Alexander: Vaccines are the New Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice


Brooklyn Critchley

Woman holds up Anti-Vaccination sign in Downtown Salt Lake City on Sunday Aug. 22, 2021 (Photo by Brooklyn Critchley | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By CJ Alexander, Special Projects Managing Editor


The right to choose between receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or not reflects a larger issue in our nation regarding bodily autonomy. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen numerous expressions of bodily autonomy in the form of American citizens defying mask mandates and refusing the jab.

Yet in discussions about abortion, expressions of bodily autonomy are met with hypocritical hatred and contempt. Now, it appears that those who support the pro-life movement in abortion are pro-choice in wearing masks and choosing to get the vaccine, while those who support the pro-choice movement in abortion are now pro-life for the safety of others.

But a critical difference lies between these two groups. One cares about others’ health and safety, and the other has no problem endangering the lives of others.

Vaccine hesitancy and resistance to mask mandates is categorically associated with the GOP. Many prominent Republicans have stated their disgust of mask mandates, going so far as to claim masks hinder “free speech.” Some Republicans even spread skepticism regarding the vaccine to promote vaccine hesitancy. And many Republican parents continue to protest school-wide mask mandates in support of their bodily autonomy. The right to choose constantly arises in the debate against mask-wearing and vaccination.

Yet, in the debate against abortion, these exact same people — pro-life Republicans — adamantly refuse to believe in “my body, my choice” sentiments when talking about someone else’s body. Right now, pro-lifers’ newfound focus on bodily autonomy fails to reach those in favor of abortion. The whole point of “pro-life” is to save lives. No matter what the values or arguments brought up by these pro-lifers, the hypocrisy seems satirical, considering how vaccinations and masks have saved and continue saving lives amid the pandemic.

In contrast, support for mask wearing, vaccinations and pro-choice ideals is categorically associated with the Democratic Party. The current presidential administration, which is moderately left-leaning, encourages masks and vaccinations to realize the return to normalcy amid the pandemic. And along party lines, Democrats lead vaccination rates and efforts, compared to their Republican counterparts.

No one wants to wear masks. But in sacrificing comfort, those who continuously wear masks and get their vaccine avidly try to protect lives. By following the advice of scientists and public health officials in helping protect their community, Democrats exhibit traditionally pro-life sentiments to care for the health and safety of others.

This whole situation exemplifies a flip flop of ideals. Democrats now practice pro-life sentiments and Republicans practice pro-choice sentiments in regards to the vaccine.

However, the real issue doesn’t necessarily center around the discussion of bodily autonomy. Instead, it focuses on preserving the right to choose between wearing a mask and receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or not, and how this infringes on the health and wellbeing of others.

Americans have the right to believe what they want and do what they want within reason and the law. But when people endanger one another because of inaction or mass stupidity, then the discussion shouldn’t be whether we want to protect others. The discussion should be what more can we do to protect others.

To save lives and get out of this pandemic entirely, we need to all be wearing our masks and receiving our vaccines if we’re able to. Vaccine hesitancy shouldn’t exist along party lines when the vaccine was developed under the Trump administration and administered under the Biden administration. We had the help of both administrations in creating this vaccine, and many people also funded the research of scientists. The vaccine is clearly safe and meant to get us out of the coronavirus era.

We need to recognize the safety of the vaccine and mask-wearing to reach the end of the pandemic. We must place our trust in the CDC and public health officials, who have been studying epidemics and viral transmissions for years longer than anti-vaxxer Facebook groups if we want to finish this nightmare. If our nation’s crisis response is a debate on bodily autonomy versus protecting others, we’ve gone in the wrong direction.

While we should consider and discuss bodily autonomy with these issues, saving lives enough to have a discussion later should be prioritized more. If you consider yourself as pro-life, then wear a mask and get your vaccine to save the lives of others. If you consider yourself as pro-choice, then live how you please. Enough with the hypocritical arguments.


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