“In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.”
-Ben Franklin when asked about inoculations.
Inoculations in the 1730’s were undeniably just as controversial as they are now. The procedure to administer an inoculation was a dangerous operation, potentially fatal, even- but less likely to kill than the disease they were fighting and after having lost his own son to the terrible disease, he fought to spread the word throughout England and America that inoculation was key to survival. Many refused to get it because there was a death toll caused by the procedure itself, completely unrelated to the disease. It was an operation and in those days, that was a dangerous game no matter what the reason. Today’s vaccination enthusiasts often use Ben Franklin’s wisdom as cause to trust them in today’s world because he trusted them back when it was clear that vaccines could kill. However is this really a fair thing to do?
In the 1730’s, an inoculation was potentially deadly, but it was also pretty straight forward… made with a “small amount” of the virus in a solution that would allow it to pass into the human bloodstream safely so the body could build a resistance to the disease, thus protecting the patient from death or severe reaction if they came in contact with the full strength virus in an infected person. That was it. No ten page list of ingredients in a language only a scientist would understand, no hidden poison or toxic chemicals used to bind them, just the virus and some water and that’s pretty much it. So, could we honestly say that Ben Franklin would be so passionate about advocating vaccines now that they are full of chemicals, some known to kill or injure both as immediate reaction, as well as long-term disease contributors such as tumors and autoimmune issues? Would he be able to overlook the human rights issue of using aborted fetal tissue or the foolish waste of destroying cows to collect fetal bovine blood tissues? Well, maybe he would, but the truth is people, we’ll never know his opinions so we really aught to stop using this quote as ammunition against the anti-vax club and realize life was very different in the 18th century. They didn’t understand what we do today and they didn’t have access or the knowledge they do today to find better ways.
The reality is inoculation in Franklin’s day is NOT the same as vaccination in 2014. Some may say it’s much safer now, but others might say the term “safe” is too loosely used and it ignores the thousands of vaccine injuries worldwide to protect a massive and enormously lucrative industry. There is money involved and anytime that happens, people assume decisions are made out of greed and not good will. There are buzz words surrounding the topic. Words like “autism” and “herd immunity” and we soon find ourselves joining camps on one side of the fence or the other, building walls between us and the “other” side.
I’ve only been in the game for 3 years. My oldest turned 3 in November, 2013 and I began my research just after he was born because when the doctors asked “are you opting out of the Hep B?” It occurred to me that “opting out” was a thing and I didn’t know why. I thought, well… we all get it, right? So sure… better do it, I guess. Well I did allow it, and all the other birth procedures and then I sat there with this pit in my stomach and a screaming, miserable baby with blood on his heel and a bandage on his penis wondering if I’d made the right choice. I didn’t really know if I had and THAT was the whole problem. I was just doing what everyone else did… and somehow that’s supposed to mean it’s the right thing but I just couldn’t settle myself with the idea. When in my WHOLE LIFE have I EVER done a single thing simply because everyone else was doing it? I’d grown up a rock against peer pressure of all kinds and I was dedicated to carving out my own path. I never tried drugs, I didn’t care about “the cool crowd” and I carried the understanding of my Self with me through all my decisions. It made absolutely no sense then, to make any parenting choices on behalf of an entirely different human being without knowing the why, how, what and when for every topic. How could I in good conscience, allow something to be done to my child without really understanding what it was? Was I not the voice for this tiny, new life? Was I not it’s protector, it’s advocate, it’s voice of reason until he had one of his own? That’s my JOB right? It’s what a mother does… isn’t it?
So… I began my research and opened the Pandora’s Box of vaccine insanity and I can honestly say after three years of study, I am no closer to feeling good about any decision in either camp and this has lead me to believe something that so many on either side of this war seem to constantly forget.
Every parent loves their babies. Every parent makes their choice out of love and a desire to safeguard their babies. Whether they choose to vaccinate their children, pets or themselves, or not… is usually done with nothing but a hope that by doing so, they are doing the best they can for their children.
The vaccination issue has become a great, civil war in this country and many others. It literally divides families, homes, neighborhoods, churches, schools and sets brother against brother, mother against daughter, community against an unvaccinated child.
There are a few, huge misconceptions out there about anti-vax parents that I really wanted to address and clear up once and for all.
Anti-vax parents don’t hate vaccines. They don’t hate the idea of giving their babies a little shot and in return for a moment’s pain, have them safeguarded from a terrible, life-threatening disease. That would be amazing and magical and I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t agree that in a perfect world, we would ALL be in favor of this! ….if it were actually possible. Unfortunately, vaccinations are NOT fool proof, they’re not a guarantee and they are not an exact science. They are full of additives, preservatives and bonding agents that are toxic, literally dangerous in large quantities and in some cases, morally and spiritually controversial.
Many anti-vax people are still willing to give their children some vaccines and many opt for extended schedules and carefully choose which vaccines they get. Generally, those who don’t understand, believe that anti-vax parents are actually anti-protection. That is not largely true. We are against the crap IN the vaccines that can do harm to our families, NOT against protecting anyone from disease. We are against the lack of transparency and the digging a parent has to do to find the truth. For example, do most pro-life groups consider the extraordinarily morbid reality that they are injecting aborted, human fetal tissue into their children to protect them from disease? Do Jewish parents who uphold the Kosher laws and refuse to touch pork know that they are injecting their babies with tissues from these “unclean” animals? Do Buddhists and other spiritual groups those who have taken vows to not consume the flesh of animals and never do anything that can encourage the death or harm of any living thing know that most vaccines contain animal tissues, some human tissues, sometimes taken while the specimen is alive and in some cases, stripped from the womb and slowly bled out specifically to harvest heart tissue to be used as bonding agents in vaccines?
