Pro-choice and pro-vaccination – a conundrum? Aug 15, 2018 9:28:54 GMT -5
Post by markesq on Aug 15, 2018 9:28:54 GMT -5
I heard on NPR last night that in Texas more and more people are taking advantage of an exemption that allows parents to decline to have their children vaccinated prior to being admitted to the public schools, otherwise a requirement.
At first, I was annoyed because I don’t like it when people make decisions based on myth, ignorance, and ignore the science of things. Kids should be vaccinated, for their good and for everyone else’s, right?
But then, and I can’t say why, I began to think about vaccinations, and bodily autonomy, and… abortion. Bear with me….
I think I’m right in saying that people who are pro-choice (me included) ground their belief in the idea of bodily autonomy. A relatively simple, straightforward concept: whatever moral concerns anyone else has about fetus v. child, clump of cells v. human, a woman has the right to determine what happens to her body.
That being so, is it disingenuous for someone to be both pro-choice and want to require vaccinations for children, with no exemptions?
The only argument I can come up with to potentially over-ride this inconsistency is “the greater good.” A woman having an abortion doesn’t affect anyone else (not strictly true, but you know what I mean). Whereas a large-scale refusal to be vaccinated could potentially result in harm to others.
But I have problems with that position. First, it’s unlikely that if my son isn’t vaccinated he will either contract a deadly disease, and even unlikelier that he will pass it on. Second, I think there’s a good argument that neither me nor my son owe a duty of care to some theoretical, unknown, potential future-sufferer. If you believe so strongly in bodily autonomy that you are 100 percent pro-choice, then that remote likelihood of harm and lack of duty of care seem like weak arguments.
Looked at a different way, “the greater good” is a utilitarian argument. Which, if you support it, means you have to eventually do some line drawing. In other words, if you support mandatory vaccinations for the greater good, could you also support mandatory blood donation? Or mandatory organ donation after death? Heck, taken to the extreme, one could argue that one live, healthy human’s organs could save five or six people, so they should be harvested “for the greater good” before death!
Bottom line here, I feel like I’m missing something in all of this, and you are a wise and articulate group. Enlighten me.