DALLAS - A group of activist doctors is protesting Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide ban on private businesses imposing vaccine mandates.
Abbott's order strongly recommends vaccines but says it should be a voluntary decision.
The doctors, who are members of a group called the Committee to Protect Health Care, say it’s an order that doesn’t protect and puts political posturing before people.
Doctors from across Texas are calling on Abbott to recall his executive order banning vaccine mandate.
Dallas Dr. Keith Moron is with the Committee to Protect Health Care.
"By singling out COVID vaccine for exclusion simply to score political point, the governor’s order raises serious questions about the commitment of Texas political leadership to vaccinations as a whole," he said.
Mark P. Jones is senior fellow in political science at Rice University’s Baker Institute.
"Gov. Abbott is not gonna rescind this order, let alone because a group of liberal doctors got on a Zoom call," he said. "I think without question this is a political move on two dimensions."
First, to shore up his far-right flank in the coming midterm election against primary contenders Don Huffines and Allen West. Not that Abbott is worried about losing.
"He is, though, concerned about winning it by a relatively small margin such that people start questioning his status as the undisputed leader of the Texas Republican Party," Jones said.
Secondly, to get out front of President Joe Biden's pending mandate for all companies with 100 employees or more be vaccinated or undergo frequent COVID-19 testing.
"With his ban, though, Abbott goes further," Jones said. "Instead of just protecting those businesses from the Biden Administration, he's infringing on the rights of individual businesses to determine whether or not they want to have vaccine mandates."
Southwest and American Airlines have said they will continue with vaccine mandates.
Other big companies, especially those with government contracts, are also planning to follow federal law.
"Under the supremacy clause, federal law trumps state law. So we’re gonna go with the federal government," Jones said. "And I think in the court of law, they'll eventually win."
Lawmakers have taken up a bill that would make the ban on vaccine requirements law. Under Senate Bill 51, employers would have to allow workers to claim a broad range of exemptions.
"We might say that we have a clash of rights. Employers and business leaders have a right to run their businesses as they see fit," said Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Tyler), who is sponsoring the bill. "We also recognize that individuals have rights to make those important medical decisions."
But time expires on the special session on Tuesday.
"They still have several redistricting bills that have to be passed before then," Jones said. "And I just don’t see any appetite, especially in the Texas House, for passing that type of ban on vaccination mandates."
Time runs out unless the governor calls a fourth special session.
But businesses with less than 100 employees won't have cover from the Biden Administration’s federal mandate. If those companies have vaccine requirements, they would be in violation of the governor's order.