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My Body, My Choice -- Or Is It?

Updated: Jul 3, 2021

Anti-vaxers protested at Dodger Stadium mass vaccination site earlier this year.

By now, nearly every adult in the U.S. who wants the Covid-19 vaccine has had the opportunity to receive at least one shot. But there are some who refuse, jeopardizing the health of others.

A small percentage of holdouts are historically concerned about vaccines in general or have religious objections. Some Americans have expressed concerns about medical industries due to miscommunications and changing guidelines over the past year. Others may be reluctant due to some negative experiences with the medical profession, such as being misdiagnosed or left untreated.

However, most of the stragglers are stubbornly clinging to debunked political conspiracy theories—political ideology/ affiliation has led many to distrust the government and/or the Biden administration specifically.

Politics make strange bedfellows. We have always had anti-vaxxers in the country, and the new Covid-19 vaccines are no exception. But the funny part of the story (not “ha-ha, but odd) is that these anti-government types have spouted a slogan – “my body, my choice.”

Sound familiar? It should. It is the slogan abortion rights activists have been spouting since the 60’s and 70’s and Roe v Wade. “My body, my choice” is a simple idea: an individual’s right to control of his/her own body.

Why is this “odd” or “funny” you ask? Because the vast majority of those shouting the slogan in the name of the anti-vax movement are the very same people that have, for years, been leading the crusade against women’s reproductive rights. Isn’t this the very definition of hypocrisy?

Anti-abortion activists have long argued that a woman’s right to control her own body is dangerous to society and immoral. Where are these activists in condemning the anti-vaxxer movement?

The failure to vaccinate against Covid-19 poses a far greater threat to the public health than any woman who has ever made the difficult and personal choice to terminate a pregnancy. Failure to vaccinate puts thousands of others, especially those young children who do not qualify to receive the vaccine, in danger.

Deciding to have an abortion is entirely a personal choice, one that does not affect the health and welfare of the community at large. The failure of our fellow citizens to vaccinate infringes on other citizen’s rights, endangers them, and impacts their personal freedom. Their behavior is the ultimate hypocrisy.

Throughout history, vaccines have successfully eliminated some of the most harmful diseases, from polio to smallpox. On average, they are at least 90 percent effective and save hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. every year. Moreover, they have been proven to be safe and effective in numerous studies. So, why all the debate?

Some of the controversy stems from a debunked late 20th Century study linking measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. Despite the study’s retraction, and additional studies found no such connection, people still recall and cling to the fear it inspired.

During the 2016 campaign, the king of conspiracy theorists, former President Donald Trump, irresponsibly gave credence to the debunked link between vaccines and autism. Trump never misses an opportunity to divide the country—he recently began railing against the Covid-19 vaccine for school-aged children, falsely making the point that young people — though he didn’t specify which ages — were “not affected or affected badly” by the coronavirus.

As I write these words, those hospitalized for Covid-19 related illness are getting younger and younger. Trump has even repeated the rally cry that people were free to decide for themselves about vaccines and the virus.

While all vaccines have some side effects or risks, the benefits markedly override those risks. In the case of the Covid-19crisis, though, the failure to vaccinate is a danger to society. So, how do we turn this around?

Look to your own family. You may be healthy and young. Your immune system may be enough to protect you, but is it enough to protect your loved ones, parents, grandparents, and children?

A car is dangerous. Drivers and passengers are at risk for serious injury or death each time they travel in one. What if someone offered you a free collision warning system that prevented you from getting into a serious accident? What if the system caused an injury less than 2 percent of the time? Would you have the system installed? Of course, you would.

Here are two simple questions for vaccine holdouts:

1. Can you think of a loved one who might benefit from you being vaccinated against this deadly disease?

2. If that’s not enough to motivate you, what information do you need, right now, that would persuade you to get vaccinated?

Nothing in our world is risk free. We must do everything possible to protect ourselves, our family and friends, and our fellow citizens. Please don’t let politics, misinformation, conspiracy theories, or social pressure be a driving force against doing what is safe.

While we all enjoy certain individual freedoms, we do not have the right or freedom to harm others.

Mark M. Bello, a trial lawyer, is the author of “Betrayal in Black” and other ‘ripped from the headlines’ Zachary Blake Social Justice Legal Thrillers available on and other online booksellers. For more information, please visit

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