End Pharma Liability Shield Endangering Public Health and Human Rights

Posted: 11/8/2016 4:32:07 PM | with 2 comments
Click video above to view a special segment by WSB TV on flu vaccine injuries.

By Barbara Loe Fisher

To activate and view hyperlinked references, please click here once and then click any superscripted number below to access a hyperlinked reference, or scroll down to the bottom of the article to view all hyperlinked references.

Another sign that autonomy and civil liberties are being threatened in America is the recently proposed change to public health law published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 1 that allows federal officials to use police power to apprehend, isolate and involuntarily quarantine travelers simply suspected of being at risk for getting measles or other infections until they sign a contract agreeing to application of “public health measures,” like vaccination. A big reason they can get away with it is that nobody is accountable in a civil court of law when people are harmed by public health laws.

Curbing civil liberties under the guise of protecting the public health and national security has become big business. In 1982, when the pharmaceutical industry threatened to stop producing government licensed and recommended vaccines for children unless vaccine manufacturers got a product liability shield, Congress gave Big Pharma most of what it wanted in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. 2 It was tort reform legislation sold to parents and the American public on the backs of children legally required by states to get federally recommended vaccines to attend school. 3

Even though by Nov. 1, 2016, $3.5 billion had been awarded to more than 3,500 vaccine victims through the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) created under the 1986 law, 4 two out of three claims have been denied throughout the entire history of the law’s implementation. 5 Most of the compensation awards today are for adults injured by flu vaccine - not for children required to get vaccines to go to school. 6 7  

While the government denies compensation to many children, whose lives have been destroyed by state mandated vaccines, in the past five years liability free drug companies have joined forces with politically powerful medical trade groups to change state vaccine laws. They are lobbying state legislatures to severely restrict the medical exemption and eliminate the non-medical religious, philosophical and conscientious belief exemptions for children attending school. 8

NVIC Calls for Vaccine Reaction Witnessing and Return to Civil Liability for Vaccine Manufacturers

On the 30th Anniversary of the enactment of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act on Nov. 15, 1986, the non-profit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) has renewed our call for a return to product liability for pharmaceutical companies, as well as a return to civil liability for doctors and other vaccine administrators shielded by law from malpractice lawsuits when they negligently administer a vaccine.

Vaccine Awareness Week 2016

To highlight the fact that the Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has protected the pharmaceutical and medical trade industries but done nothing to protect the lives of children, during Vaccine Awareness Week (Nov. 13-19, 2016), NVIC has:

  • Launched a video vaccine reaction reporting feature on NVIC’s online International Memorial for Vaccine Victims called Protect Life: Witness A Vaccine Reaction on NVIC.org. Now you can post a two to six minute video describing how your life or the life of a loved one has been forever changed by a serious vaccine reaction here, where it will be permanently archived and shared with the millions of visitors to NVIC’s website for many years to come. Or you can search the database of photos and vaccine reaction descriptions on the Memorial for Vaccine Victims dedicated to remembering those for whom the risks of vaccination were 100 percent.
  • Published a 90-page legislative policy analysis of scientific, economic, legal, ethical and political questions about proposed legislation in Virginia to eliminate medical and religious vaccine exemptions. View or download this fully referenced analysis from NVIC.org here and learn how to educate your own state legislators about protecting exemptions in vaccine laws.
  • Translated NVIC’s three most popular vaccine information brochures into Spanish, which you can view or download from NVIC.org here.

VAW 2016, which is co-sponsored by Mercola.com and NVIC, will also feature a free viewing of the award winning documentary, The Greater Good, on Mercola.com starting Saturday, Nov. 19 through Friday, Nov. 25.  

