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Vaccines: Parental right to choose?

With the latest measles outbreak in the US there’s been a spotlight on the Anti-Vaccine movement. But, unsurprisingly, there is still a debate about “freedom to choose”. Government forcing people to do something without their consent is bad, right? Can’t people (parents) just have the right to choose?

Initially you may find this line of reasoning compelling. We all love freedom. Such mentality overlooks one important thing: that vaccination of children has nothing to do with parents.

OK, let’s go back a little. Parents, biological or adopted, are a child’s care-taker not the child’s owners. Child is not a piece of property, but a living being, with his or her own rights, that is dependent on and being taken care of by the parents.

The parents are, by law, required to provide and act in the best interest of the child. This is routinely enforced by the government through social services. You don’t have the freedom to decide to not feed your kids. If you do, the government must intervene.

Same goes with vaccines. Being vaccinated is (if capable) in the best interest of the child and, as a Croatian court has said:

The child’s right to health is more important than the rights of parents to the (wrong) choice.
Croatian Constitutional court

PS: Just remember, we shouldn’t be blaming well meaning, but misinformed, parents. They are victims almost as much as the children. There is nothing worse than to see your child suffer due to your own actions. We should blame those who profit.