The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was publicly condemned on Thursday after arguing that mandatory Covid-19 vaccination actually advances civil liberties instead of compromising them.
In an article for the New York Times – which the ACLU posted on its official Twitter account – ACLU National Legal Director David Cole and colleague Daniel Mach defended vaccine mandates by claiming that the right to bodily autonomy is overruled when others are put at risk.
Far from compromising them, vaccine mandates actually further civil liberties. They protect the most vulnerable, people with disabilities and fragile immune systems, children too young to be vaccinated, and communities of color hit hard by the disease. https://t.co/UYfQY2EEqj
— ACLU (@ACLU) September 2, 2021
“Do vaccine mandates violate civil liberties? Some who have refused vaccination claim as much. We disagree,” the pair declared, revealing that the ACLU sees “no civil liberties problem with requiring Covid-19 vaccines in most circumstances.”
“In fact, far from compromising civil liberties, vaccine mandates actually further civil liberties,” they continued, arguing that mandatory vaccination protects “the most vulnerable among us,” including those with disabilities, children, and “communities of color.”
The article justified the mandatory jabs, arguing that the right to bodily autonomy is not “absolute” and saying in some cases intrusions are warranted.
Vaccines are a justifiable intrusion on autonomy and bodily integrity. That may sound ominous, because we all have the fundamental right to bodily integrity and to make our own health care decisions. But these rights are not absolute. They do not include the right to inflict harm on others.
Cole and Mach even went so far as to claim that the “real threat to civil liberties” is states which ban vaccine mandates and defend the right to bodily autonomy.
“Avoiding a deadly threat to the public health typically outweighs personal autonomy and individual freedom,” Cole and Mach declared, concluding, “We care deeply about civil liberties and civil rights for all – which is precisely why we support vaccine mandates.”
The ACLU received heavy backlash on social media, with critics accusing the organization of having “lost the plot.”
You’ve lost the plot
— Based_In_The_Bay (@Midnight7089) September 2, 2021
People overuse the term "Orwellian", but this is textbook.
— Flavored Cats (@tpwk47) September 2, 2021
There are communities of color who don't trust the medical establishment but you're going to insist they be mandated as well? Civil liberties org, my foot.
— Robi-Ann Doyle (@doyle1020) September 2, 2021
“Never donating again. You’re supposed to support individual liberty,” responded one fully vaccinated user, while RedState Deputy Managing Editor Brandon Morse questioned, “Who are they trying to convince with this tweet? Us or themselves?”
“Having the state force citizens to inject their bodies with a medicine they don’t want is a victory for civil liberties actually, says the @ACLU,” quipped journalist Glenn Greenwald, who added that although he’s happy that he and his family got vaccinated, it’s “because it was my choice and theirs, after informing ourselves,” and not the government’s decision.