In what has been hailed as the biggest victory for the anti-vaccination campaign, congress has passed a law that means parents who vaccinate their children could serve jail time. This comes as mounting evidence suggests that the preventative measures against fatal diseases could cause autism in children who are predisposed to the condition.
Over recent months, the campaign which seemed to have hit a lull, came roaring back to life, when the unverified research by hack Andrew Wakefield was pushed into the spotlight by reactionary mothers on the internet. The frantic and irresponsible parents got a further boost from renowned scientist Bill Maher’s assertion that “all those people who don’t think they can handle a little flu are total babies.”
The bill follows another important victory for campaigners, as January saw the reemergence of the all but forgotten measles, bringing further publicity to the previously denigrated group. Measles was thought to have been eliminated, but it could be the first of a long list of pre-vaccination favorites to reemerge.
“I’m hoping for diphtheria next,” said avid anti-vaxxer Mary Snucker. “I can’t wait to see my unimmunized children go blue and bleed from their precious little noses.”
Mother of five, Harriet Pentucky, said that if she had known of the risks, she would never have had her kids vaccinated. “It’s too late now,” she lamented, “and all of my children turned out okay. But to think of what I could’ve had to deal with! Yeah, polio sucks, but I’d take cripples over the autistics any day of the week.”
Republican Senator Rand Paul, who had late Tuesday contradicted his Monday statement that vaccines cause mental disorders, retracted once again, saying that the bill was a victory and that he was now on his way to de-immunize himself and his children.
“Besides,” he was overheard saying to a friend, “I’m too old to get all that mumps and rubella guff.”
Anti-vaccination has become the latest trend embraced by the ‘natural parenting’ community. There are thousands of protests, Facebook groups, shared memes, and informative campaigns sweeping the nation. It is a movement spearheaded by parents who don’t trust medicine, and embrace natural living. Rachel and David Posey of Baltimore, Maryland, are one such couple, and this week they were arrested and charged with child endangerment after their child was hospitalized with whooping cough, which has a fifty percent mortality rate in infants.
Jenny McCarthy, one of the strongest proponents of the ‘anti-vaxx’ craze, was very vocal upon hearing about the arrest.
“This is criminal. They are forcing us to poison our children, and now they are arresting us if we have the wisdom to refuse. I may not be a doctor, but I know these vaccines cause all kinds of problems, and they aren’t even one hundred percent effective. Besides, most of these things we vaccinate against aren’t even around anymore. Why vaccinate against a disease that no one even gets?” said McCarthy.
Anti-Vaxxers across the country are up in arms over the arrest, and are taking to the internet to voice their displeasure. There is even a petition for the Posey’s release on Change.org. Mary Ruiz, spokesperson for the Center for Disease Control and strong proponent for vaccinations, has addressed the mass outrage.
“With the vast amount of knowledge shared among the world’s population, it would be impossible for everyone to be well-versed on every topic. You don’t get on an airliner and decide that you can fly the plane better than the pilot, who has trained for thousands of hours. Why then is it the norm for people from all walks of life to decide that they are more knowledgeable about disease than an immunobiologist?” said Ruiz. “Not to take anything away from the average citizen, but if you received a “D” in physical science class, you are in no position to decide what compounds are unsafe for use in the human body. We had nearly stamped out a number of deadly diseases, and now, many of them are coming back in full force. Ten years ago, we were fighting the last vestiges of these diseases in third world countries. Now we are fighting them here. Children are dying, and we have these anti-vaccination parents to thank for it.”
Anti-Vaxx parents aren’t letting things like facts stand in their way, and a large contingent has taken up visage outside of the Baltimore County Courthouse to express their outrage. One protester summed up the movement quite nicely, saying that the arrest has made ‘legends’ of the Posey family.
“The Posey family are heroes. It is sad that their baby is sick, but what they are doing, fighting for our rights, it’s damn honorable. It will all be worth it in the end. Every struggle comes with a price, but soon, our unvaccinated children will be allowed equal rights under the law,” said Brent Pine, a father of 3 young, unvaccinated children.
The Baltimore County District Attorney has not been amused by the circus surrounding the case.
“These people are criminals. Good intentions aside, we feel that they are directly responsible for this child’s illness, and I assure you, if this baby dies as a result of this illness, the charges will be amended to negligent homicide,” said Baltimore District Attorney Melissa Brooks. “Regulations are in place for a reason, and contrary to some people’s beliefs, you should not be able to put your childs health at risk over an unsubstantiated rumor.”
The US Government allows a certain amount of leeway with regard to parents raising their children in a manner that they deem fit, but even religion sects that consider modern medicine to be unsafe, including members of the Christian group The Church of the First Born, have come under legal fire when neglecting proper medical care for their young children.
Several years ago, a 3-year-old girl died when her family refused to bring in her to the hospital for medical care for a treatable disease. The family attributed the sickness to ‘God’s Will,’ punishment for not attending church frequently enough. The parents let her die. They were later acquitted of charged of child abuse. Experts say that Anti-Vaxxers are slowly moving the way of a religious, or cult-like, behavior.
“These people need to understand that years of medical training and science goes into these vaccinations. We are not injecting people, children or adults, with ‘experimental’ drugs or something, all willy-nilly,” said Dr. George West, pediatric surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Please, for the sake of your children, get them vaccinated. These diseases and illnesses are preventable, and they are dire. Whooping cough will kill your baby. For crying out loud, we’re seeing Measles making a comeback. We obliterated that disease almost 15 years ago. It’s coming back specifically because of these ignorant, uninformed families.”
The Poseys face one count each of child endangerment and neglect, and are scheduled for a hearing on September 2nd. A lawyer for the couple refused comment.