Saturday I spent the entire day at the Empowered to Action 2019 Conference hosted by Informed Choice Iowa. The group believes parents have the right to all information about vaccines and the right to make their own choices without government interference.

Of all the advocacy groups I saw in attendance at the Capitol building last legislative session, Informed Choice Iowa may have had the largest following. More than that, the amount of children who were at the Capitol that day was staggering.

This is an issue and a group that is focused on having a necessary conversation.

Those who are “critical” of vaccinations are automatically labeled “anti-vaxxers.” I’ve talked with a handful of board members from Informed Choice Iowa, and while I could be wrong, I don’t know of one that would call themselves an “anti-vaxxer.”

The term “anti-vaxxer,” in my opinion, is used to simply shut down a conversation before it even starts.

Let me be upfront and honest. I received all the vaccinations that were available to my knowledge as a child. I get the flu shot every year. We’ve had our kids vaccinated (though to be clear, the HPV vaccine is not one we’re interested in.) Our kids just received the flu shot about a month ago.

I am not an anti-vaxxer either.

But this issue isn’t about being an anti-vaxxer. This issue comes down to one very basic question. Ask yourself…

Should the government have the power to inject something into a baby or a child’s body against the wishes of the baby or child’s parents?

It’s that simple. If people want to go down the road into the science behind it, they’re welcome to do so. But personally, as an American, how on earth could we honestly say yes, the government should be allowed to inject something into a child’s body against that child’s parents’ wishes?

What in human history allows us to be comfortable with such a statement? Where would it end? What would be next?

Like I said, our kids were vaccinated. That was a choice we made as parents. That’s what we believed to be in the best interest of our children.

And that’s where that choice belongs — to the parents. To the mom and the dad.
Children do not belong to the government. Period. End of story.

This is an issue that appeals across the political spectrum. It’s resisted on both sides as well.

But here’s the reality.

If Democrats truly believed in the “my body, my choice” mantra, why would they support forced vaccinations?

If Republicans truly believed children belong to the parents and are not property of the state, why would they support forced vaccinations?

I wasn’t able to monitor the comment section of The Iowa Standard on Saturday because I was working. But I was told there was a comment left that said if this page is turning into an anti-vaxxer site, I’m out.

Regardless of where you are at on this issue, it is a conversation worth having. It is a necessary conversation. We cannot come at this issue with such disdain for the other side that we refuse to even offer space for the conversation.

That’s not what the media is for. It’s not up to The Iowa Standard to decide what issues are worthy of conversation and dialogue.

I covered many things at the Capitol last year that I am completely against. I wrote about the views expressed by people who I couldn’t possibly disagree with more on a variety of issues.

We can’t avoid disagreement and opinions of others. It doesn’t mean we have to change how we think, but don’t try to silence the other side.

In the coming days you will read a lot of articles from the conference that may challenge your own views and beliefs. Heck, I will likely write a lot of articles from the conference that will challenge my own views and beliefs.

If you believe strongly in the issue, then share your opinion with us and we will gladly publish it! You can send it to newsdesk@theiowastandard.com.

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall