Involuntary HPV Immunization

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I have little of my own that's worth saying on the Texas HPV issue, but I found Eugene Volokh's post to reflect my general view. His concluding summary is particularly good at encapsulating the main point:

But as a moral matter of individual liberty, it seems to me that there's little support for a claimed freedom from getting immunized -- and especially a claimed freedom from getting your underage children immunized. A requirement that people not allow their bodies to be media for unwitting transmission of deadly diseases strikes me as quite compatible with a generally libertarian perspective on the world.

I should also note that, despite the Family Research Council's attempt [scroll down to the second story] to play this off as merely an issue about whether the government can take away parental rights to make decisions for their children, this could just as easily be seen as a pro-life issue. If parental rights to make decisions for their children were an absolute, then parents should be able to force their daughters to have abortions. The FRC wouldn't want that, would it? Then why is it opposed to a similar life-or-death issue where the government can significantly reduce the effects of risky behavior on those who did not take those risks?

4 Comments

Using the same logic, do you also support condom distribution in schools?

By the same logic, it does not follow that condoms should be distributed in schools. It does not encourage children to have sex, since it doesn't prevent HIV or pregnancy. Something else would be necessary for it to remove the resistance young children should rightly have to having sex at such a young age if they have any sense of self-preservation. Condoms, on the other hand, serve as protection for all three things and might remove some of the resistance children might have toward engaging in sexual behavior. So handing out condoms would encourage children to have sex in a way that giving the HPV inoculation should not.

I guess we'll have to disagree on this one. Vaccines for HPV are not on a par with other vaccines for precisely the reasons FRC pointed out. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease and as such, is only necessary for sexually active individuals. I remain convinced that parents should make this decisions, not the state.

Jeremy, the issue of a forced abortion is a live one. See this post at Show-Me the Argument: http://philosophy.missouri.edu/show-me/?p=325

I'd like to know where Gary Bauer and the gang at FRC stand on this one!

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