National and Global Public-Private Partnerships Capture Populations

The assault on health freedom in America has been fueled by a lucrative public-private partnership forged by government with the pharmaceutical industry that was expanded after 1986. 9 10 Big Pharma spends more money lobbying on Capitol Hill influencing lawmakers than any other industry, 11 and growing the business of vaccination is part of the political agenda. 12  

This public-private business partnership was greatly strengthened after Sept. 11, 2001. 13 Congress passed legislation giving more power to the Executive Branch and billions of dollars to the Departments of Health and Human Services, Defense and Homeland Security 14 15 16 following allegations that terrorist groups had weapons of mass destruction, specifically biological weapons, that required the development of many new vaccines to protect “national security.”  More liability protection for companies making and selling vaccines was thrown in for good measure 17 to accelerate new vaccine development. 18 19 20 21

A lot of money is being spent to grow the business of vaccination in America and around the world. However, the threat to autonomy and civil liberties would not be as great today if multi-national pharmaceutical corporations, government agencies and individuals creating, producing, selling, licensing, recommending, mandating and giving vaccines could be held legally accountable in a civil court of law when vaccines injure and kill people.

Americans are not the only ones being subjected to the control and profit-making agenda of business partnerships between industry and government. As the recent Nov. 4, 2016 Presidential Executive Order on the Global Health Security Agenda reveals, the U.S. is one of many nations participating in global public-private partnerships. 22 Financial deals between governments, Big Pharma and Big Philanthropy are capturing populations in countries around the world where, like in the U.S., governments have let industry off the hook for vaccine injuries and deaths. 23 24 This greases the skids for development of new vaccines to advance a global health agenda that often frames infectious diseases in military terms as a “security threat.” 25 26

A David and Goliath Battle Then and Now

The People v. Big Pharma has always been a David and Goliath battle. In the 1970s and early 80s, when children were only required to get DPT, oral polio and MMR vaccines to go to school, 27 vaccine injury lawsuits in the U.S. against wealthy drug companies dragged on for years and parents spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to get help for their vaccine damaged children. Back then, the vast majority of product liability lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers (and malpractice lawsuits against negligent pediatricians) did not end with multi-million dollar verdicts, but were settled at the last minute on the courthouse steps by plaintiff and defense attorneys for low amounts of money before the case could get to the jury. Most of the time, vaccine manufacturers insisted that one condition of settlement was that all court records and evidence found during discovery would be sealed from public view.

When the VICP was being developed in a series of proposed bills between 1983 and 1986, parents were told that - unlike a lengthy, expensive and traumatic lawsuit against rich and powerful pharmaceutical companies -  the federal vaccine injury compensation process would be “non-adversarial.” Parents were promised that the “administrative” alternative to a civil court lawsuit that Congress was proposing would be a “safety net” and provide compensation to vaccine injured children ‘quickly, easily, and with certainty and generosity.’ 28

It turns out that was a lie. 29 Over the past 30 years, federal agencies and the US Court of Claims have been allowed to turn the process of obtaining federal compensation into a cruel imitation of a court trial without a jury. As a 2014 Government Accountability Report (GAO) report pointed out, VICP cases drag on for years while families suffer. 30

Through federal tax dollars and fees to doctors giving children vaccines and insurance premiums, all U.S. citizens pay into the Vaccine Injury Trust Fund that is supposed to be there to provide financial support to human casualties of federal vaccine polices and state vaccine laws. Yet, today, when parents follow doctors’ orders and obey state vaccine mandates and their children are harmed, the majority of vaccine injured children and their families are left out in the cold with nothing, even though there is a $3.6 billion surplus sitting in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund. 31

Vaccine Safety Provisions in 1986 Law Not Enforced

After Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MS), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and other influential members of Congress informed parents they were going to pass tort reform legislation to protect the nation’s childhood vaccine supply, as one of NVIC’s co-founders I worked to help secure mandatory informing, reporting and recording safety provisions in the 1986 law. Little did we know that Congress would fail to make sure the safety provisions included in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act were enforced.

Today, pediatricians and other medical workers giving vaccines to children are free to ignore their duty to identify and help prevent vaccine reactions. In congressional testimony and public comments to federal agencies over the past two decades, NVIC has been highly critical of the VICP and the failure of government to enforce the law’s vaccine safety provisions.  32 33  In contrast to sanctions placed on Americans when they do not comply with government vaccine recommendations and mandates, there are no legal sanctions for vaccinators who refuse to obey the 1986 law’s vaccine safety provisions to:

  1. provide parents with written vaccine and disease information before children are vaccinated;
  2. record serious health problems following vaccination in the permanent medical record;
  3. report serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following vaccination to the federal vaccine adverse events reporting system (VAERS).

