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Opinion

The Hypocrisy of ‘Pro-Life’ Anti-Vaxxers

“Tiny children are not horses,” Donald Trump famously tweeted in 2014, “one vaccine at a time, over time.”

At the time that Trump wrote this tweet, the only thing more shocking than the knowledge that tiny children are, in fact, not horses, was that Trump seemed to be aligning himself with the notorious anti-vaccine movement.

And amidst all of the controversy surrounding the GOP’s despised health care bill, on Sunday night, comedian John Oliver determined it was worth reminding everyone of Trump’s equally controversial stance on vaccines.

“Despite their success, small groups are both skeptical and vocal about vaccines, which is nothing new,” he said. “But these days their voice has been amplified by the human megaphone that is the president of the United States.”

Oliver then cut to a video clip showing Trump on the campaign trail, saying that he supports vaccinations for children, but that he wants “smaller doses over a longer period of time because … you take this little beautiful baby and you pump — I mean it looks just like it’s meant for a horse, not for a child.”

Oliver continued: “That sounds like a decent compromise because it’s the middle-ground position, right. The problem is, it’s the middle ground between sense and nonsense. It’s like saying, ‘It would be crazy to eat that entire bar of soap, so I’ll just eat half of it.’”

As a refresher, the anti-vaccine movement gets its fire from the debunked theory that vaccines can give children autism, therefore children should not be given vaccines. This has the potential to not only take a horrifying toll on public health, but also expose young children to all kinds of diseases.

Conspiracy theories, of course, know no political party. But it’s worth noting that for his own part, President Trump identifies so strongly as “pro-life” that in 2016, he suggested punishing those who have abortions.

There’s arguably something uncannily hypocritical going on here. Trump, like all other abortion foes, wants all children to be born, whether or not the mother wants to give birth and be a mother, and, ultimately, whether or not that child will go on to live a good life with access to healthcare and education.

Additionally, there’s plenty of evidence that anti-vaxxers are the same ones leading the crusade against women’s reproductive rights. In 2015, Al Jazeera reported that abortion foes disdained vaccines, as vaccines were first created via tests on legally aborted fetuses. Later that same year, The Daily Beast published a report entitled, “Surprise: Anti-Vaxxers are Leading the Charge Against Planned Parenthood.”

In summation, either because some anti-abortion parents are so outraged by the origins of vaccines that they’re happy to see their children get sick and suffer to send a message of moral superiority, or because they trust debunked conspiracy theories more than medical experts, anti-abortion anti-vaxxers want children born, but don’t seem all too concerned about whether these children grow up healthy and safe. (That should, of course, be a given considering the heartless components of the GOP’s health care bill and its harmful effects on children.)

Maybe, at the end of the day, President Trump nailed the “pro-life” movement on the head when he said in 2015 that “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions: The anti-abortion movement isn’t about concern for the lives and living standards of children nearly so much as it is about punishing and controlling women.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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