Legislators in thirteen states have introduced bills that would severely constrict or eliminate exemptions from compulsory vaccination, with the intended aim of coercing, cajoling, or forcing those who have not been vaccinated to become so. Those states are California (SB 277); Illinois (SB 1410); Maine (LD 606); Maryland (HB 687); Minnesota (SF 380 and HF 393); New Jersey (S 1147 and A351); New Mexico (HB 522); Oregon (SB 442); Pennsylvania; Rhode Island (S381); Texas (SB 1114; SB 538; HB 2006); Vermont (H212; S87); and Washington (HB 2009).
Amidst hysteria arising from a relatively small number of cases of measles (some 600 last year and some 150 this year), law makers would take away everyone’s rights to liberty and personal autonomy.
Given the likelihood that at least some of these draconian measures will pass, it is wise to reflect upon our history to see from whence this peculiar deviation from ordinary protection for liberty rights comes. It is also wise to appreciate that the law favoring compulsory vaccination is now scientifically anachronistic and that modern understanding of immunology enables us to employ measures that reduce the risk of disease carriage and transmission without forcibly tying down children and adults and injecting them with substances they do not wish to have in their bodies.
It will surprise many to learn that the concept of compulsory vaccination has national socialist roots in our country that spring from the same drive for a “master race” that led the Nazis to embrace eugenics (including forced sterilization) and dysgenics (including execution of the Jews and others deemed “undesirable”). It will surprise many to learn that the person most responsible for eliminating constitutional protections against such intrusions (the Fourteenth Amendment) is one regarded as among America’s greatest jurists and legal scholars, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Holmes believed in eugenics and even dysgenics (execution of those whom he regarded as “feeble-minded,” “undesirable,” and “inadequate”).