All of the promises made by the 1986 Congress to parents have been broken. In large part, the law is a dismal failure because subsequent Congresses have not provided strong oversight on the law’s implementation. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice and U.S. Court of Claims have had a free hand in gutting the Vaccine Injury Table 34 and restricting the ability of the vaccine injured to be compensated. 35 36

US Supreme Court Bans Vaccine Design Defect Lawsuits

Banning vaccine injury lawsuits has certainly guaranteed drug companies unlimited profit making in a stable, liability free market for old and new vaccines recommended and mandated by government. The U.S. Supreme Court majority sealed that sweet deal for Big Pharma in 2011 when, as dissenting justices Sotomayor and Ginsberg so accurately pointed out, it ignored the legislative history of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth. 37

That legislative history clearly demonstrated that the 1986 Congress intended the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) to be an administrative alternative to a civil lawsuit and not an “exclusive remedy” for children injured by government mandated vaccines. 38 Parents were supposed to be able to sue vaccine manufacturers on behalf of their injured children if their federal compensation claim was denied or if there was evidence the company could have made the vaccine less reactive.

Regardless, in a split 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that FDA licensed vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe” and extended liability protection to design defect cases - even when there is evidence that a drug company could have made a vaccine less reactive. Ignoring the pleas of parent and consumer groups, who begged the justices to preserve at least some legal accountability for drug companies making and selling government mandated vaccines, 39 the Court majority instead sided with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a host of medical trade groups allied with government and industry (American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, Pediatric Infectious Disease Society and more) that all urged the Supreme Court to absolve pharmaceutical companies of remaining liability for harm caused by vaccines. 40

The Supreme Court ruling removed any remaining incentive for pharmaceutical companies to improve the safety of vaccines, as well as removed any incentive for the U.S. government to award federal vaccine injury compensation to prevent the filing of vaccine injury lawsuits.

Pharma and Medical Trade Lobby to Eliminate Vaccine Exemptions

Emboldened by the blank check given to them in 2011 by the Supreme Court, 41 drug companies joined with the same public health and medical trade groups that had lobbied Congress and the Supreme Court to ban vaccine injury lawsuits and descended on state legislatures to convince legislators to strip exemptions from US vaccine laws. 42 Their goal has been transparent all along: legally force all Americans, young and old alike, to purchase and use liability free vaccines or face societal sanctions such as loss of an education, medical care, health insurance and employment. 43

In 2015, despite strong public opposition, California lost the personal belief vaccine exemption for religious and conscientiously held beliefs and Vermont lost the philosophical belief exemption.  44 In many other states in 2015-2016, parent and health freedom groups worked with NVIC through the NVIC Advocacy Portal to push back and defeat bills proposing to eliminate vaccine exemptions, including in Washington, Colorado, Texas, Hawaii, Oregon, Oklahoma, Maine, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. 45

Per Child Vaccine Costs Skyrocket Since 1986

Since the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was signed into law by President Reagan on Nov. 15, 1986, the U.S. has guaranteed unlimited profit-making for the pharmaceutical industry that is developing scores of new genetically engineered vaccines, 46 but it has not controlled wildly escalating costs to give children every dose of every federally recommended vaccine. When industry was blackmailing Congress to give them a liability shield in the early 1980s, they told Congress that if their litigation costs to fight vaccine injury lawsuits were eliminated, childhood vaccine prices would be significantly reduced and contained.

That was another lie.

In 1986, it cost $80 for a child to receive all federally recommended childhood vaccines in a private pediatrician’s office.47 According to the CDC, the cost to vaccinate one child with every recommended vaccine at federal contract prices rose over 2,300 percent between 1990 and 2012 - from $70 to $1,700 per child.48 By October 2016, the per-child vaccination cost at federal contract prices was $2,130, and for a child to get every dose of every federally recommended vaccine in a private pediatricians office, it cost $3,035. 49

With no liability and federal recommendations and state mandates guaranteeing a predictable market, why does chickenpox vaccine cost up to $115 per dose; meningococcal vaccine up to $120 per dose; pneumococcal vaccine up to $160 per dose and HPV vaccine up to $193 per dose? 50 In the past 30 years, depending upon the payer, there has been a staggering 2900 to 3700 percent increase in the cost to purchase all the federally recommended vaccines for a child in America.  Administrative costs have to be added on top of that. These are costs borne by parents, federal taxpayers and the states.

