Anything worth talking about, is worth blogging about

I found this article advocating that parents who don’t vaccinate their kids be subject to criminal charges or civil sanctions.

The article makes a good point. Anti–vaxxers are a threat to public health. There are certain people, such as those with weakened immune systems, or the extremely young, who cannot take them. Those people are therefore dependent on herd immunity to avoid getting sick and possibly dying. Anti–vaxxers therefore are potentially giving a disease to people who might die from it.

And people who (falsely) think vaccinations cause autism are either outright malicious or haven’t thought through to the logical consequences of their beliefs. I mean, vaccines prevent deadly diseases. And by refusing vaccinations for their children, they are in effect choosing a greater risk of dying over (according to their beliefs) a lower chance of autism. In other words, they’d rather their kid die than get autism. Do those people even know what they’re saying about themselves?

So yes, there should be no “philosophical” or religious exemptions for vaccinations, and refusers should be criminally charged. Anti–vaxxers are a threat to themselves and others, and in this respect are clearly unfit parents.

And while we’re at this, can we also treat refusals of newborn screening and choosing faith healing over modern medicine for dependent children? Far too many children have ended up dead because of this.

Comments on: "Something that should be illegal" (10)

  1. I have to disagree with this. Most parents who don’t vaccinate their children are trying to do what’s best for their children with the information they have available, not acting in some malicious or neglectful way. Is it silly? Sure. Could it harm other people in a vague herd-immunity type way? Yes. But I don’t think the solution to that is to criminalize parents and for the most part mothers who are trying to keep their children healthy as well as they can. Better education and information about vaccines is the answer, not punishing mothers.

    • BabyRaptor said:

      Herd immunity is not “vague.” Do some googling around…Several diseases that we thought we’d wiped out have made a come-back due to people refusing to vaccinate.

      Personally, I think it should be punishable. Lack of education is not an excuse to harm people; especially children. And the parents’ faith is even less of an excuse…The US is *way* too free with what it allows people to do to others in the name of their “deep personal beliefs.” If an adult wants to refuse medical treatment because they think god will take care of them, then that’s fine and dandy. But they should not be able to do that to their dependent children.

    • Even the parents mean well, it is still acting on an unreasonable belief. Honestly held but unreasonable and well-meaning beliefs are not an excuse. For example, suppose Alice meets Bret. She honestly believes that Bret is possessed by a demon, and that the only way to save his soul and send him to heaven is to kill him. Suppose she does that. She means well, and has an honestly held (but unreasonable) belief. But we would let her get off, would we? Therefore, even if parents have honestly held (but unreasonable) beliefs and mean well, it does not follow that there should be no legal consequences for refusing to vaccinate their kids.

  2. For a while I thought you were talking about this article, an editorial by a pediatrician from California who would like to see all schools declared “unvaccinated-free zones.”

    I liked that idea. I also like the idea of doing away with philosophical exemptions to vaccination requirements.

  3. A dangerous proposal.Infringing on personal rights.

    • Even if it infringes on personal rights, it still ensures that there are consequences for their effects on others.

  4. It’s one thing to make choices for yourself. It’s another to make choices that endanger others.

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