Do U.S. Pandemic Plans Threaten Civil Rights?

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EnumaElish
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By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) Jan 14 - U.S. policy in preparing for a potential bird flu pandemic is veering dangerously toward a heavy-handed law-enforcement approach, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Monday.

The group, which advocates for individuals' legal rights based on the U.S. Constitution, said federal government pandemic plans were confusing and could emphasize a police and military approach to outbreaks of disease, instead of a more sensible public health approach.

"Rather than focusing on well-established measures for protecting the lives and health of Americans, policymakers have recently embraced an approach that views public health policy through the prism of national security and law enforcement," the ACLU report reads.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080114/hl_nm/birdflu_rights_dc_3 [Broken]
 
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  • #2
russ_watters
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You didn't offer any discussion, but the self-evident answer to the question is, of course, yes. FEMA has the power to clamp-down on civil rights.
 
  • #3
EnumaElish
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I think the issue is the main thrust of the government's approach. ACLU seems to think it is a militaristic approach.

That's in a way reassuring because the U.S. military may have a comparative advantage over the U.S. civilian machinery (and civilian thinking), and so there may be an efficiency argument to it.
 
  • #4
chemisttree
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No doubt martial law would be declared in the emergency. It is a concept mentioned in the Constitution in connection with the right of Habeas Corpus.

Article 1, Section 9 states, "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."
Likewise, the state of Louisiana declared a state of martial law after Katrina or what passed for it (a state of public health emergency) which allowed the governor to suspend laws, order evacuations, and limit the sales of items such as alcohol and firearms. Where was the ACLU then?
 
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EnumaElish
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Likewise, the state of Louisiana declared a state of martial law after Katrina or what passed for it (a state of public health emergency) which allowed the governor to suspend laws, order evacuations, and limit the sales of items such as alcohol and firearms. Where was the ACLU then?
Maybe they learn from past experience.
 

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