The Texas GOP’s War on Public Health

The Texas Republican Party–and Texas is the largest Republican-controlled state (and the world’s ninth largest economy)–has been working hard to come up with a platform, and, Boy Howdy, it’s a terrifying exercise in lunacy. Here’s the draft section on vaccination, which is in a “Healthcare Independence” section* (boldface mine):

152. Medical Freedom: We call for an addition to the Texas Bill of Rights that explicitly states that Texans have the natural, inalienable right to refuse vaccination or other medical treatment. Therefore, the following are expressly forbidden even in an emergency or in a pandemic:

a. Since informed consent is a basic human right, any attempt to mandate, force, or coerce any medical test, procedure, or product, including vaccines or masks
d. Any mandates by public, private, government, or medical entities for treatment, vaccination, vaccine passports, mask requirements, health insurance surcharges, or use of controlled substances of any kind.
e. Any involuntary isolation or quarantine of anyone not experiencing an active contagious infection…
i. Any tracing of individuals by cell phones or another means for any reason without an individual court issued warrant. We ask that the Contact Tracing Program, Workforce and Center Programs agreement be rescinded.

Item “a” would get rid of mandatory child vaccinations, including measles, mumps, and rubella.

Just to repeat: Item “a” would get rid of mandatory child vaccinations, including measles, mumps, and rubella.

That alone is bugshit crazy. Also, they really don’t like masks (from the “COVID Response” section):

69. Government Mandates: No government entity may require a business, via financial or legal coercion, to act as an enforcement arm of the state, such as the egregious action when local governments required businesses to enforce mask mandates or be fined or closed.

These fucking cowards–and that’s what they are–can’t even be bothered to require masks when the prevalence is high. I know some of my co-travelers on the left don’t see any difference between the two parties–and, admittedly, voting for Democrats is a harm reduction strategy more than anything else, but there really are differences–and they matter.

On the other hand, there will be more work for virologists if they win, so good for the virologists….

*While Very Sensible Centrists and their ilk love to mock the left’s linguistic excesses, “Healthcare Independence” is outright Orwellian.

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5 Responses to The Texas GOP’s War on Public Health

  1. jrs says:

    Also it seems clear from d) that even a hospital couldn’t require a mask. I guess they could still ban visitation instead, which is of course more draconian (although justified in the height of the pandemic) but seemingly still allowed.

    People who want to move to Texas are either equally batshit, or don’t realize what they are getting into I think, or they don’t want to but have to for work, in which case my sympathies. But imagine you lived somewhere where a pathogen no matter how virulent, and covid is not as bad as it comes, would mean the authorities would do nothing. But then imagine worse and even more immediate threats. Imagine raising kids, especially daughters in a state that hates them and their reproductive choices so much. And that’s somehow worth it for lower housing costs? I’d think it would be better to raise kids in a @#$# two bedroom apartment in California, which may not be ideal either but hey, than in a state that hates young women to that degree, which girls will grow up to be. Never mind if you get a pandemic.

  2. superdestroyer says:

    The Republicans want to take public health back to the 19th century. If one does not care about preventing deaths from infectious disease, then one might as well shut down the local health department because vector borne disease or food borne illness are much less significant than infectious disease.

  3. gtomkins says:

    How could other states be able to let residents of a Texas that actually implements 152.a. free entry to their states?

    Measles, to consider just one of the diseases covered by the childhood vaccination requirements, is extremely contagious, and anyone who has lived in a Texas that operates under 152.a. is going to have to be required to present trustworthy proof of vaccination before being allowed to enter sane states. Yes, there will be close to universal immunization against measles in these sane states, but immunization provides far from universal immunity to individuals. A program of mandatory vaccinations provides nearly categorical immunity to a population largely through herd immunity, by reducing the number of other infectious people that any individual will be potentially exposed to. If everyone is vaccinated, even a vaccine that leaves 5-10% of individuals inadequately protected will do a near-perfect job of protecting everyone in the herd, including individuals in that 5-10%.

    The problem posed by this Texas of the Rs’ fever dreams is that even the sane states are going to have 5-10% of their population, even their vaccinated population, susceptible to catching measles from any Texans allowed in to mingle with those states’ herds. The necessary response is going to have to be to not allow Texans, or anyone who has travelled to Texas in the last month or so into your state unless they can prove they have been vaccinated. Good luck with being allowed to obtain such reliable proof if you live in this Texas, as 152. d. e. and i. make clear that this Texas will also outlaw any attempt by anyone to confirm anyone’s vaccination status. Texas will absolutely not cooperate with any sane state’s mandatory vaccination program by allowing reliable proof of measles vaccination status to any Texan.

    Sane states would be left with the choice of either giving up their own attempts to achieve herd immunity against measles, or of forbidding travel to and from Texas — not that SCOTUS is going tp allow the second choice. That is the point. In 2022, just as in 1861, the actual goal of secession from the national consensus is not independence, it’s control of the rest of us by Texas and the other red states.

  4. TerrierJack says:

    I’ve had the measles twice. I avoid children like the plague that they are in Texas (luckily my daughter is 42.) I hate these people

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