Can Biden Order You to Be Sterilized, Too?

Can President Joe Biden make it clear that your employer sterilizes you? Can he also order your employer to ensure that you are vaccinated against COVID-19?

The first question focuses on a hypothetical. The second is not.

John Holdren, who served with Biden in the Obama administration (where he was director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy), has argued, as this column has noted before, that “our planet is grossly overpopulated.”

“Political pressure must be applied immediately to induce the United States government to assume its responsibility to halt the growth of the American population,” Holdren wrote with Paul and Anne Ehrlich in their 1973 book “Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions.”

“Once growth is halted,” Holdren and the Ehrlichs wrote, “the government should undertake to influence the birthrate so that the population is reduced to an optimum size and maintained there.”

How could “the United States government” carry out this alleged “responsibility to halt the growth of the American population”?

Well, one model for government-driven population limitation can be found in the People’s Republic of China. There, according to the latest State Department report on human rights practices, the government engages in “forced sterilization and coerced abortions.”

Now, suppose in America we were able to develop the technology to sterilize someone simply by giving them two shots in the arm three weeks apart—just like getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

A future president could order that all Americans with two or more children, given the environmental risk to our planet as a result of population growth, get these two shots.

In November, the Biden White House announced that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration was unilaterally mandating that all employers with more than 100 employees require that those employees be vaccinated for COVID-19.

“Covered employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception for employers that instead adopt a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated or elect to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination,” said the regulation.

The administration claimed that the justification for this mandate was the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which gives the secretary of labor the authority to “provide … for an emergency temporary standard to take immediate effect upon publication in the Federal Register if he determines (A) that employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards, and (B) that such emergency standard is necessary to protect employees from such danger.”

Further, the administration suggested that OSHA’s authority to require vaccinations be mandated by it was derived from the Commerce Clause. “The Occupational Safety and Health Act is an exercise of the Congress’s Commerce Clause authority,” it said in the Federal Register.

The Commerce Clause says: “The Congress shall have power … to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”

Not allowing Americans to have a vaccine shot they don’t want is a violation of commerce laws between states, foreign countries, or Indian tribes.

The National Federation of Independent Business filed suit to challenge the OSHA mandate. The Supreme Court will hear this case on January 7. A brief defending the mandate has been filed by more 180 members of Congress. They argue that OSHA never received authorization from Congress to require a vaccination.

“The [emergency temporary standard] provision of the OSH Act allows OSHA to address only ‘grave danger’ in the workplace, which includes any ‘toxic or physically harmful’ agent, without going through notice and comment when such an emergency standard is necessary,” said the congressional brief.

“As a matter of statutory interpretation,” said this brief, “the OSH Act ‘covers only workplace-specific hazards and permits only workplace-specific safety measures.”

“But OSHA now wants to dictate virus protection measures outside the workplace to stop a virus outbreak that is also taking place outside the workplace,” it said. “Vaccine mandates are traditionally the province of the States,” said the congressional brief.

“It is thus unsurprising,” it said, “that the [emergency temporary standard] itself acknowledges that OSHA has never used its authority before to mandate vaccination.”

“But the [emergency temporary standard]This mandate opens the door to a power without an intelligible principle. It would allow OSHA to become a roving committee for general health policy.”

COVID-19 vaccines are a boon for America and the world. They have saved many lives. However, the president of the United States has no unilateral authority to order any American to have any medical procedure.

If the Supreme Court granted this unjustified power to Biden, who doesn’t recognize the right to live of the most innocent and vulnerable humans (the unborn), then what would he or his successors do with it?


The Daily Signal is open to all perspectives. This article is not meant to represent the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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