“My body, my choice!”

A refrain from the abortion rights movement is now the battle cry of those insisting there’s a right against wearing masks or being vaccinated during a pandemic.

When the Board of Panhandle Health District met last week to consider a facemask mandate, protestors carried signs reading “I will not comply,” “Freedom is the Cure” and “We have rights!”

Similar sentiments have been expressed by right-wing legislators and Idaho Freedom Foundation’s President Wayne Hoffman, who posted on Facebook people “have the absolute right” to choose whether to wear a mask.

They echo Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie, who recently tweeted: “There is no authority in the Constitution that authorizes the government to stick a needle in you against your will, force you to wear a face mask, or track your daily movements.”

Tweeters were quick to remind Massie that George Washington in fact required the Continental Army to be vaccinated against Smallpox. But Massie’s tweet, Hoffman’s post and the PHD protesters reflect a world view held by many Americans. We have our rights!

And those rights trump all other concerns, even something as trivially burdensome as wearing a face covering in public, when wearing it literally saves the lives of others. Like everything else in America, mask wearing has become a debate over rights.

Published by CDA Press
Friday, July 24
by Cornell W. Clayton

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