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Please tell me why it’s wrong to force parents to have their kids vaxxed against measles

February 8, 2015

My latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:


No, I don’t think this is an issue of “parental choice”

I’m a limited-government girl and also an “I Hate the Nanny State” girl. I believe in maximum parental choice in raising kids on almost every issue: schools (including homeschooling), sex ed, “free-ranging,” and keeping guns in the house. I even believe in the right of parents to choose to do stupid, children-endangering things, such as birthing those children while sitting in a wading pool in one’s living room under the supervision of a self-trained midwife whose idea of local anesthesia is chanting Vedic sutras.

But there’s one area where I absolutely disagree with the principle of parental choice—or at least I think it should be restricted to an area the size of a pinkie fingernail: getting your kid vaccinated against highly communicable and potentially deadly diseases.

I don’t care if this puts me on the same side as Nancy Pelosi, the Daily Kos—or even Satan. Refusing to allow your kids to be vaccinated, whether it’s because you still buy into the long-discredited theory (based on fraudulent studies) that vaccines cause autism, or whether you merely hate the idea of an elite class telling you what to do, doesn’t just put your own child at risk. It puts other people at risk. Lots of other people: pregnant women, babies too young to be vaccinated, people young and old who have a serious medical condition that bars them from tolerating vaccines, and adults born before the dawn of vaccines who lucked out and never got the diseases in question. And, of course, the children of your fellow anti-vaxxers as well.

I’m not talking about forcing children to be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus, which is transmitted only through sex and to which socially conservative parents might object on the ground that it covertly encourages sex. Nor am I talking about flu shots, which are literally shots the dark, reflecting epidemiologists’ educated guesses about what strain of flu virus will be going around this winter.

I’m talking about once-common diseases for which vaccines were developed decades ago that were so effective that they all but eradicated those diseases until recently: diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, measles, mumps, and rubella. There is no excuse whatsoever—unless there’s a serious medical condition, or possibly a serious religious objection at stake—for not having your kids vaccinated against them.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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One Comment
  1. Kristi Herman permalink

    It’s very odd to me that the media seems to think the anti-vaccination crowd is Tea Party conservative or something along those lines. I homeschool and I can tell you that the people pushing against vaccination are very liberal types. I doubt Jenny McCarthy is a closet conservative.

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