Actress Jessica Biel seems to have joined the controversial vaccination debate, having met with politicians on Tuesday to express opposition over a California bill that would make it harder for parents to send their kids to school without vaccines.
While a number of reports have labeled Biel as an “anti-vaxxer,” the actress has not publicly commented on the issue.
However, the accusations are likely based on a series of photos posted to Instagram Tuesday that show Biel shoulder to shoulder with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a well-known anti-vaccination advocate.
“Please say thank you to the courageous @jessicalbiel for a busy and productive day at the California State House,” Kennedy Jr. wrote in a caption, underneath the photos that show him and Biel speaking with several legislators in Sacramento.
Kennedy has lobbied against Senate Bill 276, a California state proposal that would restrict medical exemptions from vaccinations without approval from a state public health officer. It is unclear if Biel joined him in the effort.
Kennedy Jr. and other anti-vaxx advocates have condemned the bill, arguing that doctors, not state public health officials, should determine if a child should be vaccinated.
Leah Russin, executive director of the parent advocacy group Vaccinate California, said the law will not create a heap of red tape for parents with valid medical exemptions, according to a report from The Los Angeles Times published earlier this month.
“It’s not like there is some government official standing over your shoulder when you take your child to a pediatrician,” said Russin. “The decision to vaccinate a child is still the decision of a parent. The decision — if that child is unvaccinated and gets to go to school — is a public health decision, and it should be made by a public health official.”
While there was a flurry of reports in 2015 that the actress and her husband, Justin Timberlake, did not plan to vaccinate their children, Biel never publicly commented on the matter.
That same year, Kennedy reportedly came under fire for using the word “holocaust” to describe a large number of children in the United States with autism — a condition he linked to vaccines despite medical research debunking the claim.
Aside from the photographic evidence of Biel at the California State Assembly on Tuesday, Kennedy Jr. told The Daily Beast that Biel was “upset about this issue because of its particular cruelty.”
Kennedy Jr. added: “I would say that she was for safe vaccines and for medical freedom.”
The Daily Beast said Kennedy Jr. declined to comment on how the duo spent their day exactly, mentioning only that they met with a number of legislators on both sides of the bill. Biel did not respond to The Daily Beast‘s request for comment.