Op-Ed submitted by Tkeisha Wydro 4-11-19
Currently moving through the Oregon legislature is HB 3063, which aims to increase the already high vaccination rates in Oregon schools by removing religious and philosophical exemptions, leaving only the very narrow medical exemption (your child would need to have a severe reaction to a vaccine before an exemption is granted for that single vaccine). As written, this bill would require all children attending ANY school (public, private, charter, etc) to be fully vaccinated by Aug 2020, or they will be excluded from receiving an education. Homeschool or online school would be the only options.
The Oregon Health Authority says there were 10 cases of measles in Oregon this year; and no outbreaks. None of the cases were related to exposure at a school. No one died. There are NO active measles cases in Oregon. We are above the required herd immunity levels for all vaccine related diseases and only 2.6% of Oregon’s K-12 students have declined all vaccines. The vast majority of K-12 students in Oregon are fully vaccinated.
I am a Libertarian and a mother. I’ve been my children’s advocate since before they were born and agonized over every major (and sometimes minor) decision I’ve made on their behalf, especially as relates to their health. I’ve had sleepless nights caring for them and many moments of joy as they discovered the world. That’s called being a parent, assuming the “burden” of care along with “burden” of freedom to decide what is in their best interest. There is no one more invested in their well-being than me.
As a Libertarian and parent, the recent measles hysteria and blind calls for strict vaccine mandates have scared me, and not because of fear of measles. We should all be up in arms that NYC’s mayor has ordered tens of thousands of people (adults, children and infants) to be vaccinated with the MMR vaccine within 48 hours or face fines and imprisonment. And I’ve heard that plans to execute this order include going door-to-door to verify vaccination records. That scares me more than a week with a rash (measles is a mild illness in most cases in the US).
If you aren’t scared at this attempted vast government overreach and the mass media fear-mongering, you should be. Every Libertarian should be speaking up about this, regardless of your opinions about vaccinations. You could find yourself on the other end of an order.
HB 3063 is a bill based on misinformation and fear. There is really no other way to describe it. The many Oregon lawmakers I have communicated with, including some who even co-sponsored the bill, do not have statistics to support the dramatic overreach. It’s really fear driven. And that’s the scariest thing.
From 2018 Libertarian Platform:
No individual, group, or government may rightly initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Libertarians reject the notion that groups have inherent rights. We support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.
Individuals own their bodies and have rights over them that other individuals, groups, and governments may not violate. Individuals have the freedom and responsibility to decide what they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.