The war on parental medical rights is as thick as any in Italy. Parents have a heightened sense of defensiveness across the country as more and more politicians become divided over the issue of mandatory vaccines. The mainstream media attempts to turn the issue into “people versus medical science,” however, the war is truly being fought at the parental rights level, something often conveniently left out.
The spread of measles, something officials predicted would lower the stamina of the anti-vaccine movement, has unexpectedly served to fuel it. Italy is claiming that measles cases have inflated six times the normal. Italy’s passing of a mandatory 10 vaccine regimen remains a major point of contention.
According to ABC News, Italy’s government is now up against a “rising tide of populist, anti-establishment politicians.”
“Vaccine yes, obligation no,” has become the mantra of Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing, euroskeptic League party who is running alongside Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party on the center-right coalition that leads the polls. Salvini has vowed to scrap the law if the center-right wins next week.
At an anti-vax rally Saturday in Rome, more than 1,000 people turned out in the rain to denounce the new law and demand “freedom of choice” for their children. They carried banners reading “Science: Doubt it to improve it,” and “The risks connected to vaccines are negligible — until it happens to your child.”
“We want to be free to choose ourselves what to do with our children who were born healthy,” said Milena Muccioli, a mother of a 1-year-old from the seaside city of Rimini. “We don’t want to introduce in their bodies medicines or other things that could damage their body.”
The law goes into effect next month and noncompliance can result in fines of up to 500 euros ($615).
So vaccine skeptics believe that the spread of measles is prompted by “vaccine shedding,” while others feel that measles isn’t a deadly enough disease worth risking a vaccine over. Pharmaceutical companies, of course, realize that a billion-dollar business is on the line. In the end, the debate is one that centers around our rights as parents. Should parents be allowed to decide if their children receive medical procedures? that answer, sadly, doesn’t seem to be obvious to every parent in the world.