No Less Worthy

Quite some time ago I received a call from Kaiser Health wanting to do an interview about vaccines and the role of Texans for Vaccine Choice. I was told the article would run within the next few days. A few days went by and nothing. I reached out to the journalist and was told it was in the approval stage. Weeks went by. Nothing. Truth be told, as a busy parent and the Executive Director of Texans for Vaccine Choice, things got busy and it slipped my mind.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday as in the day after seven bills were pre-filed in Texas for the upcoming 85th Legislature that will begin in January. Seven bills aimed at removing your rights to informed consent and vaccine choice. Seven bills aimed at increasing the role of the state in your life and decreasing the role of parents. Bills aimed to change the wording of the reason of conscience exemption to “non-medical,” because if you don’t have a medical degree or medical reason to opt out that must mean that you are just too dumb to know what is best for your child.

Back to my interview.

Yesterday the Texas Tribune released a heartfelt article on vaccination rates and exemptions in Texas. As parents, we can completely empathize with how scary it must be caring for a very sick child, such as one with cancer. Many of our members DO indeed care for sick and permanently disabled children. In fact, I AM the parent of a disabled child who at one point qualified for medical homebound services through our school district due to her poor health and now receives medically necessary services to keep her in the home. So maybe we do understand …. just a tad.

As a parent, the question I have is do we place a higher value on the lives of children with cancer over those who could be or have been harmed by vaccines? Can society pick one over the other? Of course not. All children are precious.

The fact is vaccines CAN and DO cause harm and there are many, many unanswered questions regarding vaccine testing, safety, and conflicts of interest. At the end of the day, as we strive to protect ALL children and individuals, we must continue to see past the sensational headlines and realize that the faces behind any illness, whether vaccine preventable or vaccine injured, are faces worthy of the same respect and consideration.

My life, my child’s life, is no less worthy than yours, and vice versa. Yet, that is exactly what we have done when it comes to our vaccine program. We’ve put a higher value on some lives than others.

The media have pitted parents against each other and cleverly marketed and labeled anyone who dare to question what’s best for their child a Jenny McCarthy, play boy bunny, anti-science crack pot. But we all know it’s just that. Clever marketing.

Back to that sensational headline.

Let’s unravel this web a bit. The author, Anna Casey, is with Kaiser Health News. This is a California-based medical propaganda group who would like nothing more than to turn our beloved, free-thinking Texas into another version of government-controlled California. And who is listed as a board member of KHN? Evan Smith, CEO and editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune.

Thanks to social media and good old playground conversations, our message is being shared. We are no longer controlled by what the media wants us to hear and repeat. Our message is this:

We are parents, average individuals, professionals, all with varied backgrounds and upbringings, who believe in the fundamental principle that parents and individuals are best suited to make medical decisions for themselves and their families. Period.

My sincere prayers for the many parents striving to protect their children, for those dealing with cancer, vaccine injury, medically-complex issues.

Protecting society and children means protecting ALL children, including those who have been or could potentially be injured by vaccines.

Jackie Schlegel, Executive Director, Texans for Vaccine Choice

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