What does vaccination have to do with euthanasia?
On the surface, not a lot.
But government attitudes to both should send warning bells ringing.
Before we delve into this issue, I want to make a few points about vaccination.
I recognise that vaccination is an emotive issue for many people. This includes those who see vaccination as a legitimate, important and useful means to prevent disease, as well as large numbers of parents who have concerns about vaccination and the potential side effects on their children.
Vaccination in and of itself is not immoral. Vaccinations have helped to eliminate a number of deadly and debilitating diseases. This is a good thing.
I acknowledge that there are serious concerns about the morality of some vaccinations which have been developed from foetal tissue. Abortion is clearly a grave moral evil and under no circumstances can it be approved, even for the purpose developing vaccines.
In 2003, the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life had this to say about such vaccines:
However, in this situation, the aspect of passive cooperation is that which stands out most. It is up to the faithful and citizens of upright conscience (fathers of families, doctors, etc.) to oppose, even by making an objection of conscience, the ever more widespread attacks against life and the “culture of death” which underlies them. From this point of view, the use of vaccines whose production is connected with procured abortion constitutes at least a mediate remote passive material cooperation to the abortion, and an immediate passive material cooperation with regard to their marketing. Furthermore, on a cultural level, the use of such vaccines contributes in the creation of a generalized social consensus to the operation of the pharmaceutical industries which produce them in an immoral way.
Therefore, doctors and fathers of families have a duty to take recourse to alternative vaccines (if they exist), putting pressure on the political authorities and health systems so that other vaccines without moral problems become available. They should take recourse, if necessary, to the use of conscientious objection with regard to the use of vaccines produced by means of cell lines of aborted human foetal origin. Equally, they should oppose by all means (in writing, through the various associations, mass media, etc.) the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting rigorous legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers.
As regards the diseases against which there are no alternative vaccines which are available and ethically acceptable, it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health. However, if the latter are exposed to considerable dangers to their health, vaccines with moral problems pertaining to them may also be used on a temporary basis. The moral reason is that the duty to avoid passive material cooperation is not obligatory if there is grave inconvenience. Moreover, we find, in such a case, a proportional reason, in order to accept the use of these vaccines in the presence of the danger of favouring the spread of the pathological agent, due to the lack of vaccination of children. This is particularly true in the case of vaccination against German measles
As such, it’s clear that there is, at the very least, a legitimate moral concern regarding the use of certain vaccines.
On top of this, there is also this reality: every medication can cause unintended side-effects and this includes vaccination. Using chicken pox as an example (a disease which can but rarely leads to death), in a population that is widely vaccinated a point will be reached where the statistical likelihood of a side-effect (which is rare but can also be life-threatening) from a vaccination will be greater than the likelihood of catching measles.
However, as this information does not appear to be readily available (hint to the government if it wants to convince people about the benefits of vaccination) then people must make a best guess themselves about the risks and the benefits.
Finally, there is also the concern about vaccinations such as the Gardasil. While this vaccination may prevent cervical cancer (a good thing), so will living a moral life.
Any adult in the room who understands these things will come to a rational conclusion: vaccination is a preventative health measure that does come with some (small) risk and moral concern. Further, some of the diseases vaccinations mitigate against can be just as easily countered with preventative health measures that carry no risk at all.
Consequently, individuals should be free to choose to vaccinate or not. And parents should also have that freedom when it comes to making health care decisions for their children.
I also want to make some points about human nature.
When it comes to vaccination, the government is kind of in a no-win situation. In fact, the policy reality is that the government will always be in a no-win situation when it comes to health care: no matter how much money is spent, no matter how good the hospitals are and no matter how much we are educated about health care, the truth is that we are all going to die.
There’s not much that can be done about that at all.
And when it comes to vaccination, if they are free some people are likely to believe that it is part of a government plot to sterilise the world (I give you free contraception and the stampede to use it as proof that the government need not hatch up any covert schemes on that score, as well as the fact government sterilisation and calls for it in Australia are brazen anyway) or some other nefarious conspiracy. And if they were not subsidised a bunch of people would complain about the cost.
But when vaccinations are mandated, as they are in Australia via relegation to second-class citizenship status for those who object, human beings are likely to develop even more of a conspiratorial view of vaccination.
Another hint for the government: if it wants to increase uptake of a preventative health measure, a carrot is better than a stick.
In summary, I am not opposed to vaccinations.
However, like many other Australians, I oppose mandated vaccination policies that remove parental rights and replace the care of mum and dad with Big Brother and a committee in Canberra.
By mandating vaccination, a serious philosophical health care principle has been utterly annihilated: patient consent. And it’s been blown away even though parents have legitimate moral and health care concerns about vaccinations.
Despite what may be the best intentions, we now live in a world where the government believes it has the legal, moral, philosophical and legal right to make health care choices for you and your children, regardless of your own views or concerns.
That is more than troubling.
Which brings us to euthanasia.
It appears that Victoria is likely to blow another health care principle out of the water at any moment with its legalised suicide laws.
These laws radically shift health care from heal to kill.
Any sane person would be concerned about this, especially in a society where the government can mandate ‘health care’ sourced from the flesh of human beings who were ‘lawfully’ killed in the womb.
Am I saying that forced euthanasia will be foisted upon us tomorrow? No.
But it is clear that the moral, legal and philosophical principles that would limit the government’s power to do so have evaporated almost overnight.
The gates that prevent our society from going down that road have all been opened. And the cattle that run this joint are likely to start wandering down that road out of sheer curiosity at some point in time, led by the Greens who have no problem with death at all.
That’s what vaccination has to do with euthanasia…