Global Vaccine Market Worth to Double by 2021

The U.S. has the third largest population in the world – 320 million people – and ours is the number one purchaser of pharmaceutical products. 51 52 53  Partially removing product liability for vaccine injuries and deaths in 1986 and, essentially, completely removing liability in 2011, has helped to create a global preventive vaccine market of $27.5 billion USD in 2015, which is projected to double to $55 billion by 2021. Pfizer, Merck & Co, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline and Emergent Biosolutions dominate the business with close to 120 new human vaccines being developed and scheduled to enter the global market within five years. 54

The explosive growth in the vaccine market is fueled in no small part by the fact that the public-private business partnership between federal agencies and Big Pharma means that vaccine manufacturers don’t have to lobby very hard to get every new vaccine they develop (like hepatitis B, chickenpox, rotavirus, pneumococcal, HPV and meningococcal vaccines) recommended by the CDC for “universal” use by all children (code word for targeted state mandated use for school attendance) so drug companies won’t be liable for any injuries and deaths caused by the new vaccine under the 1986 law. And when most states dutifully add the new vaccine to the school mandate list, it creates a permanent liability free market for companies.

Child Vaccinations Triple, Chronic Disease Epidemic Grows Since 1986

But what has happened to the health of children in America since the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was passed in 1986?

After drug companies, pediatricians and all vaccine providers were shielded from accountability and liability for vaccine injuries and deaths, U.S. health officials tripled the numbers of vaccinations recommended for children – from 23 doses of seven vaccines in 1986 to 33 doses of nine vaccines by 1997, which has escalated to a current 69 doses of 16 vaccines.  55 56  States also increased the numbers of vaccinations required for children to attend school and, by 1997, it was obvious that a growing number of highly vaccinated children in America were never well anymore. 57

The new and unprecedented child chronic disease and disability epidemic that has perfectly coincided with the expansion of the child vaccine schedule over the past 30 years is having a devastating effect on children, their families and our nation. Today, 1 child in 6 in the U.S. is learning disabled;58 1 in 9 has asthma;59 60 1 in 10 has ADHD;61 1 in 50 develops autism;62 and 1 in 400 has diabetes.63 Millions more are suffering with severe allergies 64 65 epilepsy,66 67 anxiety and depression,68 69 70 and other kinds of brain and immune disorders marked by chronic inflammation in the body.71 72 73 74 75

Infant Mortality Rates High and Maternal Mortality Higher Than in 1986

The U.S. has maintained one of the world’s highest child vaccination rates and lowest infectious disease rates,76 even as public health officials have been unable to explain why so many of today’s highly vaccinated children are so sick and disabled. Also unexplained, is why America has the worst infant mortality rate of all developed nations, with 6 out of 1,000 babies dying before their first birthday.77 78 79

In addition, maternal mortality in the U.S. has also become one of the worst of all industrialized nations, with between 12 and 28 women in 100,000 dying within one year of giving birth, a maternal mortality rate that more than doubled between 1990 and 2013. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), annually an estimated 1,200 women in America suffer fatal complications during pregnancy and childbirth and another 60,000 suffer near-fatal complications.80

Women having babies in the U.S. today, who represent the most vaccinated generations in our nation’s history, are now also being given influenza, diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccines during pregnancy, a federal maternal vaccination policy that was launched in 1997 with administration of influenza vaccine during any trimester 81 and was widened in 2011 with the addition of a pertussis containing Tdap shot after 20 weeks gestation.82

As of 2015, about half of the nation’s pregnant women or nearly 2 million women,83 were either vaccinated with Tdap vaccine during pregnancy (42 percent)84 85 or influenza vaccine before or during pregnancy (50 percent)86 or received both vaccines.

