The following is an excerpt from a keynote presentation given by NVIC co-founder and president Barbara Loe Fisher at the 2014 U.S. Health Freedom Congress in Minneapolis, MN.
The public conversation about whether we should have the freedom to choose how we want to maintain our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health has become one of the most important public conversations of our time. It is a conversation that challenges us to examine complex public policy, scientific, ethical, legal, philosophical, economic, political and cultural issues. This may appear to be a new conversation, but it has been around for centuries.1 At the center of this new and old public conversation about health and freedom, is the topic of vaccination.2 3
What unites those defending an open discussion about vaccination and health is a commitment to protecting bodily integrity4 5 and defending the inalienable right to self-determination,6 which has been globally acknowledged as a human right.7 8 9
Whether you are a health care professional practicing complementary and alternative medicine or specializing in homeopathic, naturopathic, chiropractic, acupuncture, or other holistic health options,10 or you are a consumer advocate working for the right to know and freedom to choose how you and your family will stay well, you are among the millions of people in the U.S. and other nations who have a deep concern about health and freedom.
The Most Hotly Debated of All Health Freedom Issues
The most divisive and hotly debated of all health freedom issues is the question of whether individuals should be at liberty to dissent from established medical and government health policy and exercise freedom of thought, speech and conscience when it comes to vaccination.11 12 13 In the health freedom movement, there are some who will defend the legal right to purchase and use nutritional supplements, drink raw milk, eat GMO free food, remove fluoride from public water systems and mercury from dental amalgams or choose non-medical model options for healing and staying well, but are reluctant to publicly support the legal right to make vaccine choices.
Vaccination is a medical procedure that has been elevated to a sacrosanct status by those in control of the medical-model based health care system for the past two centuries. Vaccination is now being proclaimed as the most important scientific discovery and public health intervention in the history of medicine.14 15 16
Using religious symbols and crusading language, medical scientists describe vaccination as the Holy Grail.17 18 19 20 Vaccines, they say, are going to eradicate all causes of sickness and death from the earth and anyone who doubts that is an ignorant fool.21 22 23 24 25
In the 1970’s, pediatrician and health freedom pioneer Robert Mendelsohn, who described himself as a medical heretic, warned that medical science has become a religion and doctors have turned the act of vaccination into “the new sacrament.”26 In the 21st century, if you refuse to believe that vaccination is a moral and civic duty and dare to question vaccine safety or advocate for the legal right to decline one or more government recommended vaccines, you are in danger of being branded an anti-science heretic, a traitor and a threat to the public health.27 28 You are viewed as a person of interest who deserves to be humiliated, silenced and punished for your dissent.29 30 31 32
Exercising Freedom of Thought, Speech and Autonomy
As contentious as the public conversation about vaccination, health and autonomy has become, we cannot be afraid to have it. There has never been a better time to challenge those ruling our health care with an iron fist. We have the power and all we need to do is exercise it. We have the tools in the 21st century to bring about a modern Age of Enlightenment33 that will liberate the people so we can take back our freedom and our health.
The electronic communications revolution has provided a global platform for us to access the Library of Medicine34 and evaluate the quality and quantity of vaccine science used to make public health policy and create vaccine laws. The World Wide Web allows us to circumvent the paid mainstream media dominated by industry and governments and publicly communicate in detail on our computers, tablets and smart phones exactly what happened to our health or our child’s health after vaccination.35 36 37 38
We are connected with each other in a way that we have never been before and it is time to talk about vaccines and microbes and the true causes of poor health. It is time to face the fear that we and our children will get sick and die if we don’t believe and do what those we have allowed to rule our health care system with an iron fist tell us to believe and do.
1 Bayer R. The continuing tensions between individual rights and public health. Talking Point on health versus civil liberties. EMBO Reports 2007; 8(12): 1099-1103.
2 Mariner WK, Annas GJ, Glantz LH. Jacobsen v Massachusetts: It’s Not Your Great Great Grandfather’s Public Health Law. Am J Pub Health 2005; 95(4): 58-590.
