Since I was asked to make a presentation about vaccine exemptions in 1997 at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., I have publicly defended the informed consent principle, which was defined as a human right at the Doctors Trial at Nuremberg in 1947.1
Informed consent means you have the right to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of a medical intervention and the freedom to make a voluntary decision about whether or not to accept those risks without being coerced or punished for the decision you make. Informed consent applies not just to risks taken by participants in scientific experiments, but also to risks taken by patients under the care of physicians.2,3,4,5
Informed Consent Principle Applies to All Medical Risk-Taking
Today, when a person publicly advocates for informed consent protections in vaccine laws, an "anti-vaccine" label is usually immediately applied to shut down any further conversation.6,7 Perhaps because a conversation about ethics opens up a wider conversation about freedom. The right and responsibility for making a decision about risk-taking rightly belongs to the person taking the risk.
When you become informed and think rationally about a risk that you or your minor child may take — and then follow your conscience — you own that decision. And when you own it, you can defend it. And once you can defend it, you will be ready to do whatever it takes to fight for your freedom to make it, no matter who tries to prevent you from doing that.
Never Do Anything Against Conscience
Albert Einstein, who risked arrest in Germany in the 1930s when he spoke out against censorship and persecution of minorities, said, "Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it."8 There is no liberty more fundamentally a natural, inalienable right than the freedom to think independently and follow your conscience when choosing what you are willing to risk your life or your child's life for.
The journey we take on this earth is defined by the choices we make. If we are not free to make choices, the journey is not our own. The choices we make that involve risk of harm to our physical body, which houses our mind and spirit, are among the most profound choices we make in this life.
Vaccine Risks Are Not Borne Equally by Everyone in Society
Vaccination must remain a choice because it is a medical intervention performed on the body of a healthy person that carries a risk of injury or death.9,10 And while we are all born equal, with equal rights under the law, we are not born identical. Each one of us is born with different genes and a unique microbiome influenced by epigenetics that affects how we respond to the environments we live in.11,12
We do not all respond the same way to pharmaceutical products like vaccines, so vaccine risks are not being borne equally by everyone in society. Why should the lives of those vulnerable to vaccine complications be valued any less than those vulnerable to complications of infections? And why should people not be free to choose to stay healthy in ways that pose far fewer risks?
Vaccines Carry Risks and Do Not Guarantee Protection
The act of vaccination involves the deliberate introduction of killed, live attenuated or genetically engineered microbes into the body of a healthy person, along with varying amounts of chemicals, metals, human and animal RNA and DNA and other ingredients13 that atypically manipulate the immune system to mount an inflammatory response that stimulates artificial immunity.14
There is no guarantee that vaccination will not compromise biological integrity or cause the death of a healthy or vaccine vulnerable person either immediately or in the future. There is also no guarantee that vaccination will protect a person from getting an infection with or without symptoms and transmitting it to others.15