Hands Off Our Vaccine Exemptions
Megan Heimer, NHE, JD, ND
I am generally a nice person. As long as someone or something does not infringe upon my rights as a parent or individual I try to stay out of it. And that’s exactly how I feel about vaccinations. I encourage you to educate yourself but ultimately, you have the the final say. That’s how it is here in the United States of America, we have the freedom to choose, freedom to parent our kids the way we see fit, and freedom from government interference into the most intimate aspects of our lives whether we are religious or not.
Or so I thought…
There was a piece published by the New York Times recently written by Dr. Kristen Feemster (a pediatric infectious disease physician who profits from “professionally advising” pharmaceutical companies and feels that a parent’s decision not to vaccinate may warrant a call to Child Protective Services) that urged the scientific and public health communities to curtail vaccine exemptions. In case you’re wondering, a vaccine exemption allows an individual to forgo the vaccination for medical, religious, and sometimes philosophical reasons. The reason for trumping these rights? The public good.
I had many problems with this article, and you should too, because it infringes on your constitutional rights as a parent, blatantly suggests that “vaccines are safe and effective,” insinuates that those of us who choose not to vaccinate our children have no educated reason for doing so, and obviously assumes that the healthcare, scientific community, and parents (the most important player in this dilemma if you will) agree on what constitutes the public good.
Here is my response to this article.
Dear Dr. Feemster, the New York Times, and anyone else who thinks I don’t have a right to (un)vaccinate my child:
I am sorry to hear that you deem a parent’s choice of whether or not to vaccinate with so little regard. Need I refer you to the United States Constitution where it has been decided and upheld by the United States Supreme Court on numerous occassions that parents’ have the right to the care, custody, and control of their children, freedom to rear their children without government interference, the freedom of expression and religion, freedom of privacy, and protection under the first, ninth, and 14th amendments. The right to raise my child as I see fit and the right to decide what I do and do not put into my body or my child’s is a fundamental right granted to me as a citizen of the United States of America. (See Prince v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Wisconsin v. Yoder, Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, Meyer v. Nebraska, City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health Inc., Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Stanley v Illinois, Quilloin v. Walcott, Parham v. J. R, etc.)
You claim that personal and philosophical exemptions should be curtailed because of those who cannot medically receive vaccines. What about those of us who are subjected to virus shedding on a daily basis by those individuals who have chosen to vaccinate? What about those of us vaccinated or not, who have gotten sick as a result of a vaccine induced virus outbreak (like whooping cough, measles, and meningitis). What about the billions of dollars we sink into healthcare every year to cover the rising costs associated with the surge of childhood diseases, all of which are listed as side-effects on the vaccine inserts and have increased as the number of vaccines on the child immunization schedule have increased? What about the vaccine-injured children? Should we not be worried about protecting our children from the serious and sometimes debilitating vaccine-induced conditions? Are my religious freedoms not protected when it comes to vaccinations? Is my educated opinion that vaccines are harmful to the human body of less value than yours? What about the millions of Americans and medical professionals who think the same?
You state that vaccines are safe and effective but as a member of the scientific and healthcare community I’m not sure how you came to that conclusion. You see, vaccines are not research effective because they are not subjected to double-blind placebo controlled studies using a saline solution that is the standard for evidence-based medicine. Vaccinations are tested against other vaccinations, adjuvants, and complex vaccinations – this not only yields inaccurate results but altered and inaccurate safety data. How can you know if something is truly safe if it is not tested against a placebo?
“Vaccines are safe and effective. The significant reduction in illness and death from vaccine-preventable diseases is testimony to how well they work.”
You claim vaccines are safe. Have you read the package inserts, studies, or checked out the VAERS database lately? If you had, you would see side-effects like these: