Blog of Rights

Tania
Simoncelli

Keeping Us — and the Constitution — Healthy

By Tania Simoncelli, Technology & Liberty Program at 5:14pm
Public fears over the H1N1 flu virus seem to be subsiding (despite occasional flare-ups such as emergency bans on poster kissing) as the virus appears not to be as dangerous as was initially feared. At the ACLU we have been monitoring the course of the H1N1 because there is always a danger that fears aroused by a disease epidemic may lead to civil liberties violations. In the past, disease outbreaks have sometimes prompted government officials to respond with irrational fears, discriminatory behaviors, and panicked, coercive measures. These heavy-handed reactions — in the form of forcible quarantine, travel bans, and compulsory treatment — have nearly always proven detrimental to the goal of limiting the spread of disease.
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