January 05, 2016
How do you trick legislators into voting for a law that is unconstitutional and violates individual and societal rights? And, how do you then trick the public into supporting it? Easy – you change the argument into something that has nothing to do with the real issue at hand, and focus on something you know you can win. That’s how mandatory vaccination laws get passed.
The political debate surrounding vaccines has somehow bypassed the real issue of medical freedom and been redirected into two very polarizing sides: pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine. According to those pushing the new laws, if you support mandatory vaccine laws across the country then you are pro-vaccine, and if you oppose these mandates, you are anti-vaccine. But this assumption is not only overly-simplistic, it’s completely wrong.
This political debate is not about whether you are pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine. It’s about whether you are pro-mandate or anti-mandate. Do you believe the government should be making medical decisions for you and your family? Should laws be created to mandate medications or medical procedures at the threat of losing a job or an education if you do not comply? Is it even ethical to mandate anything that has inherent side effects? If you are like most Americans, you believe all medical decisions should be made between you and your trusted physician; and that has nothing to do with being pro or anti-vaccine. The truth is the vaccine debate just isn’t that black and white.
For example, you may believe in vaccines, fully vaccinate your children, and still think the government has no place interfering with medical procedures or personal choice. You may be pro-vaccine, yet question the large increase in vaccine doses over the last 25 years, and therefore opt-out of some. You may also support the idea of vaccines but not give them to your child because of a family history of adverse reactions. Or, on the other side of things, you may have started out vaccinating, and now oppose them after witnessing negative side effects in your child. You may have decided, from the start, vaccines were not the right choice for your family. And there are even the few who truly are anti-vaccine and feel that vaccinations, as they are today, should be abolished. These are just some of the unique circumstances that help develop one’s personal stance in this complicated conversation, because it is impossible to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to health care..
Being anti-mandate means you believe in informed consent, one of the main pillars of medicine, and you feel it is unethical for the government to mandate any medical interventions with known side effects for adults and children. Informed consent refers to the honest discussion of all risks and benefits by your doctor, as well as providing your consent to go forward with or decline the procedure without coercion. Informed consent is a principle honored by the United Nations as crucial to human rights and bioethics, and as you can see, has nothing to do with being labeled pro or anti-vaccine.
The media is pushing those labels, pharmaceutical companies are pushing those labels, and the authors of vaccine legislation are pushing those labels. They want to label YOU, and it is in an effort to bypass the real issue of medical ethics and distract the public from what is slowly happening- the stripping away of your medical rights. And frankly, it’s time to push back.
As a collective, we need to consciously shift the narrative and focus this debate back to where it belongs: discussing the political ethics of medical mandates, and how to best preserve your family’s rights. Because your personal views on vaccination are no one’s business, and truly have nothing to do with what we are fighting for.