Monday, November 19, 2007

Who Owns Your Body?

The government of Maryland is ganging up on parents, forcing them to vaccinate their kids. This is a nice little group effort, brought by the schools, but also, the state health department, each with the ability to force this issue or deprive these adults of their liberty.

When a private school has immunization requirements and you do not follow them, they can refuse to let your kid go to their school. When a government school has immunization requirements and you do not follow them, they can have you jailed. Read that again.

The vaccination decision should be just that: a decision made by parents who ideally have researched the risk factors and can make a rational decision based on their situation. Unfortunately, too many parents don't read the literature they receive at the pediatrician's office, or haven't maybe considered the implications of the existence of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. These vaccines are potentially--rarely, sure--dangerous. And to force compliance with state immunization laws with the threat of jail is an unconscionable violation of individual rights.

This vaccination decision should not be taken lightly, yet note how the judge in this matter views the situation:

The judge noted the unhappy looks of some of the kids in line waiting for vaccinations.

"It's cute. It looks like their parents are dragging them to church," Nichols said.

No--"cute" is not the word I'm thinking of.

Also, what's wrong with this sentence (from the Fox article)?

The get-tough policy in the Washington suburbs of Prince George's County was one of the strongest efforts made by any U.S. school system to ensure its youngsters receive their required immunizations.

I'll tell you--it's the use of the possessive pronoun "its" and I'm not talking about grammar here. These "youngsters" do not belong to the state, to Prince George's County, Maryland. These kids belong to their parents.

In related "who owns your body" news, Galileo Blogs has a terrific post about Barry Bonds and whether any crime has actually been committed.


michelle said...

My youngest daughter (I have 2...both with severe allergies...that I your Blog Jen!) has not had all her shots. She's one short, because she had an allergic reaction to it the last time she had it.

I see the school system here is not allowing medical reasons as valid exceptions to have the kids immunized. Seriously, they would put ME in JAIL! WOW...SCARY!

Rational Jenn said...

I know, it's crazy. My kids have had *most* of their shots, more or less on time, but we have refused a couple and are delaying another.

My husband's brother had a terrible vaccine reaction as a child, back in the whole cell pertussis/"hot lot" days of the 1970s. When his cousin had a similar reaction, her parents refused subsequent shots. We discussed this medical history with our pediatrician and agreed that the kids would not get additional shots of the same vaccine if they had an adverse reaction. Fortunately, this hasn't been the case.

I would HOPE that parents in your situation would be able to find a doctor who would write up a medical excuse from receiving additional shots. The consequences are devastating, as in my brother-in-law's case.

Welcome, and thanks for your comment!

michelle said...

I'm sure I heard "NO medical excuses will be allowed." It even refered to kids who have had chicken pox...and the school system requiring the vaccine so there was "proof" that they were immune.

I had actually been thinking about this issue a lot before you blogged about it. I'm Canadian, and I watch U.S. news, because the Canadian stuff is sooo left wing- socialist...leave your thinking up to the government, it drives me crazy. Some U.S. media gives me hope that there are people out there who actually think parents have rights, and people in general should be allowed to think for themselves. I've always liked the general train of thought in the U.S. that the people are free to make their own is disappointing to see government overstepping its role like this in the land of the free.