpts:

As the inevitable opposition reached fever pitch with insults and attacks, support from other legislators waned, said Steiner Hayward, clearly disappointed…

What we think she means:

Did it take this long? The “attack” card has now been played, which will inevitably be followed up by the “death threat” card that Paul Offit always plays. Yes, the hallmark of blameshifting is to imply that personal safety was threatened, and that opponents to mandatory medical procedures are an unruly bunch.

Will we ever get details of the “attacks” that Senator Steiner Hayward claims she received or an explanation of how those “attacks” caused her colleagues to pull support? Unlikely.

Our observation:

It’s our opinion that Senator Steiner Hayward belongs to a small club of vaccine zealots, unwilling to acknowledge that vaccines have both benefits and risks. Unlike Senator Bates who said “we heard you”, Senator Steiner Hayward’s approach seems to be, “you hurt me.”

Steiner Hayward’s bill, which would have required those who refused to get immunized and did not have a medical reason to homeschool their kids, generated a fierce and immediate reaction. Opponents mobilized, sending offensive remarks to Steiner Hayward and others through mail, email and Twitter.

What we think she means:

Please feel sorry for me.

Our observation:

Gasp! Offensive remarks on Twitter? That sounds familiar:

Howlers? Enough said.

And so with the legislator’s decision to pull the bill, the anti-vaccination crowd scored a victory — the parental right to put their kids and others at risk lives on.

What we think she means:

The “anti-vaccination” machine got me, I’m a victim of so much irrational thought — and mean people!

Our observation:

Wanting informed consent does not make you “anti-vaccine.” Wanting parents to have the right to decide when and how a medical product with known risks is injected in their baby does not make you “anti-vaccine.” The only thing that makes you “anti-vaccine” is when you are labeled as such by vaccine zealots.

The Beaverton Democrat said she’s not done pushing the immunization issue. She is looking for other ways to get scientifically sound information out to parents to help reverse the rising rate of exemptions.

Among the possibilities: legislation requiring that parents who opt their children out of immunizations must speak first with a healthcare practitioner who certifies that they discussed the benefits and risks of vaccines. Current state law allows parents to either speak with a health care worker or watch an online educational video and fill out a form that appears at the end.

She also is looking into attaching school exemption rates to their state report cards to provide parents more information and to spur parents, teachers and administrators to discuss vaccination science and beliefs. Don’t look for it, however, under SB 442, said Steiner Hayward, noting that the bill number itself has become toxic for any productive discussion. Any efforts will likely be added to existing bills, she said.

And Steiner Hayward isn’t ruling out pursuing mandatory immunization for those who attend schools in the future.

“Sometimes you can’t get everything you want,” Steiner Hayward said, “the first time you try.”

What we think she means:

I’ll be back!

Our observation:

Thank God for democracy!

One final thought:

More vaccines. more income?

When do we get to discuss the fact that “Dr. Steiner” is a Family Medicine physician with a “Special focus on Pediatric Care”?

This means Dr. Steiner derives a portion of her income from vaccinating children. Does the Oregon legislature have a conflict of interest policy?

This article was written by several well-meaning Oregonians who are big fans of medical freedom and informed consent who apparently have nothing better to do than crunch numbers. We have nothing to gain or lose financially from the passage of this bill. We have proudly joined a movement of a few thousand Oregonians fighting this legislation, the organizing website can be found here: www.NoOnSB442.com. We have written a series of articles on this topic, in chronological order they include:

Part 1: The truth about Oregon’s vaccination rates

Part 2: Who cried wolf in Oregon

Part 3: What’s NACCHO got to do with Oregon’s vaccine exemption fight?

Part 4: Exemption-gate in Oregon?

Part 5: No mas, Senator Steiner Hayward, no mas

Part 6: Oregon Senator Steiner Hayward: Blameshifter in Chief

Part 7: Senator Steiner Hayward’s SB 673: Drilling for Mandatory Gardasil Shots for Kids?


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