Doug McCain and Norbert Soltwedel

Effingham County Board Members Doug McCain, left, and Norbert Soltwedel, right, examine copies of a Medical Freedom Resolution proposed to the board. The resolution was tabled by the board for one month. 

Effingham County board members this week tabled a resolution this week that would have embraced the idea of “My Body, My Choice.”

County Board President Jim Niemann said during a meeting that the name sounds like the board would be on the side of pro-choice in the abortion debate.

It's not, said Board Vice-President David Campbell, who penned the resolution.

“Basically, it's just a catch phrase to let people know, 'My body, My choice'" said Campbell. "If I don't want to take the vaccine, I don't have to take the vaccine. If I don't want to wear a mask, I don't have to wear a mask. We're not going to enforce it here in Effingham County.”

“In order for me to support this it has to have something in there that separates 'My Body, My Choice' from an abortion issue,” Niemann said. “I can't support it otherwise, because I'm afraid people will think we are coopting their stance as well as coopting their model.”

Niemann reworked Campbell's resolution, changing some of the wording to take out language that made it look like the board was pro-choice on abortion. He changed it to the 'Medical Freedom Resolution,' before presenting it to the board.

Board Member Norbert Soldwedel agred with eliminating wordage out that sounded pro-abortion, but had another concern.

“We have to respect our authorities and rule of law,” Soltwedel said. “We can't condone a society where every individual establishes what they get to do and not do.”

“This is why I support local control. I say let these school boards and other locally elected bodies establish the polices within their jurisdictions,” he said.

“You mean you would let a school board come to you telling you have to inject something into your body,” Board Member John Perry asked Soltwedel.

“The school board can come to me and tell me anything that is constitutionally permitted, which is for the betterment of that school,” Soltwedel said.

Soltwedel said the school may or may not require a mask.

“I want that decision left to the local school boards,” Soltwedel said.

Soltwedel thought making a county mandate that overrules or somehow interferes with another unit of government like a school board would not be a good idea.

He said when he entered the Army he had no choice when it came to what vaccines he was given when he walked through the vaccination line. Soliders entering the Army in the 1970s received multiple vaccinations, he said – sometimes in both arms at the same time.

Soltwedel said, “Leave it to the school boards. I don't think the county should be advocating one way or the other.”

He then made a proposal to table the resolution to give himself, the board and public time to evaluate resolution and make sure they are doing the right thing.

“I wouldn't mind having more time to get some more input from constituents,” agreed Board Member Elizabeth Huston.

“This is a resolution and there is no teeth to this whatsoever,” Board Member Rob Arnold said. “I would recommend to go out and gauge your constituents.”

The board tabled the Medical Freedom Resolution for one month.

Charles Mills can be reached at or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.

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Charles Mills is reporter and videographer for the Effingham Daily News. A 1983 graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, he worked as senior video editor for a Nashville television station. He is a native of Vandalia.