Thursday, June 25, 2015

When your choice screws the rest of us

California's legislature is close to ending the state's very loose policy allowing parents not to vaccinate their children for personal or religious reasons. The state Senate has to vote on amendments in the state Assembly's version of the bill.

Predictably, some people are deeply unhappy.

Christina Hildebrand, the founder of A Voice for Choice, a nonprofit organization that has lobbied against the bill, said, “Parental freedom is being taken away by this because the fear of contagion is trumping it.”
"The fear of contagion" is a hell of a lot better justified than the fear of terrorism, yet we somehow have seen fit to legislate on the basis of the fear of terrorism anyway. If we're going to use statistical likelihood to measure our legislation, let's start with where statistics have been worst abused and fix our broken federal counter-terror legislation.

But to the matter of parental freedom — here's a classic case of end-of-nose-ism. Your freedom to act, that is, ends at the end of my nose.

What you feed your kid, what religion you raise her in, whether or not you spank him — that kind of stuff doesn't affect anybody else (mostly). Whether you vaccinate your kid does affect others. Every unvaccinated child reduces the immunity of the whole group and increases the likelihood that diseases can get a foothold. We've seen it happen, notably in the measles outbreak traced back to Disneyland last year.

Some kids can't be vaccinated for medical reasons. They rely on the rest of us not being hospitable breeding grounds for diseases.

So, Christina Hildebrand, tell me why "parental freedom" is more to be cherished than the lives of unvaccinated children, including, possibly, your own?

Am I supposed to let you bloody my nose because "choice" is a sacred principle?

When your choice screws the rest of us, must we give you the choice?

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