Legal, Just, Right, and Wanted

scales

There is a difference between what is LEGAL, what is JUST, what is RIGHT, and what you WANT. ~ Greg M.

My husband’s friend posted that as his Facebook status once upon a time. I asked him if I could borrow it. He said yes.

<insert evil laugh here>

OK, not really. I like this quote, not only because it is true, but because it aptly sums up two of my favorite topics to write about: Adoption and Vaccination.

In adoption, so very much is LEGAL, but is neither just, nor right. Examples abound. Biological fathers lack rights in states like Utah, where unmarried fathers must jump through legal hoops to establish paternity, and even then, they may lose their children. Open adoptions can be promised, then closed by any party, usually without any legal repercussions. Social services holds the fates of hundreds of thousands of children in their overworked, underpaid, overstretched hands. Adoptive parents often want to know the fastest, cheapest way to adopt an infant, but fast and cheap are often neither just nor right.

Legal: Flying expectant mothers to Utah to take advantage of the Utah laws that make it difficult for unmarried fathers to assert their paternal rights.
Just: Expectant mothers and fathers having the same rights, regardless of the state in which they live, and regardless of their marital status.
Right: This is somewhat subjective, but probably ensuring that a father can assert his rights, and is asserting his parental rights so as to parent, and not so as to control the child’s mother, or for other less honorable purposes.
Wanted: The unethical agency wants to procure as many babies as possible. The expectant mother wants to be the one to make the decisions. The expectant father either wants to be included or wants nothing to do with the situation. The adoptive parents ultimately want a baby, hopefully as ethically as possible, so they can look their kids in the eyes someday and tell the whole truth.

Similarly, when we’re talking about vaccination, what is legal is usually not right and may not be just. Vaccine mandates fly in the face of informed consent. They actually violate the Nuremburg code. Even if vaccines were entirely risk free, bodily autonomy is a basic human right. Saying “I don’t want to” is completely valid and just. People argue, however, that exposing others to illness is neither just nor right. Yet, there are possibly millions of diseases for which there are no vaccinations, for which we simply rely on the social contract that tells us “If we’re sick, stay home.” Of course, the pharmaceutical companies and the politicians they buy want vaccines to be mandatory. Those who are truly “anti-vax” want all vaccines to be classified as poison.

Legal: Allowing pharmaceutical companies complete immunity from any vaccine-related injuries or deaths.
Just: Holding pharmaceutical companies to the same standards as other industries, thus, opening them to liability from vaccine-related injuries or deaths.
Right: Ensuring that vaccines are as safe and effective as possible, by extensive, independent, informed testing, so liability isn’t as large of an issue.
Wanted: The pharmaceutical companies want the status quo – immunity from vaccine-related injuries or deaths. Vaccine safety advocates want to hold pharmaceutical companies liable for vaccines, just as they are liable for their other drugs. The politicians want all that lovely campaign money.

Legal, Just, Right, Wanted: They can often be completely different from one another.

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