"Could you live with yourself if your child got another child sick? I mean really sick? and complications, even death?"
"I could live with myself very easily. It's a very unfortunate thing that people die, but unfortunately people die, and I'm not going to put my child at risk to save another child. I'm not going to sacrifice the well-being of my child. My child is pure."He's wrong about the risk to his own child, of course. Unless his child is a transplant recipient his child can handle childhood vaccinations just fine. And even if his child is totally healthy, measles could cause complications or death. The risk--benefit analysis isn't subtle.
But let's assume for argument's sake that he may have a point. He's playing out the ethics of the Trolley Problem perfectly. In the old days of trolleys criss-crossing big cities, an ethicist posed this question:
If a trolley is running out of control and there were six people unaware of it who were doomed to die, would you pull a switch to send it down a different track which has only one person standing on it?"A variation on this idea puts the single person closer to you. In order to save the six people you'd have to push a large man in front of the trolley (you're too small to solve this problem by jumping in front of the trolley yourself), thus killing him but saving the others. The outcome in either scenario would be the same, but in the first thought experiment you're more removed -- you're not the killer, you merely redirect the killer. In the second you are the killer, a murderer perhaps. According to Thomas Aquinas and most people generally, an evil act that results in good results is still an evil act, so the second scenario is untenable.
The problem with the anti-vaxxers' selfish decision not to vaccinate is of course the premise. They risk their own child's life as well as some hypothetical stranger's life.
I'd like to pose the vaccine question to the parent of two children, one of whom is immune-compromised and one of whom is normal. Either way, they would pose a risk to one child. How to decide... how to decide.... Oh yeah, science!
Anyway, I've been reading on morality (book review to come later) and when I hear people say they won't risk their own child's life for another child's life I hear the Trolley Problem being acted out in real life. This is why appealing to the impact on other children won't sway these people, however selfish the choice seems.
Other doctors have complained about him and he may lose his license. One can hope.
For another parental view, check out what famous children's author Roald Dahl said about his daughter's death from measles.