Friday, February 13, 2015

My Body Shouldn't Belong to Me

The vaccine debate rages once again on the internet (although I may be behind a few days as the internet seems to have moved on to a raging debate about that movie coming out tomorrow on Valentine's Day). Scrolling through my Facebook feed a few days ago, I found a pole on the Biz Journals website asking if the government should mandate vaccination for the measles. I was shocked that at 3,910 responses, 53% said yes. I posted a screenshot of the results with the comment: "This is scary. Even if vaccines are a good thing (which I personally do not believe), why would you want the government to force you to get one?"

I find it scary because I don't believe that anyone, especially the government, should control what goes into my body. Since I took the pole four days ago, there are now 6,781 responses with 55% saying no. Pew, thank goodness. But still -- why would even just one person want to mandate vaccines onto others? Or mandate any medical injection onto others? You're basically saying that my body shouldn't belong to me -- it belongs to the government and to the "good of the whole".

I would never try to tell another human being what they should and should not put in their body. As one of my friends commented on the photo, "What's next, forced sterilization? The government should not be allowed to dictate what goes in my body". And this is exactly why I thought the results were frightening.

Basic human boundaries start with skin. My skin, my body, is the basic boundary that no one should be allowed to cross unless I give them permission. Sticking a needle into my arm and loading my body with a vaccine by force would be a clear violation of this basic right. Mandating vaccines could lead to even more control over my body (as my friend mentioned above).

Another good friend of mine argued that mandating vaccines isn't a bad thing if that vaccine is "tried and true" and been around for a while. She argued that measles vaccines were responsible for eradicating the disease in the U.S. This friend is studying science in university and is extremely smart. However, I still don't buy her analysis. I don't think any of the vaccines are infallible. In fact, there may have been more deaths caused by the measles vaccine than the actual disease in the years 2004-2014. Not to mention that  when drugs and medicine gets tested, usually only the positive results get published. There are many unknowns about vaccines and until they are proven to be safe and effective, I might prefer to opt out. Even if they are "proved" to be 100% safe and effective, does the government have the right to mandate I get one?

If you answer anything other than 'no', I fear for what other freedoms you are willing to give up for the sake of the whole. Surrendering our individual freedoms for the sake of "herd immunity" (which doesn't even work as evidenced by the recent "outbreaks") means giving the government a foothold into other individual liberties. When will we start respecting each other's decisions and freedom? It's dangerous to start surrendering these decisions -- once it starts, it will be nearly impossibly to stop.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety" 

-Benjamin Franklin 

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