The pro-choice movement made great headway in America ever since the 1960s. Their argument was simple: women said, “It is my body and I will do what I want with it. The government has nothing to say about it. If I want to get an abortion it is my choice.”
This argument held sway enough within our society that abortion became legal due to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. The state should essentially stay out of a woman’s decisions about her own body and anything in it.
And now the anti-vaxxers are using the exact same argument against the government that is trying to impose on their bodies the need for a vaccination to limit and ultimately defeat the Covid-19 virus. They picture themselves as “freedom fighters” against the lethal power of said government. Some consider themselves the new American revolutionaries, just like our forebears from 1776.
Obviously, the government has interfered and usurped our bodies many times over the course of our history. It has drafted us to fight our wars, leading us to face the possibility of death on the battlefield. It has food inspections, traffic rules, vaccine requirements for kids to go to school; seat belt laws, gas laws, voting laws, drinking laws, various taxes and fees—the list can go on quite a bit.
We are free except when we aren’t. The government interferes with us except when it doesn’t.
Should the anti-vaxxers use the same tact as the pro-choice advocates? Is their case really the same? Or is it stronger?
Let’s take a quick look:
- Anti-vaxxers can carry a deadly disease and infect many others, family members, strangers. If they are on a crowded train or a bus or at a party, no one there is actually safe from the virus the anti-vaxxer might carry.
- The entire country, the entire world, can suffer horribly if they continue to cry for their freedom to be infected. Even the return of measles to our children can be laid at the feet of the anti-vaxxers.
- Hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed by the anti-vaxxers taking up beds and ICUs. People with other medical conditions might not be serviced.
- The woman who has an unwanted pregnancy is no risk to anyone. Yes, if you believe she is carrying a baby then you think she will be killing that baby but, on a train, or a bus or at a party, we are all safe from getting pregnant because she is pregnant.
- Members of the woman’ family might be unhappy if they learn she is going for an abortion. There might be some family tension. That doesn’t have to do with anyone else.
- The father of the fetus might be unhappy, if he is still around.
- A pregnant woman can’t make a room or a country pregnant.
Okay, so who has the right to the “our bodies, ourselves” argument? Pro-choicers or anti-vaxxers? Which one should drop their argument and find another one to cry their cause?