Friday, January 27, 2006

Goldwater Institute: Confused priorities

In today's release from the Goldwater Institute, "The Nanny State Comes to My Mailbox," Andrea Woodmansee complains about the fact that a birthday card from Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano contained the statement "One of your most important roles as a parent is to make sure your baby is immunized."

I find it more objectionable that the state spends money to send out cards for all births instead of on more useful things (or did Ms. Woodmansee get special treatment as a result of her proximity to power?) than I am that the card contains an accurate statement about the importance of immunization.

This state contains numerous anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists who put the rest of us as well as their own children at risk by not having them vaccinated.

Failing to have children vaccinated is arguably a form of child abuse--failing to take reasonable steps to give the child proper medical treatment.

I can't bring myself to be exercised about Janet Napolitano promoting vaccination when we have a President who doesn't respect Constitutional limits on his power.

Does anyone doubt that Barry Goldwater would have prioritized George Bush's abuses of power over Janet Napolitano's birthday card promotion of vaccination as a subject of critical attention?


cowmix said...

I have two comments..

I can see a libertarian getting all huffy over the state requiring someone to fasten a seatbelt or wear a motorcycle helmet; in most cases you are only affecting your own family in case of 'something goes wrong'. However, failing to immunize your children not affects your child's health but the health of your community. The eradication of a disease like polio only happened because of an organized, multinational, world wide campaign. Napolitano may have worded the card in an offensive way to a libertarian's ear, but the policy is 100% in line with protecting the health of the entire state. Good for her.

(As an aside, Mrs. Woodmansee will have a cow when Bush declares marshal law when an outbreak of avian flu happens.)

But... I strongly disagree with your stance that not immunizing your child is a form of child abuse. The jury truly is not out on what the effects are of certain immunizations. When my wife and I had our children, we took no CW for granted and researched everything. For instance, I was born at a time when breast feeding was discourage and circumcision was push by the establishment. When it came making core decisions about my child, nothing was taken for granted.
After torturous debate, we did opt to have our children immunized. However, after reading a lot of the literature out there, I would not hold it against a parent for opting out.

If you have not read the Robert Kennedy Jr article on mercury in vaccines, please do:
I have read A LOT of commentary as a result of this piece (both for and against), and I still don't know what to think.

Jim Lippard said...

On that RFK piece, please see Orac:

BTW, shortly after making this post, I came across this in The Economist (Jan. 21-27, 2006, p. 12): "To combat the threat to public health from a lack of these nutrients, governments encourage food makers to add them to some products. ... Some people see this, and the accompanying campaigns to persuade people to eat healthy food, as a nannying intrusion into personal freedom. That is a moot point when the taxpayer so often has to pick up the bill for the medical consequences of careless eating. But there is one area in which the state is generally felt, even by most libertarians, to have a legitimate interest, and that is the protection of children. Children cannot necessarily make informed decisions and neither can their parents on their behalf, be they ever-so-loving. And that concern is particularly relevant when a child is not yet born."

I have to stand behind my position on vaccination--polio had been all-but-eradicated, but it's now back (five cases of children with polio, after none for 26 years), in the Amish community in Minnesota, because of their anti-vaccination stance. Allowing a child to get easily preventable polio sounds like child abuse to me.