The recent storm about Gardasil (the vaccine to prevent some types of cervical cancer, sometimes spelled Gardisil) being mandated by the government misses the real issue. It’s not about being untested, or the cost. The real issue is why should this be forced onto citizens?
Several points have come up in the debate. First, it’s all about money for the drug company. Of course it is, that’s why they’re in business. You can’t blame a company for wanting to make money any more than a dog for eating — it’s their nature. Second, it’s untested. True, but at some point all medical advances were untested. Lastly, it’s expensive. Also true, and if mandated by the government, it could be a burden for many families. We won’t enter in to the debate on it’s effectiveness, or it’s safety — that’s for other people.
Some are against it as (they claim) it could lead to more young people engaging in risky sexual behaviors, and more teenage pregnancies (which appear to be fashionable now for 14-year-olds — an entirely separate issue which needs to be addressed). That may (or may not) be true, but that argument also misses the main issue.
The missing issue is simple: why should this be mandatory? Let’s assume for argument it’s 100% safe, and 100% effective (neither are bound to be true). The government still should not require it. Why not if it’s safe and effective? Because no overwhelming need exists. Governments are instituted to protect freedoms, not restrict them. Certainly, in the event of some communicable diseases society has a need to protect people as a group, but that’s not the issue here.
Cancer isn’t contagious, so no overwhelming society need is served by requiring it. Thus, such decisions should be left up to citizens themselves. Unfortunately, lost in all the static of this debate is the fact governments should not restrict the rights of citizens on a whim, even if the intention is good.
Gardisil may be a good idea, and if all the claims are true, it appears to be something people should seriously consider, but required? Nope. That goes against the freedoms governments should protect.
Personal responsibility falls on individuals, not the government.