Here at Texans for Vaccine Choice, we receive a lot of questions, comments, and concerns on a daily basis. For a mostly volunteer organization, it’s nearly too many to keep up with and certainly far more than we can fully investigate or respond to in a proper capacity.
However, one particular Facebook tag caught my attention, warranted deeper research, and led me to my own philosophical debate of sorts. See, although most of you know me from my work through Texans for Vaccine Choice, at heart I am a mother who, like most of you, is continuously evaluating this thing called life and pondering how I can pass on to my children certain principles and values that are important to me. What you may not know is that through my work with TFVC, many of those values and principles have been challenged, changed, or outright obliterated. Through my work, my world view has certainly shifted for the better, I believe.
Back to the Facebook tag alerting me to an issue of informed consent, medical privacy, and vaccine choice:
It was a post in which a mother shared screen shots of consent forms for her child to be picked up from school, driven to a federally-funded, locally-operated medical clinic, and receive full and comprehensive care from this clinic that has collaborated with the local ISD.
During school hours.
Without the guardian present.
At first glance, maybe for some families this seems like a dream come true. I mean, I get it – I am a working, single parent who struggles to cram everything into each day. Heck, most days we fail epically at just getting in the basics. The idea of consolidating appointments or handing over a task to someone else? Sounds quite dreamy, if I might say so myself.
But let’s step back and think about this.
How many people do you trust to love, care for, and guide your children in the way that YOU DO? How many people do you trust to make decisions for them the way YOU WOULD? To put as much care in each decision for their well-being that you would? Is anyone going to love, tend to, and take the same effort in caring for their life as YOU the parent would?
Do you want to just hand that over to someone else? Someone who does not suffer the consequences of the outcome should the wrong decision be made?
And what about the child? Is the expectation that they – before the age they can legally consent to sex, to marry, or to even vote – have the emotional maturity and well-developed thought process to ask the reasonable and logical questions associated with their medical care?
I mean look, I have three kids between the ages of 11-16. I love them. I think they are brilliant. I am quite certain one is going to be the next governor or something. But they do the stupidest things on the face of the earth! Putting foil in the microwave, for example! Why? Because they are CHILDREN whose brains are NOT fully developed and who rely on their parents to be there to teach them and guide them.
My kids learn about informed consent by observing ME asking questions at their appointments and watching ME interact with the medical professional. This is how they learn about the proper role of the physician and see appropriate boundaries put in place. Although we have excellent physicians and health practitioners we work with, under no circumstance would I expect my children to navigate that experience alone. There is a reason even adults at times require the help of a patient advocate.
Dare I even mention the issue of incentivizing consent, which is what programs like “Kick the Flu” do by offering prizes to kids who get flu shots? I would be outright horrified to think how quickly one of my kids could be convinced to do whatever is suggested to them without question! As I said, I think my children are amazing and brilliant, but put them in a vulnerable situation with adults in an authoritative role and heck, you most likely don’t even need to offer them an incentive! Nevertheless, that incentive might just seal the deal to get them to sign on to whatever treatment is deemed profitable… *cough*…I mean, recommended.
Surely I can’t be the only one horrified at this concept.
Please tell me I am not alone when I look at these forms and feel this is an outright attempt to remove the parent from, well, the role of PARENT. I can’t help but wonder, where is this going?
The role of parent has been nearly eliminated in education, and it sure seems like now we are taking steps to remove the parent from medical decisions as well. Our reliance on science and so-called professionals substituting their judgment for ours is terrifying. Parents, I beg you, I plead with you: look deeper.
The vaccine choice movement is very little about vaccines and very much about your rights, your freedoms, your liberties. It is about the fundamental principle that the state does not own you or your children.
You may love your vaccines, you may believe in them, but when you hand that right over to someone else to decide FOR you, what happens when it is something you don’t agree with? A vaccine you are NOT comfortable with?
When one allows the government to decide for us, we accept the consequence that will come with that decision. As parents, we are not perfect and I am thankful for resources made available to help us navigate this journey, but I come back to what I touched on earlier:
No one, not ONE person on this earth has a greater vested interest in their child than we as parents do. No one will love them or care for them in same way that you would.
It’s that love that qualifies you – that REQUIRES you – to be involved in every aspect of their upbringing. It is this view that has spurred me to question, to think, to act with caution and care in every aspect of our lives, and I challenge you to do the same.