Guest Editorial by Dr. Lynn Laird
I am writing to ask that you be extremely mindful of any proposed legislation aimed at dealing with the medical conglomerates’ recent declaration that all employees, volunteers, and contractors must receive the Covid shot to continue their work.
During the 2021 legislative session, several bills were proposed that anticipated this situation. Additionally, I drew your attention to this predictable problem in April, with an open letter published in True Idaho News, which I had forwarded to each of you. In reviewing some of the bills and talking with various legislators over the past few months, I am concerned about the “angle” that might be taken with any proposed legislation.
My main concern is that it seems likely that the main issue will be avoided and any effort to protect workers will fail to provide the needed protection for each individual’s liberty. I’ve been told, “It’s complicated.” I won’t argue that the politics of it aren’t complicated, but the concept seems incredibly simple to me. Individuals have liberty, which includes the rights of bodily autonomy, informed consent, and personal/medical privacy. As a doctor, these things are paramount to me, and their value was given primary importance during my years of education and training.
By definition, consent cannot include any hint of coercion or threat. If a person won’t be able to work, complete their education, or engage in other normal societal activities if they decline, then, by definition, they cannot give informed consent to a medical procedure. Even if “accommodations” are made for those not consenting, they may be seen as punitive. In that case, informed consent becomes an illusion. In our current situation, accommodations often include masking, distancing, isolation, identification markers, and frequent testing. I personally would find each of these things to be punitive, and I am not alone in my assessment.
Any legislation that would allow for an employer, school, government agency, or provider of goods and/or services to discriminate based on vaccine status, healthcare choices, or ability/willingness to use medical equipment is wholly unjust and must be rejected. Legislation should not protect SOME of the people, but it should protect ALL of the people. As I mentioned in my April letter, the proper role of government is to protect the rights of citizens so that they can enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That would include their right to employment, education, worship, travel, and all other activities we enjoy in our society.
A simple bill stating that all individuals have the right to medical privacy ought to be enough. Employers, schools, government agencies, and businesses do NOT have the right to individuals’ personal medical information, and they do not have the right to require that individuals acquiesce to their preferred use of medical prophylaxis, treatment, or use of medical equipment.
I ask you to reject legislation that would allow employers/schools to require medical procedures, even If the requiring agent were to be “held responsible” if an injury were to happen. Please also reject legislation based on the idea of contract law, wherein current employees would receive so called protection, but new employees wouldn’t. Both of these ideas are full of flaws and certainly make things “complicated.” But most importantly, they miss the mark completely: our country’s cornerstone of individual liberty.
My final request is that you review both the Idaho and U.S. Constitutions. The duty of our elected representatives is to ensure our liberty. I understand there might much pressure from campaign donors and people/businesses with lots of money and expensive attorneys. Please don’t shy away from doing the right thing, even though it may be difficult. This IS the job you worked hard to attain. I trust you went into this with the best of intentions. This may be the defining moment of your career. Will you create a society in which the common people become subjects of an elite class, or would you rather save the foundation upon which our nation was founded, that being the acknowledgement of individual liberty? As always, please remember there is no greater good without individual liberty.
Lynn Laird, Psy.D.
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