When it comes to mandated vaccinations, the anti-vaccine crowd slams the idea as state tyranny, and one Arizona GOP Rep. is taking that position publicly.
In a Facebook post this Wednesday, Rep. Kelly Townsend warned that measles outbreaks around the country will result in Arizonians being forced to “give up our liberty” and the “very sovereignty of our body.”
“Dearest friends and people of Arizona, it seems we are prepared to give up our liberty, the very sovereignty of our body, because of measles,” Townsend wrote. “I read yesterday that the idea is being floated that if not enough people get vaccinated, then we are going to force them to. The idea that we force someone to give up their liberty for the sake of the collective is not based on American values but rather, Communist.”
Townsend’s post comes in the wake of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) declaring that the state would not be expanding vaccine exemptions and that he would veto any bills that seek to do so. There are currently 10 states experiencing measles outbreaks due to low vaccination rates.
The lawmaker’s rant against “forced” vaccination is a common theme disseminated by anti-vaccine groups looking to characterize vaccine mandates as some sort of state-sponsored tyranny enacted against citizens. In reality, vaccine mandates simply require people who choose to use public services to be up-to-date on their required vaccines.
Townsend claims that she’s the mother of a child “injured” by vaccines, although she didn’t specifically state what that injury is.
“And finally, I am going to demand, as a mother of an injured child from her vaccines, that we insist that we spend the time and money on discovering what in these vaccines is causing so much injury, instead of insisting on taking your liberty in the name of the collective,” she wrote.
The response to Townsend’ post was mixed, with some slamming her claims to others expressing sympathy.
“Pregnancy is far riskier than a vaccination,” one commenter wrote. “[Don’t] pretend you care about bodily autonomy.”
“Thank you Rep Townsend for advocating for parental rights and freedom of choice!” wrote another.
Study after study has shown that vaccines are safe, as well as being hugely effective for eradicating disease. According to a 2014 study from the CDC, vaccines have saved the lives of 732,000 U.S. children over the past two decades and prevented over 300 million children from getting sick.
According to a 2011 study from the National Academy of Medicine, serious reactions to vaccines are extremely rare.
Featured image via Kelly Townsend/Facebook