Regular readers of Bored Panda are well familiar with our stance on vaccinations by now – while we respect your rights and freedom to choose, endangering others by ignoring scientific evidence in favor of myths and quackery is not on. With cases of measles on the rise in North America and Europe because of people neglecting to vaccinate their children, despite overwhelming evidence of the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, it seems that some have decided that enough is enough.
In scenes reminiscent of a drug or anti-terrorist raid, police in Chandler, Arizona kicked down the door of a house to look for a 2-year-old boy, who had reportedly come down with a dangerously high fever. The boy was unvaccinated, and his mother was ignoring the pleas of doctors to take him to the emergency room. She was afraid of getting into trouble for not vaccinating her child. When health officials visited the house to do a welfare check the father allegedly refused them entry, saying that the fever had passed and the boy was now fine. This prompted the police to take the matter into their own hands.
With the child’s temperature having shown over 105 degrees at an earlier visit to a clinic at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, the parents had been told by doctors to take the boy to the emergency room immediately, fearing a case of meningitis. When they didn’t show up, the case was reported to the authorities. When they eventually got into the house, they found two other children, ages 6 and 4, who were also showing signs of sickness. All three children were immediately taken to the hospital and afterward placed in foster care. The 2-year-old was eventually diagnosed with a respiratory virus.
This is a pretty extreme example of authorities deciding to override parents when it comes to matters of their child’s health. In these scary times of unvaccinated children possibly infecting those around them, it has started an important discussion about individual liberties, the rights of parents and the responsibility to protect others.
The father was tearful during the ensuing court case, believing they had been treated like criminals and demanding the return of their children. He finds support from Arizona state Rep. Kelly Townsend, pictured below, who is disturbed by the case. “It was brought to my attention that these parents may have been targeted by the medical community because they hadn’t vaccinated their children,” she told AZcentral, adding that parents who don’t vaccinate their children because of medical concerns aren’t criminals and shouldn’t be treated as such. She believes that the use of a SWAT team to take the children away from their parents is “not the country that I recognize,” and has previously referred to mandatory measles vaccines as “communist”
“What about parents’ rights to decide what’s best for their child?” Townsend said. “Parents felt the child was fine. Next thing we know, the Gestapo is at their door.”
What do you think? Should authorities be allowed to behave in this manner if they feel that a child is in danger? Or are parents within their rights to refuse treatment? Let us know what you think in the comments!