3 Maher B. Vaccination: A Conversation Worth Having. Huffington Post Mar. 18, 2010.
4 Shaman JM. The Right of Privacy in State Constitutional Law. Rutgers Law Journal 2005; 37(971): 971-1085.
5 Fisher BL. Women, Vaccines and Bodily Integrity. Jan. 24, 2013.
6 Cohen J, Ezer T. Human rights in patient care: A theoretic and practical framework. Health and Human Rights Journal 2013.
7 Grodin MA, Annas GJ. Legacies of Nuremberg–Medical Ethics and Human Rights. JAMA 1996; 276(20): 1682-1683.
8 Council of Europe. Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine. Apr. 4, 1997.
9 United Nations. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
10 NIH. The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Feb. 20, 2013.
11 Fisher BL. Leave parents free to choose vaccines. USA Today Apr. 13, 2014.
12 ProCon.org. Vaccines: Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children? ProCon.org Sept. 9, 2014.
13 Aleccia J. Pro-Vaccine Messages Actually Backfire, Study Finds. NBC News Mar. 3, 2014.
14 Childs D., Kansagra S. 10 Health Advances That Changed the World. ABC News Sept. 20, 2007.
15 CDC. Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century. CDC Apr. 26, 2013.
16 Dempsey J. The Complete Guide to Vaccines. Carrington College Apr. 8, 2014.
17 Palu G, Parolin C. Immunotherapy: Oral route to Holy Grail? Gene Therapy 2003; 10:1-2.
18 Frelin L, Sallberg M. A small step closer to the Holy Grail of DNA vaccines: undisputed clinical benefit in humans. Genome Medicine 2009; 1-15.
19 Shaw AR. Universal influenza vaccine: The holy grail? Expert Rev Vaccines 2012; 11(8): 923-927.
20 Elvidge S. Intellect Neurosciences chases holy grail of Alzheimer’s: A preventive vaccine. Fierce Pharma Apr. 10, 2012.
21 Culp-Ressler T. Vaccines Have Almost Totally Eliminate These 13 Infectious Diseases in the U.S. ThinkProgress.org Feb. 22, 2013.
22 Au M. When Parents Don’t Vaccinate, I Take It Personally. Psychology Today June 8, 2011.
23 Skeptical Raptor (Anonymous blogger). Nurses who refuse vaccinations–bad for healthcare. Daily Kos July 18, 2014.
24 Snyder J. Danger Zones of Parental Vaccine Refusal. Science Based Medicine Sept. 1, 2013.
25 Anonymous. Antivaccine movement is a virus of ignorance. Observer-Reporter Oct. 31, 2014.
26 Mendelsohn RS. Confessions of A Medical Heretic. Contemporary Books 1979.
27 Anderson L. Vaccine deniers: inside the dumb, dangerous new fad. The Verge Oct. 22, 2013.
28 Fisher, BL. Turning Vaccine Exemptions Into Class Warfare. NVIC Newsletter Sept. 14, 2012.
29 NVIC.org. Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall.
30 Megan. The
Vaccination Hate Debate. LivingWhole.org Apr. 15, 2014.
31 Caplan AL, Hoke D, Diamond NJ, Karshenboyem V. Free to Choose but Liable for the Consequences: Should Non-vaccinators Be Penalized for the Harm They Do? Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics Fall 2012.
32 Kluger J. Chili’s Burns Anti-Vaxxers–and Probably Saves Some Kids Lives. Time Apr. 7, 2014.
33 Bristow W. Enlightenment. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2010.
34 NIH. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
35 NVIC.org. International Memorial for Vaccine Victims.
36 NVIC.org. Flu Vaccine Leaves Former Nurse A Quadriplegic. Oct. 31, 2011.
37 NVIC.org. Pertussis Vaccine Reaction Leads to Developmental Delays. Oct. 31, 2011.
38 VaxTruth.org. Hear This Well: Vaccines Do Cause Autism. Sept. 1, 2014.