Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Jersey: Immune to Freedom

This week in New Jersey, a hearing was held by the Assembly's Health and Senior Services Committee in regards to a bill that would create a personal belief exemption to state vaccination laws. Meeting chairman Dr. Herb Conaway (of the we're public health and we can do anything camp) was, not surprisingly, less than enthusiastic about the proposed legislation. He warned of "outbreaks" should a PBE be adopted by the state. reported:
...a bill that would allow parents to claim a conscientious objection from having their children vaccinated was firmly shot down Monday by the chairman [Dr. Conaway] of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee, who called it a "recipe for disaster."
Sounds scary, but the real disaster - the relinquishment of our freedom to government functionaries - has already occurred and it's aftermath is parents having to go hat in hand to officious, self important little politicians in order to obtain permission to raise their children as they see fit

What Dr. Conaway, and so many like him, doesn't understand is that a moral government defends the rights of its citizens; it doesn't violate them. And since it's other people - not bugs and germs - that violate rights and since not vaccinating our children doesn't violate anyones rights, the government has no role telling people they have to expose their children to painful, potentially dangerous medical treatments.

Dr. Conaway, who, incidentally, is, according to, a recipient of thousands in GlaxoSmithKline campaign contributions, is further quoted as stating:
“We as a world are free from polio because we have mandatory vaccinations,” said Conaway, a medical doctor. Conaway said the bill was “a recipe for chaos” that could lead to “a situation where you will see a higher prevalence of disease, and, quite frankly, diseases that are preventable.”
This makes no sense. First New Jersey residents don't live in the "world" they live in New Jersey. Second the world isn't free from polio and the "world" doesn't have mandatory polio vaccination laws. And third, polio in the United States was falling before the introduction of the polio vaccine and rates of polio plummeted from 40 cases per 100,000 to 1 case per 100,000 in 1963 - even though by that time only eight states had any type of laws requiring polio vaccination to attend school.

Further, he fails to mention the rates of polio are the same in New Jersey and other states without a PBE as they are in California and those states with PBEs.

New Jersey should, when deciding whether or not to stop violating the rights of it's citizens in exchange for promises of a public health utopia, consider the words of Ben Franklin who wisely observed

Those who would give up essential Liberty, 
to purchase a little temporary Safety, 
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

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