Industries Making People Sick: The Perfect Storm

Obviously, the expansion of the childhood vaccine schedule and routine vaccination of pregnant women since 1986 cannot be the sole reason that America has a failing public health report card. GMO food, fluoridated drinking water, mercury amalgams, pesticides, abuse of drugs (legal and illegal) and other toxic environmental exposures are all contributing to the poor health of the U.S. population.

Many health problems can be traced back to chemical, pharmaceutical and medical trade industries, which profit from sickness but are rarely held accountable in a court of law for sickness they cause.

A Public Health Crisis and Human Rights Threat

There should be no liability shield for any industry making products that are used by humans, especially products mandated by government for use by everyone. There should be no liability shield for professions promoting and administering products that can injure and kill, especially when people are forced to use the product or lose the right to an education, medical care, health insurance and employment.

Without corporate, professional and personal accountability or liability for causing harm to others, medical policies and public health laws that lack informed consent protections and require people to risk their lives violate human rights and become a threat to the public health.

It's your health. Your family. Your choice.


It's Easy to Get Involved And Make a Difference. Help NVIC Continue to Stand Up for the Individual Right to Informed Vaccine Choice

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NVIC is a non-profit charity that has worked since 1982 to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and secure informed consent protections in vaccine policies and laws. Your tax-deductible donations to NVIC support our public education and advocacy programs to protect your legal right to make informed, voluntary vaccination decisions for yourself and your children. Whether you contribute $5 or $50, every donation helps.

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Forced Vaccination: The Tragic Legacy of Jacobson v. Massachusetts

Posted: 11/2/2016 7:14:11 PM | with 2 comments

By Barbara Loe Fisher

To activate and view hyperlinked references, please click here once and then click any superscripted number below to access a hyperlinked reference, or scroll down to the bottom of the article to view all hyperlinked references.

There is a lot of talk these days about the beliefs of judges who will be appointed by a new President to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is an important conversation because what those judges believe will be reflected in the legal decisions they make, decisions that could have consequences for centuries.

In states where vaccine exemptions are under attack, advocates for “no exceptions” mandatory vaccination laws argue that you and your children can be forced to get vaccinated because eight men sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court said so in 1905.  Public health officials and industry and medical trade lobbyists often invoke the Victorian era ruling in Jacobson v. Massachusetts1 to deny Americans the freedom to make voluntary decisions about vaccination.

utilitarianism

Attorney Lawrence Gostin has said that Jacobson v. Massachusetts is often regarded as the most important judicial decision in public health.”2 He got that right. He knew he could use it after 9-11 to re-write state public health laws giving government more police power to trample on freedom whenever health officials declare a “public health emergency.”3 4 5

The tragic legacy of Jacobson v. Massachusetts not only haunts public health law making in the U.S., it has come to define it. If you wonder why this summer CDC officials boldly announced they want more police power to yank you off a plane and put you into involuntary quarantine because they believe you might get measles, you can thank the Supreme Court.6  If your healthy unvaccinated child has been kicked out of school while sick vaccinated children are allowed to stay7 - or if you have been fired from your job because you said “no” to getting a flu shot8 - look no further than Jacobson v. Massachusetts.

In a nutshell, the judges sitting on the Supreme Court more than a century ago used bad logic, relied on old science and made the ridiculous assumption that doctors are infallible to give government the green light to force healthy Americans to risk their lives with a pharmaceutical product based on “common belief” rather than fact. Piously waving the “greater good” flag, they threw individuals under the bus by throwing civil liberties out the door.

Here is how the Supreme Court created the legal club being used today to take away your right to exercise freedom of thought, conscience and religious belief when making vaccine decisions for yourself or your children.

