One of my best friends’ parents recently learned that their son, Josh, is one of nearly 15,000 children being forced to have his life-saving MMR vaccination forcibly induced against his will.
Josh is a long-term volunteer firefighter, a hard-working security guard, and an active crew leader on his school’s ice hockey team. The Centers for Disease Control says he is “in excellent health” but that government officials are prepared to forcibly immunize their children if Josh’s parents refuse.
Josh’s parents know what their son’s life is like and they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep him from being prevented from practicing his passions.
People like Josh’s parents should be allowed to make their own choices. This is an issue of personal freedom. The government does not have the right to prescribe what is in anyone’s best interest.
Governments do have the right to make health decisions for their citizens, as long as they do not harm anyone else. In Josh’s case, he is a motivated adult who has a legitimate fear that an outbreak will spread to his neighborhood, and he is perfectly within his rights to question if it is in his best interest to have been vaccinated.
Governments do not have the right to force vaccination, even on people they don’t think will ever suffer from any harm. The American public has responded by rejecting vaccine exemptions in droves.
While most of the reported lower vaccination rates have occurred among parents who do not vaccinate their children, Josh’s parents are not defying the law. If they really wanted to risk Josh’s health, they could enroll him in a school where the majority of parents want to make sure their children receive vaccine inoculations. Instead, Josh’s parents have chosen to not vaccinate their son.
This is not a case of loving abandon, but it is an intensely personal decision being made in a very individualized way by parents. No government can force a family to do what they don’t want to do, no matter how many children could die if that family’s child is sidelined due to their beliefs.