Mandatory Vaccinations

As the President addressed in his speech last Wednesday, some scary terms have been thrown around lately. One of which is “death camps.” Rarely have such topics from Phantom Planet managed to make their way into a presidential address. The term has come as a result of the fear and panic being created regarding the H1N1 strain of influenza. While many are nervously searching the web for surgical masks by the bulk, others are just as nervous that perhaps this is exactly the response the government is trying to produce.

As the back-to-school bustle came into full swing, complete with a presidential pat on the back, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, announced that H1N1 vaccines could be available as soon as October. Already, DHS has started to suggest that the most “vulnerable” to H1N1—children, young adults, and pregnant women—be the first to receive the vaccination. So as unsuspecting parents send their children back to school, how can they protect their child from being subjected to a mandatory H1N1 vaccination?

The Congressional Research Service is made up of a team of Legislative Attorneys, ready to churn out documents based on legal evidence and government precedence on the most recent or pressing political issue at the time. Their reports are specially prepared for members of Congress and Committees of Congress. On September 8, 2009, Legislative Attorney Kathleen S. Swendiman published a report titled “Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws.” It can be accessed via the web at www.crs.gov.

Swendiman begins the report with a brief overlook of the history and precedent of mandatory vaccinations. According to the report, the state and local governments have had the authority to create laws concerning public health and the maintenance thereof. This part is obvious: different states have different vaccination requirements for children attending public schools, for example.

The report repeatedly addresses the ability of an individual to refuse a mandatory vaccination. Such state laws requiring vaccinations have been challenged. The report cites The People v. Robertson, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that these laws were completely up to the state. However, the federal government does have the power to regulate these state laws so that they do not “contravene the Constitution of the United States or infringe any right granted or secured by that instrument. ”

During the turn of the century, when the Progressive Era’s eugenics phase began to influence legislation, another individual’s refusal to be vaccinated made its way to the High Court. This person argued that “a compulsory vaccination law is unreasonable, arbitrary and oppressive, and therefore, hostile to the inherent right of every freeman to care for his own body and health in such way as to him seems best; and that the execution of such a law against one who objects to vaccination, no matter for what reason, is nothing short of an assault upon his person.”

Despite this man’s patriotic assertion that his body belongs to him because he is a free man with these inherent, inalienable rights, the Court stood by its previous ruling. The Constitution, according to the majority decision, “does not import an absolute right in each person, to be, at all times and in all circumstances wholly free from restraint.”

What this means to you:

This would imply that a man who is supposedly free can be frivolously restrained—“restrain” being used here in a way meaning “forced.” What this ruling essentially says then, is that you do not own your body. Your body and its health are the jurisdiction of the State. As terrifying as this may sound to any freedom-loving person, this is not news. The atrocious rights violation that is the draft made this abundantly clear during the Vietnam War. The idea here is to suffocate the mind from independent thought and opinion.

Herein lays the danger of a democracy: the oppression of the majority will invariably violate the rights of the minority. Alexis de Tocqueville was prophetic in this estimation. When all of the idiots are yelling, the one genius cannot be heard. Two centuries later, we are exactly that. Captured in sound bits and YouTube clips, ideological debate and therefore thinking has been whittled down to a few trivial issues. They are the only way to distinguish the pigs from the humans.

Perhaps this is the disease that really requires a “swine” flu vaccination.