Law expert and Assemblyman Mike Gatto has spoken out against the mandatory vaccination law in California, saying that it is fundamentally unconstitutional.
He says it is not for the government to decide whether parents should vaccinate their child or not.
He says the law infringes on a parents liberties to parent their own children; refuse medical treatment, practise ones religion; and to attend school.
Assuming the government has a compelling reason here — slowing the spread of disease — it still can only infringe these liberties if a law is narrowly tailored and logical, and if no less-restrictive means exist.
Consider the following examples. There are 1.2 million Americans with HIV and 178 this year with the measles. Just as vaccines slow or halt the spread of measles, prophylactics slow or halt HIV.
But could the government mandate that everyone use condoms to stop the spread of HIV? Of course not. Such intimate decisions are not for government to make.
About 56,000 people die from the flu or pneumonia each year. Prohibiting travel and assemblies of anyone suspected of being infected would stop disease transmission, prevent deaths and do much good. But again, because the right to assemble is fundamental, the government could not take it away just because you have the flu.
As an article in the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics recently noted, court rulings allowing mandatory vaccinations are outdated, narrow and come from a line of precedent that also allowed the government to sterilize those it deemed genetically unfit. Forced-vaccination proponents often say we should “trust scientists.” I do. They would be wise to trust constitutional lawyers.
A law mandating vaccinating kindergarteners for an STD, shots for tetanus (not communicable) and “any other” vaccines that some bureaucrat chooses — or a child loses the right to education — is too broad to be constitutional.