The country is currently struggling with six outbreaks of measles that are very contagious and potentially life-threatening to young children.
The outbreaks have occurred in children under the age of 10 — with the majority of the cases involving children who were unvaccinated.
Luckily, measles is preventable with the aid of certain vaccines, but many parents are refusing to get their children vaccinated. This has caused major concern among lawmakers who feel parents should not have the right to make such decisions, especially since the illness is both contagious and potentially fatal.
Lawmakers take a stand against parents
In fact, Washington state lawmakers have advanced legislation that would eliminate vaccination exemptions on personal levels by parents. It is argued that outbreaks that can be contained or controlled should be the responsibility of the government which must protect its citizens.
Parents, on the other hand, feel that they should have the right to decide whether their children are injected with medication that has yet to be verified of its long-term effects. Arizona has decided to side with the parents on this one. Arizona lawmakers are currently moving forward with three bills that will make it easier for parents to opt out of getting vaccinations for their children, according to The Arizona Republic.
Of the three bills advanced by Arizona’s House Health and Human Services Committee was the HB 2470, which expands the access to both religious and personal belief vaccine exemptions among preschool and grade school children.
The other two bills, HB 2471 and HB 2472 requires parents receive a booklet abut vaccine risks prior to vaccinating their children and require doctors to offer blood tests to determine if a child is already immune to a vaccine-preventable disease prior to vaccinating. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) who sponsored the bill stated that “it’s every parent’s right to decide the vaccine’s place in the child’s life.”
It was her argument that claimed there was research on both sides of the issue and that it was enough to provide parents with a leg to stand on when determining whether their children should be subject to vaccinations.
Parents fight for their parental rights
The issue of vaccinations has become popular as a result of the latest outbreaks. This has not helped parents in their fight to secure their right to bypass vaccines for their children. “There are so many reasons why I wouldn’t have my child vaccinated,” stated one parent who rallied for the passage of the bills in Arizona.
“The same way they claim vaccines have saved children, there are studies that show children dying from the medication. I’m not allowing the government to decide whether my child lives or dies,” she continued. Many parents are standing their ground on this issue because they feel that there is not enough proof that the vaccinations are capable of both saving their children from acquiring measles while preventing other problems along the way.
The same way that this issue has created a divide among parents and the government, now there are parents who are divided with other parents on this subject. “I am furious that there are parents out there who would allow their children to suffer because of their own ignorance,” stated a father who supports legislation that requires the vaccinations. “If it’s illegal to kill, then parents who refuse this vaccination should be considered murderers and should go to jail like most criminals,” he continued.
Currently, individual states are determining whether they will require parents to have their children vaccinated or not. This is a fight that goes well beyond the idea of merely saving children…it’s also about parental control vs. governmental control. It’s just a matter of who, of the two, will win. We can only hope that the children will not have to suffer along the way.