Pastor Jacobson and His Son Had Suffered Severe Reactions to Smallpox Vaccine

In 1904, a Lutheran minister, Swedish immigrant Henning Jacobson, objected to a Cambridge, Massachusetts Board of Health law requiring all adults to get a second smallpox vaccination or pay a $5 dollar fine. Pastor Jacobson and his son had suffered severe reactions to previous smallpox vaccinations and he logically argued that genetic predisposition placed him at higher risk for dying or being injured if he was revaccinated.

supreme court

He correctly concluded that smallpox vaccine ingredients were toxic and often caused injury and even death and that medical doctors were unable to predict who would be harmed.9 10 11 12 13 14 15 He made the legal and ethical argument that being required to get revaccinated was an assault on his person and a violation of his 14th Amendment right to liberty and equal protection under the law.16

Jacobson v. Massachusetts Affirms Infallibility of Doctors

But the attorneys representing medical doctors persuaded judges in the state court that Jacobson did not know what he was talking about and ruled against him. Instead of simply paying a $5 fine, Jacobson appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was a mistake that led to one of the most unethical and dangerous legal decisions in American jurisprudence.

In a split decision with one dissenting vote, the Court majority, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, said that citizens do not have the right under the U.S. Constitution to be free at all times because there are “manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subjected for the common good.” They said that state legislatures have the constitutional authority to enact compulsory vaccination laws and exercise police power to restrict or eliminate liberty during smallpox epidemics to “secure the general comfort, health and prosperity of the state.”

The judges dismissed Jacobson’s concern about being genetically susceptible to vaccine harm. Instead they chose to incorrectly affirm the infallibility of doctors by making this ignorant statement: “The matured opinions of medical men everywhere, and the experience of mankind, as all must know, negative the suggestion that it is not possible in any case to determine whether vaccination is safe.”

Compulsory Vaccination Compared to Military Draft

Comparing compulsory smallpox vaccination of adults with the military draft in times of war, the judges declared that a citizen “may be compelled, by force if need be, against his will and without regard to his personal wishes or his pecuniary interests, or even his religious or political convictions, to take his place in the ranks of the army of his country and risk the chance of being shot down in its defense.”

Of course, today, most of the citizen soldiers being forced to “risk the chance of being shot down” in America are babies in newborn nurseries17 18 and little children who want to go to school.19 20

health security check

Vaccine Law Can Be Based on “Common Belief,” Not Fact

Although the 1905 Supreme Court judges dismissed concerns about the safety of smallpox vaccine as completely unfounded, they were clearly uncomfortable about Jacobson’s contention that his life was on the line. Not once, but repeatedly, they returned to the knotty problem of individual risk only to ridicule Jacobson and point out that his uneducated opinion was no match for the “common knowledge” expert opinion of medical doctors. In fact, the judges went so far as to say that - even if Jacobson could prove medical experts were wrong about the safety of smallpox vaccination - states still have the constitutional power to enact laws based on majority opinion and “common belief” and not on truth or proven facts. They said:

“A common belief, like common knowledge, does not require evidence to establish its existence, but may be acted upon without proof by the legislature and the courts. The fact that the belief is not universal is not controlling, for there is scarcely any belief that is accepted by everyone. The possibility that the belief may be wrong, and that science may yet show it to be wrong, is not conclusive...for what the people believe is for the common welfare must be accepted as tending to promote the common welfare, whether it does in fact or not.”

I wonder how many legislators know that the 1905 Supreme Court ruling being used to eliminate exemptions from vaccine laws was based on the idea that “common belief” – not hard evidence - can rule the day?

The 1905 Supreme Court judges tried to defend their decision by explaining that if individuals like Jacobson were able to get exempted from vaccination, it would mean that, “Compulsory vaccination could not, in any conceivable case, be legally enforced in a community, even at the command of the legislature, however widespread the epidemic of smallpox; and however deep and universal was the belief of the community and its medical advisors that a system of general vaccination was vital to the safety of all.”

And there it is again. The Supreme Court told state governments they can make vaccine laws based on “deep and universal” beliefs about vaccination, especially beliefs held by medical doctors, but can ignore the deeply held beliefs of individuals with good reason to conclude they will be harmed by vaccination.

The Utilitarian Legacy of Jacobson v. Massachusetts

What were the beliefs of doctors in the early 20th century? Well, many influential doctors in academia and those leading social reform movements believed in a political philosophy called utilitarianism, which has its roots in hedonism.21 Utilitarianism is a theory of morality based on a mathematical equation: the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.22 23  Legislators like it because law making becomes a simple matter of adding and subtracting numbers, like generals do on a battlefield when counting how many casualties it took to win a battle.

