The anti-vaccine movement is turning out to be one of the more intriguing debates I’ve run across. Not because I buy into any of the ridiculous “anti-vaxxer” nonsense, but because it’s an issue that some politicians seem unable to definitively answer – especially Republicans.
Unfortunately, many liberals are driving this readily debunked information behind the myth that vaccines cause autism. But on the flip-side of that debate (especially considering the recent outbreak of measles) lies the issue on whether or not vaccines should be mandated by the government. The obvious issue being that children of parents who buy into the anti-vaccine myths are putting other parent’s children at risk by not being vaccinated. So some Republicans are having trouble answering questions pertaining to vaccines because they don’t want to sound like a “crazy liberal anti-vaxxer,” but also have to avoid suggesting that they would support government-mandated vaccines for children. Even if that mandate could save lives and would undoubtedly prevent the spread of dangerous and potentially deadly diseases.
Granted, it is a tricky issue. Nobody likes the sound of “the government is making you do this,” especially when it comes to telling a parent what to do with their children. But at the same time, when there’s a legitimate public health issue that’s growing in this country based on misinformation, something clearly needs to be done. After all, is it fair for other children to be exposed to dangerous, or even deadly, diseases because another parent doesn’t vaccinate their children?
Well, former Fox News contributor Dr. Ben Carson chimed in on the vaccine issue and for once he didn’t come off as a crazy person.
“Although I strongly believe in individual rights and the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit, I also recognize that public health and public safety are extremely important in our society,” Carson said.
“Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them,” he continued.
I consider these comments from Carson “shocking” since this is the same man who once said the Affordable Care Act was the worst thing to happen to this country since slavery. In fact, he’s one of the individuals I’m most excited about running for president in 2016. Not because he stands even a sliver of a chance at winning the nomination, but because he brings a level of absurdity that rivals Michele Bachmann. He’s going to provide a level of insanity to the GOP primaries that will be nothing but pure entertainment to watch.
However, when it comes to vaccines he makes a whole lot of sense. I guess that’s the doctor coming out in him. I even like how he shapes the argument as not a situation of government trying to control people by force, but that not vaccinating children is a public health issue. Such as we’re currently seeing with the measles outbreak that’s been linked to Disneyland in California.
Because like I’ve said before, this isn’t just about whether or not a parent wants to vaccinate their children. If that was the only issue, this wouldn’t be an issue. This is about those unvaccinated children getting others sick because their parents chose not to get them vaccinated. And it’s not fair to put other children at risk because some parents choose not to listen to just about every doctor on the planet.
Nobody wants to tell parents how to raise their children. It’s every parent’s right to raise their kids how they see fit. But when their parenting beliefs start impacting the health of not only their children, but others as well, then that becomes an issue. Especially when those beliefs are based on debunked nonsense that for whatever reason they continue to cling to.
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