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Are Proposed Forced Vaccination Laws Comparable to Eugenics Forced Sterilization Laws in the U.S.?

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Eugenics Protest circa 1971 originally published by Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF). Source [1].

Health Impact News Editor Comments

Constitutional attorney Jonathan Emord has written an excellent commentary about current legislative efforts to remove vaccine exemptions, and increase forced vaccinations against people’s wills. Emord writes:

The current rush to revoke laws allowing conscientious dissent from compulsory vaccination, including encumbering or revoking grounds based on religious or medical grounds, are a return to a very ugly era of elitism, one of gross intrusion into rights of personal autonomy and liberty that left us only a few decades ago.

Emord reminds us that it was not that long ago when “eugenics” was a popular “scientific fact” accepted by the majority in our society, and used to pass state laws forcing sterilization of people considered “genetically unfit” for society.

The most famous case was Buck vs. Bell, a Virginia statute which was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1927. The Court’s decision, delivered by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., included the infamous phrase “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Upholding Virginia’s sterilization statute provided the green light for similar laws in 30 states, under which an estimated 65,000 Americans were sterilized without their own consent or that of a family member.

EugenicsArchive.org [2] gives more information about this time period in U.S. history:

Although Indiana passed the first eugenic sterilization statute in 1907, this and other early laws were legally flawed and did not meet the challenge of state court tests. To remedy this situation, Harry Laughlin of the Eugenics Record Office (ERO) at Cold Spring Harbor designed a model eugenic law that was reviewed by legal experts. The Virginia statute of 1924 was closely based on this model.

The plaintiff of the case, Carrie Buck, and her mother Emma, had been committed to the Virginia Colony for Epileptics and Feeble Minded in Lynchburg, Virginia. Carrie and Emma were both judged to be “feebleminded” and promiscuous, primarily because they had both had borne children out of wedlock. Carrie’s child, Vivian, was judged to be “feebleminded” at seven months of age. Hence, three generations of “imbeciles” became the “perfect” family for Virginia officials to use as a test case in favor of the eugenic sterilization law enacted in 1924. (Source [2].)

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Carrie Buck sits with her mother, Emma Buck, on the grounds of the Virginia State Colony of Epileptics and Feeble-Minded in Madison Heights, near Lynchburg. This photograph was taken in November 1924 by Arthur H. Estabrook, a eugenics researcher who interviewed the two women before testifying in a legal case that resulted in the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck. Source [3].

Eugenics, of course, fell out of favor in mainstream western science after World War II, where it was on display for the world to see as used by Nazi Germany to justify the killing of millions of Jews. So in spite of having the law on their side with the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Virginia eventually repented of their sins of forced sterilization:

Although in 1942 the Supreme Court struck down a law allowing the involuntary sterilization of criminals, it never reversed the general concept of eugenic sterilization. In 2001, the Virginia General Assembly acknowledged that the sterilization law was based on faulty science and expressed its “profound regret over the Commonwealth’s role in the eugenics movement in this country and over the damage done in the name of eugenics.” On May 2, 2002 a marker was erected to honor Carrie Buck in her hometown of Charlottesville. (Source [2].)

What other “faulty science” is there in mainstream western science today that seeks to impose its will on a free society by force in the area of vaccinations, where proponents claim “the science is settled?”

THE NEW AUTHORITARIANS, THE COMPULSORY VACCINATORS

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by Jonathan W. Emord. Esq. [4]

We like to think of ourselves as a humane people, a just people, a people who tolerate dissent out of recognition that dissent is a right we must all enjoy lest the day arrive when adherence to a government decree may strip all of us of the basic right to be left alone and to avoid deprivations of life, liberty, and property. The reality, however, is that throughout our history majorities intent on pursuing goals said to be for the public good or necessity have overridden dissenting voices and have even forcibly incarcerated individuals, injected foreign substances into them, and performed operations upon them, all against their will.

A sad aspect of history, involving majoritarian deprivation of the rights of the minority, is repeating itself with barely an objection from the media or defenders of individual liberty. The current rush to revoke laws allowing conscientious dissent from compulsory vaccination, including encumbering or revoking grounds based on religious or medical grounds, are a return to a very ugly era of elitism, one of gross intrusion into rights of personal autonomy and liberty that left us only a few decades ago.

Laws said to be for the common good that are used to justify forcible denial of the speech rights, religious liberty, personal autonomy, or reproductive liberty of individuals mark an authoritarian rejection of fundamental truths that underlie our Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. When we are noble and true to the free principles that support our fundamental laws, we start with the premise that all are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights to life, liberty and property. We proceed to demand that governments honor those rights unless abused by an individual to deny the equal rights of others. Even in those instances where the equal rights of others are deprived by an individual, we demand that due process be observed and that a full and fair hearing proceed before an impartial judge and a jury of one’s peers so as to protect the rights of the accused against summary justice (which is the very definition of injustice). A nation of laws and of liberty depends on protection of the rights of the minority against the majority when the exercise of the rights of the minority involve no demonstrable injury to others.

Between 1907 and 1979, some 30 states adopted compulsory sterilization statutes in the United States which were based on widespread acceptance of eugenics, the flawed assumption born of the 19th Century mind of Francis Galton that mental illness, physical disability, and even criminal behavior were inherited characteristics. On that false, elitist premise, which sought to create a master race and gave rise to Nazi laws to exterminate the Jews, the mentally ill, homosexuals, and the infirm, state after state sought to rid its population of those deemed “undesirable” in the quest for purifying the gene pool (even before the Nazis adopted comparable laws in Germany).

In Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927), the Supreme Court infamously upheld Virginia’s compulsory sterilization law as applied to 18 year old Carrie Buck, who had been raped while institutionalized, with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes thundering in a decision to deprive Buck of her fundamental right to procreate the infamous words: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” That shameful decision echoes through history to the present wherein the new authoritarian elitists demand comparable control over individual autonomy to effect what they too see as a compelling public good: mandatory vaccination.

It indeed is that same elitist prejudice which imbues current demands nationwide coming from respected medical authorities and petty bureaucrats alike that every person in America be forcibly vaccinated regardless of their scruples to the contrary. Operating on the false notion that universal vaccination will somehow arrest the advance of common disease (a reality readily proven false based on several examples, including the current flu vaccine which authorities admit will shield less than 18% of the vaccinated population from the flu), the new authoritarians demand that laws be passed to effectuate that objective, to compel against their will every man, woman, and child to be injected with vaccine.

Likewise, as we see a resurgence of individual cases of the measles in the United States (there were some 644 confirmed cases in 2014 and 0ver 154 cases thus far in 2015), new calls emerge for revoking state law protections for those who wish to dissent from vaccination and for passing new laws that compel vaccination.

Independent of those laws, however, is the Bill of Rights’ guarantee of Due Process under the Fourteenth Amendment and of the right to privacy. On that basis, the Supreme Court in Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health, 497 U.S. 261, confirmed its support for the right of competent persons to refuse medical treatment (even life-saving treatment) consistent with the liberty right of the Fourteenth Amendment and the implied right to privacy protected by that same amendment. If our courts will be true to the Fourteenth Amendment, and the First Amendment protection for the free exercise of religion, they will not allow those who dissent from vaccination to be forcibly vaccinated.

On the same argument which underlies compelled vaccination, one may also argue for compelled genetic engineering to achieve a specific alteration in select genes said to be linked to a higher incidence of, for example, breast cancer. Or, alternatively, to compelling those with genes said to be linked to an increase incidence of cancer to undergo mandatory mastectomies. The argument posed against this analogy is that unlike the communicable disease of measles, breast cancer is not transferrable, but the state can well subscribe to the view that it is inheritable if genetically based and, so, could likewise argue that compelled mastectomies serve a public good. I offer this example to alert those who are all too ready to endorse mandatory measles vaccines of the fundamental right they are sacrificing in the head long rush to achieve what they consider a public good.

To protect the right to dissent against violation of one’s personal autonomy, the Constitution intentionally erects substantial barriers that may not be overcome in the absence of proof that specific other’s equal rights to life, liberty, and property are imminently imperiled. In that regard, there are many less intrusive alternatives to forcible vaccination that may be taken to reduce the risk of the spread of infectious diseases. Assume for the moment that a true outbreak of measles afflicted our country (the present numbers do not justify that claim), one not in the hundreds or thousands of cases over a year’s time but in the hundreds of thousands of cases. The state could certainly urge people to be vaccinated but for those who will not, what then?

In the first instance, those who are not vaccinated pose a very indirect risk. They may contract the disease, for sure, but so may a percentage of those vaccinated. The measles vaccine, like all vaccines, cannot assure 100% effectiveness. Nevertheless, if evidence can be shown that the unvaccinated are in proximity of those with the disease and could carry it and infect others whether wittingly or unwittingly, then the unvaccinated could be compelled in those circumstances to abide by isolation or sanitation procedures designed to limit the spread of the disease.

For example, they could be asked to wear masks or gloves, strictly observe personal hygiene measures, avoid interpersonal contact, or, worst case, remain in their homes until the contagion had passed and the risk level had dropped to manageable levels.

In other words, out of respect for that most precious human right, the right of liberty over one’s person to be free from unwanted intrusions imposed by the state, we must necessarily make resort to compelled deprivation of that autonomy so difficult that every reasonable alternative to it must be tried and only upon proof that no alternative will suffice allow it and then only in the most limited of circumstances whereupon it has been proven that the equal rights of others to life, liberty and property are imminently imperiled. Only in this way may we be sure that we preserve liberty, due process, and religious freedom embraced here in a right to dissent against the winds of majoritarian tyranny and political force that direct state action. We must defend the rights of others to dissent against deprivations of right so that we may enjoy a like defense when we find ourselves out of step with the will of the majority.

Originally Published at Newswithviews.com [5]. Reprinted with permission.

Comment on this article at VaccineImpact.com [6]

Jonathan W. Emord has been practicing constitutional and administrative law before the federal courts and agencies since 1985. Having begun his career as an attorney in the Federal Communications Commission during the administration of President Ronald Reagan, Emord has maintained an abiding conviction to achieve full First Amendment protection for the freedoms of speech and press. He is routinely consulted by industry, Congress, and the media on regulatory issues that affect health freedom.  He is a Guest Lecturer at the Georgetown University, Department of Biochemistry, Course in Nutrition and at the Georgetown University Law Center, Alternative, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine Legal Issues Course.

See Also:

CDC Whistleblower: CDC Covered Up MMR Vaccine Link to Autism in African American Boys [7]

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More than a half century ago, famed writer C.S. Lewis warned about how science (a good thing) could be twisted in order to attack religion, undermine ethics, and limit human freedom. Lewis lived during the era of scientific eugenics, and saw first hand its horrors.

In this documentary “The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism,” leading scholars explore Lewis’s prophetic warnings about the abuse of science and how Lewis’s concerns are increasingly relevant for us today.

Quote from C.S. Lewis:

“I dread government in the name of science. That is how tyrannies come in.”

[8]

by Attorney Jonathan Emord
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