What’s new about the current anti-vaccine movement is the argument that government has no right to force parents to vaccinate their kids before they enter school. While Trump administration health officials and most Republicans in Congress still back mandatory vaccination, opposition is gaining steam among Republicans in state legislatures.
Among some of these officials, that libertarian demand for medical freedom has displaced the traditional GOP view that it’s a civic responsibility to immunize your kids to prevent the spread of disease. As more politicians take an anti-mandate stand, some end up adopting bogus theories about the supposed harms of vaccination — threatening to roll back one of public health’s great achievements.
In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin said vaccine mandates were un-American. In Oregon, the state party used vaccine mandates to bash Democrats as violating parental rights. And in the California Senate, all 10 Republicans last Wednesday opposed a measure aimed at stopping bogus medical exemptions from vaccination.