What the U.S. Supreme Court did in Jacobson v. Massachusetts was to codify the utilitarian rationale into U.S. law so government officials could use it to make public health policy. But the morally bankrupt core of utilitarianism was revealed in 1927, when Chief Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and his colleagues used Jacobson v. Massachusetts to endorse the practice eugenics,24 an idea that Hitler took and ran with during the Holocaust.25

Jacobson v. Massachusetts Used for Eugenics in Virginia

In Buck v Bell (1927),26 Holmes ruled that the state of Virginia could use police power to protect the public health by involuntarily sterilizing a poor 17-year old single mother, Carrie Buck, who state officials had incorrectly judged to be morally unfit and mentally retarded – in effect, genetically defective - just like they said Carrie’s daughter and mother were.27

In one of the most chilling statements in American jurisprudence, Holmes declared, It is better for the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough!”

The Ends Do Not Justify the Means

In the merciless 1927 Buck v. Bell decision, just as in the Machiavellian 1905 Jacobson v. Massachusetts decision, ethical principles grounded in respect for individual human life and civil liberties were stripped from U.S. law. The reasoning was that if utilitarianism could be used to create forced vaccination laws to immunize society from infectious disease, then forced sterilization laws could be created to immunize society against becoming infected with bad genes. The immoral premise that “the ends justifies the means” created a perfect climate for what became a tyranny of the majority.28

universal declaration of human rights

By 1932, mandatory sterilization laws had been passed in 29 states.  More than 60,000 Americans were involuntarily sterilized by public health officials before the barbaric medical practice was ended by most, but not all, states in the late 1940s.29

Informed Consent Is a Human Right

Utilitarianism was discredited as a pseudo-ethic in 1947 at The Doctor’s Trial at Nuremberg after World War II. The horrifying truth about what can happen when utilitarianism is used to create public health law was exposed for the whole world to see30 31 and gave birth to the informed consent principle articulated in the historic Nuremberg Code.32 The next year, basic human rights that include autonomy and freedom of thought, conscience and religious belief were affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.33

Ever since, informed consent to medical risk taking has been the central ethical principle guiding the ethical practice of modern medicine.34 Except that public health officials and doctors giving vaccines in America today don’t want to respect that ethical principle.35 36 37 38 39 40

In 2005, professors of law and bioethics at Boston University wrote about how Jacobson v Massachusetts is no longer relevant. They said that, “Jacobson was decided in 1905, when infectious diseases were the leading cause of death,” and when “Few weapons existed to combat epidemics.... Preserving the public’s health in the 21st century requires preserving respect for personal liberty...Public health programs that are based on force are a relic of the 19th century; 21st-century public health depends on good science, good communication, and trust in public health officials to tell the truth.” 41

How we can we trust public health officials who think that some children are expendable for the rest? Jacobson v. Massachusetts is a Supreme Court decision that allows government to commit human rights abuses.

Educate your legislators about the importance of protecting human rights in vaccine laws. Browse NVIC.org for more information and create a free account at NVICAdvocacy.org today to learn more about what you can do and how to get involved.

It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.


It's Easy to Get Involved And Make a Difference. Help NVIC Continue to Stand Up for the Individual Right to Informed Vaccine Choice

donate to nvic

Donate to NVIC: NVIC is 100% Funded by Donations. Please Donate to NVIC Today.

NVIC is a non-profit charity that has worked since 1982 to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and secure informed consent protections in vaccine policies and laws. Your tax-deductible donations to NVIC support our public education and advocacy programs to protect your legal right to make informed, voluntary vaccination decisions for yourself and your children. Whether you contribute $5 or $50, every donation helps.

Make a Donation!


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Do Your Online Shopping Through AmazonSmile

“You shop. Amazon gives” - it’s that easy! Amazon Smile is the same Amazon you know, except when you order online, they will automatically donate 0.5% to your favorite non-profit organization: The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). Support NVIC today by signing into your account at smile.amazon.com, and start making a positive difference today!

Get Started on AmazonSmile


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