Here is the “middle ground” on vaccines as it exists in America today: don’t vaccinate your kids if your Internet message board/life coach/talking dog sidekick advises against it, but a public school may bar you from enrolling. That’s the stance Carly Fiorina took when talking to a potential voter and mother of five who says she won’t allow her kids to receive vaccines made from “aborted babies.”
From the Washington Post, recounting a campaign stop Fiorina made this week in Iowa:
“When in doubt, it is always the parent’s choice,” Fiorina said during a town hall in an agricultural building in rural Iowa on Thursday evening. “When in doubt, it must always be the parent’s choice.”
Fiorina’s comment came in response to a question from a mother of five children who said that because of her religious beliefs, she will not allow her children to receive any vaccines that were created using cells from “aborted babies.” Fiorina told the woman that parents must be allowed to make such decisions.
“We must protect religious liberty and someone’s ability to practice their religion,” said Fiorina, receiving a round of applause. “We must devote energy and resources to doing so. Period.”
48 states currently offer a religious exemption for vaccines, while 17 also offer a “philosophical” one. Vaccines don’t contain “aborted babies,” fetal tissue, or any other type of human cells. But vaccination is back in the news because of a recent wholesale freakout in California after the state passed a law narrowing its “personal belief” exemption. Once the law takes effect, most schools and day cares won’t admit children who haven’t been fully vaccinated, unless they have a religious or medical exemption.
In talking to reporters, the Post adds, Fiorina also found time to mention that she does believe public schools can bar unvaccinated children from enrollment:
“When you have highly communicable diseases where we have a vaccine that’s proven, like measles or mumps, then I think a parent can make that choice — but then I think a school district is well within their rights to say: ‘I’m sorry, your child cannot then attend public school.’ So a parent has to make that trade-off.”
For some shots, anyway; Fiorina also referred without elaboration to “these more esoteric immunizations,” which she doesn’t think should be required to enroll in a public school. She might be referring to the HPV vaccine, which she’d said earlier that her own daughter didn’t want to get for her child. The HPV vaccine is not mandatory for school entry.
Image o via AP.