I want to follow up on a point Amanda made in response to my post about the Texas plan to immune all girls against HPV. (Maybe between the two of us, we’ll rub some good points together and come up with an idea…) Amanda writes (italics mine):
…it’s true that the opt-out policy does mean that it’s going to be a lot harder for vindictive, misogynist parents to refuse to protect their daughters from cervical cancer. It’s the difference between neglect and active abuse, really. Without mandatory vaccinations, denying your daughter preventative treatment was easy, since you simply had to neglect providing it.
Under the opt-out policy, however, if you want to keep your daughter in danger of getting cervical cancer, you have to get an opt-out form, fill it out, sign it, and make your daughter take it back to school and then the school officials will know that you’re the kind of creep that would rather have your daughter be dead from cancer than to face up to the fact that she is going to grow up and have sex one day. On top of that, you run the risk of having your daughter get cancer or even just genital warts one day and remembering that you took action to deny her treatment that would spare her this pain. I don’t know about you, but if I found out my parents had a chance to spare me from a disease but they went out of their way to make sure that I wasn’t spared, I’d be furious. I may even refuse to speak to them again. I’d blame them for my cancer. And I’d be right to do so.
For the last several decades, the theological right have not had to deal with the specific consequences of their actions–particularly since those driving the theological right are mostly men. It’s easy to ‘moralize away’ horrible outcomes when it’s someone else’s body and life. But it’s much harder when you might be called to account for your decisions. In this case, if your daughter dies from cervical cancer, it’s your fault: not the gummint’s fault, not the Evul Libruls’ fault, not Michael Moore’s fault.
Yours and yours alone.
Of course, the other thing is that by not vaccinating your kids, you put other children at risk–at least until we have a national HPV vaccination policy. But that will have to be the subject of another post.