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SCOTUS Lets Stand Coronavirus Vaccine Mandate, But Don’t Mistake That for Abortion Precedent

The eight Indiana University students who lost their lawsuit against their school’s coronavirus vaccine mandate appealed to the United States Supreme Court, shouting about their right to “bodily integrity.” They should have known that argument wouldn’t work with a Court stacked to overturn Roe v. Wade:

The Supreme Court will not interfere with Indiana University’s vaccine mandate. On Thursday evening, Justice Amy Coney Barrett turned down a request from a group of Indiana University students to block the school’s requirement that students be vaccinated against the virus. Barrett, who is responsible for emergency appeals from Indiana, denied the students’ request without comment, without seeking a response from the state, and without referring the request to the full court for a vote – suggesting that she and the other justices did not regard it as a particularly close case [Amy Howe, “Barrett Leaves Indiana University’s Vaccine Mandate in Place,” SCOTUSblog, 2021.08.12].

Before my conservative friends who label themselves “pro-life” while countenancing the deaths of over 2,000 South Dakotans to promote “Freedom™” and tourism dollars issue their smug protestations, let’s once and for all do away with the notion that the constitutionality of requiring individuals to get coronavirus vaccines establishes the constitutionality of prohibiting women from aborting their pregnancies. In the case of mandating vaccines, court after court has held that “an individual’s rights are counterbalanced by public health necessities.” No such counterbalance exists in the case of allowing individuals to choose whether or not they wish to carry pregnancies to term. Ending a pregnancy poses no risk to public health. One woman choosing to terminate a pregnancy will not lead to an epidemic of sickness and death among the public.

Additionally, forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term imposes a far greater burden and risk of adverse health effects than forcing an individual to submit to an injection:

Requiring someone to remain pregnant for nine months, go through childbirth, and then take on the responsibilities of parenthood (or the emotional toll of giving a child up for adoption) imposes a much greater burden than does a requirement that one bear a few seconds of pain from a needle and suffer mild flu symptoms for about a day (or run about a two percent risk of suffering severe flu symptoms for a day). Put differently, while both abortion restrictions and a vaccination mandate infringe the right to bodily integrity, the former do so to a much greater degree [Michael C. Dorf, “Mandatory Vaccination and the Future of Abortion Rights,” Justia: Verdict, 2020.11.24].

When anti-vaxxers speciously scream, “My Body My Choice!” they are advocating a choice that puts everyone else’s bodies at risk of sickness and death. That choice does not withstand constitutional scrutiny. When a woman decides whether to carry a pregnancy to term or not, she is making a very personal choice that will have no direct impact on public health. That’s why Justice Coney Barrett’s rejection of the Indiana students’ bodily integrity argument last night was east… and why a rejection of bodily integrity arguments in upcoming abortion cases should be much harder.


  1. Porter Lansing 2021-08-13

    “My Body, My Choice” is overruled by “ Our Group, Our Choice”.

    Vaccine deniers have every right available to not be among our group.

    Our group has every right to remove and detain indefinitely any vaccine deniers that attempt to be among us.

  2. jerry 2021-08-13

    Meanwhile, in a galaxy we call US of A. Owning the libs, at 875.6 percent jump.

    “As of Aug. 11, the nation’s seven-day average of daily new cases was 113,357, per the CDC. This is a 24.3 percent increase from the week before and a 875.6 percent jump from the lowest case average in June.

    Even amid surges driven by the delta variant, it’s still safer to live in a hot spot while vaccinated now than it was to live in a hot spot unvaccinated last summer, according to the Post. States with the highest vaccination rates have a third the number of new cases per capita compared to low-vaccination states. Virus hospitalization rates in states with less than 40 percent of residents fully vaccinated are four times higher than states with at least 54 percent vaccinated, the Post found. ”

    YIKES!!!!! Stay safe out there, wear your masks and be damn careful. Love your children and grandchildren because republicans’ want to kill them before they even have a graduation.

  3. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-13

    well…we’re at a tipping point with the anti-vaxers whose overt nuttiness cannot set health policy at the national, state, or local level…the pandemic is sweeping the non-vax states and, unfortunately, there are not enough people vaccinated in all but a few states, to stop another tidal wave of cases across the country….and the mob hasn’t returned home yet from Sturgis. Its not going to get better without direct measures taken (including coercive measures) to mandate vaccination.

  4. jerry 2021-08-14

    Looks like the guy is masquerading as an attorney. When you see these two clowns Gabbard (Mooney) and Greenwald (crappy pants), move on smartly. Only John Dale would troll so deeply into the crap mire of conspiracy bull crap to come up with this. Well played Johnny, now go roll over in a dead skunk to keep your balance. Lucky you have taken your vaccine.

    “Video platform Rumble, which has grown in popularity among conservatives as an alternative to YouTube, has reached agreements with eight “thought leaders” to provide content, including former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and journalist Glenn Greenwald.”

  5. Porter Lansing 2021-08-14

    John “I Believe Anything I Agree With” Dale is now claiming things on the radicalized, right-wing, social media midget RUMBLE are the truth?


  6. Mark Anderson 2021-08-14

    Oh John, I’d like to place a little bet, I’m betting that the experimental vaccine that I got two shots of and that has made my life wonderful, gets full approval by the FDA. Come on John, your sources should make this easy. Put your money where your fingers are. Any amount is fine with me. How about it?

  7. O 2021-08-14

    Just to drive the nail into Mr. Dale’s latest round of misinformation:

    A lawyer claiming an unsubstantiated statistic to further his lawsuit is NOT evidence. You MAGAs love to create facts, put them into a lawsuit, then claim those facts are true because they are part of a lawsuit — even after those suits are dismissed for lack foundation.

    I would like to put a pin in this discussion: I am willing to come back to this thread and recant my objection should it turn out to be true; will you do the same Mr. Dale? Do YOU take any responsibility for misinformation you disseminate?

  8. Jake 2021-08-14

    ‘Crickets’ coming from J Dale, as that’s all he and his ilk are like the cockroaches in Miami’s alleys-hungry, but in his case, needing attention. Lonely he is-should be.

  9. Mark Anderson 2021-08-14

    You know Cory my comments really dont need moderation.

  10. RST Tribal Member 2021-08-15

    As enemies watch the US population react and deal with keeping themselves and others safe from a deadly virus that might have been sent out to test the resolve and willingness f people to think beyond the individualization of a person. We might just be screwed.

    Look what is happening in a country the US has been involved with for a several decades and is suddenly pulling out of for the past few months, now at the last moment! The scramble to get out at the last hours brings up memories of the pull outs in places like Vietnam or Iraq or other countries and places the US stuck its guns and money into.

    If a real war was forced upon the US and the military and National Guard are depleted calling upon the need for a draft to fill in the ranks, one can only imagine the cries for take them not me. In the 60s and early 70s a few protested, some burned their draft cards, others left the country or went to jail. The rich one’s parents got crafty with excuses from bone spurs to mental illness (strangely some became President of the US).

    Enemies are watching figuring out the weaknesses and flash points of the population. Cannot even collectively come together to battle a deadly virus. Willing to believe stories from a guy selling pillows. Figuring out a way to minimize voter turn out. More interested in party over country. Yep, we might just screwed.

    2022 November could be a turning point.

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