My issue is NOT that any of this is the reality- I’m not here to go all crazy animal rights or pro-life on anyone. My issue is that these are realities. These are FACTS and unless you really dig- you won’t know about it. You won’t even have the option of opting out for religious reasons because unless you go looking, you won’t know you SHOULD look. They don’t offer you the company name and list of ingredients to the injection your child is about to receive at the doctor’s office and while you have the right to ask, I wonder how many people actually do? If you DO know to ask, you have to then make the choice; do I deny what I believe and get them anyway? Or do I decline vaccination and leave my family unprotected?
Like in all wars, lies are told on both sides to inflame emotions and continue the division between the parent who doesn’t vaccinate and the one who does. Here are the two “great lies” that get tossed around:
Anti-vax parents are all hippies who are selfish and don’t care about anyone else’s needs. They are too stupid or too high to know better than to trust medical science, they’re paranoid conspiracy people who are irresponsible, are a threat to society and their unvaccinated children are dangerous. It’s because of them, that diseases like polio and measles are making a comeback and they should be ashamed.
All parents who choose to vaccinate their families are sheep- lazy and don’t want to read labels. They don’t care about their children, they’re more concerned with fitting in than they are their children’s health and they are blind to the dangers of toxins within the vaccines. They just going along with what everyone else does because it’s easier.
Personally, I believe for some, all of this is true. There ARE some stupid sheep out there and there are some crazy, conspiracy junkies on both sides of the fence but if you’re reading this, it’s because you are one of the few who are somewhere between insane paranoia and apathy. We, the discerning parent who is willing to do research but not succumb to the hype and fear-mongering tactics of either side, are making our decisions one way or the other out of carefully weighed odds, research and understanding of our own situations and the strength of our children, families and the dangers involved with either choice.
Pro-vax people come in all shapes and sizes. Many do it because the anxiety and fear of their child getting a disease. They believe the risk of disease is far greater than the very small documented percentage of people harmed by them. The odds are in their favor and they can look past the ingredient list because it’s worth it. It’s their child’s life and it’s worth it. Many pro-vax people believe the lives we all enjoy are because of vaccinations. Look at so many other nations in this world and how much they suffer with diseases we put an end to so long ago our grandparents don’t even remember them! We enjoy a quality of life that some countries may not get to experience until our children’s grandchildren have children of their own. They do it because they believe it’s safe. They trust that the people who spent their lives dedicated to the study and manufacturing of vaccinations know more than the average mom-blogger armed with a few books and the Internet.
There are also those who deeply rely on those who are vaccinated because they, themselves cannot be vaccinated due to health issues of their own. Those people need the people they encounter to be healthy or they could die, so they beg the public to protect themselves by vaccinating.
On the other side are many, many parents who choose not to vaccinate their children for a host of solid, rational reasons. They have children who experienced vaccine injuries and stopped vaccinating to prevent further damage. Some have children who suffer from autoimmune issues, making it dangerous for them to receive vaccinations of any kind. Many others choose to opt out because of religious reasons. Some parents simply do not want to be part of the small percentage of families who “might” experience an injury that can and may include death. The idea of contracting a disease that our nation’s medical system is fully equipped to manage and treat is far less dangerous to them than injecting a multitude of chemicals into their infant when there is even a slight possibility that their child might react severely. They make the choice because one wants to be part of that 10% who suffers an injury and if they can prevent it by opting out, doesn’t that seem like the best option?
Is either camp truly wrong for wanting to protect their children?
My point is, there are fighters on each side of this war who deeply believe with passion and truth that they are right. I believe they are all right, the pro and the anti-vaxer’s, alike. Right in their motivation and right in their decision because it is THEIR decision to make.
I’m writing this today, not to sway anyone to one side or the other or rile things up for anyone. I am writing this because I believe it’s time for ALL parents stop bashing one another, stop judging one another and stop demanding that the entire population follow “our” way. Every parent, pro-vax or anti-vax, loves their babies and have made their decisions BECAUSE of that love. Either they want to protect them from disease, or protect them from toxic ingredients or for some moral/religious reason and it doesn’t make any of us bad people or dangerous, or irresponsible. It doesn’t matter if you are on the side that believes the ingredients aren’t toxic and people shouldn’t care if there are pig, monkey, goat, people or unicorn parts- just get it because it keeps you safe. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree that the vaccinations work or are even necessary and even if they were, they’d have to make some according to Kosher law that don’t use toxic metals or animal parts. It’s nice that you have your convictions, but I’m sorry- it really just doesn’t matter in this argument.
What DOES matter, is that while we’re all fighting amongst ourselves, companies continue to make vaccines. Our fighting has done nothing to cause the industry to change their formulas or find new ways to make them because we have been so focused on fighting each other, we are ignoring what SHOULD be the focus of all our rage: The way these are made has to change.
What we should ALL be demanding, are better, safer, vegetarian vaccinations that work. We should be demanding this together- because we ALL want it and we all want it for the same reason. We love our babies and we want them to thrive in this world of danger, disease and we have the power to create a safer world. If we could all come down off of our soapboxes and put our energies together for THAT goal instead of the goal to make those who disagree feel stupid, I believe we might just see the change we all would rather have- a vaccine that didn’t threaten death, cancer or spiritual compromise in order to MAYBE protect.
The great lie of the vaccination argument is; “we will always be on opposing sides, just accept that and learn to live with it”. The reality is- we are and have always been, on the same side. We’ve been pitted against each other for so long, no one really seems to realize that if we stopped fighting work together to demand a change for all, for the better, instead of settling for what we have always had and then demanding compliance, maybe THEN will we see the end to this war.
It’s 2014, people. We can find a better way.