Vaccines vs. Parental Rights

Vaccines vs. Parental Rights

2019 | Week of May 27 | #1310

Joining the ever-growing bandwagon of those pushing to ensure 100% of children are fully vaccinated, Democrat State Representative Gordon Hintz and Democrat State Senator Tim Carpenter, joined by Republican Representative Tyler Vorpagel, are introducing a bill that removes the personal conviction option as an exemption from vaccination. Currently, Wisconsin is one of seventeen states that has three options for vaccination exemption: health, religious and personal conviction. Representative Hintz says state statistics show that ninety-five percent of those exempting use the personal conviction option.

Organizationally, we take no position on vaccines themselves, other than we do vigorously oppose mandating the HPV vaccine, which is strictly for sexually transmitted diseases and has at a minimum a dubious and some would allege an even dangerous track record.

That said, we do aggressively defend parental rights. This bill would remove an option for parents regarding the healthcare of their children. The state is not the parent and should not be making it more difficult for parents to do what they believe is in their child’s best interest.

The current push at the state level and the federal level to mandate vaccines with essentially no exceptions comes on the wake of what is being hyped in the media and by some in government as a measles outbreak. According to the CDC, as of May 17, some 880 cases of measles in 24 states have been reported since January of this year. To date, Wisconsin has not reported any cases.

In a recent interview with Wisconsin Eye, newly appointed Secretary of the Department of Health Andrea Palm, talked about vaccinations in Wisconsin. She indicated our vaccination rate generally is between 85 and 90%, and said she believes that the rate can be improved through education in targeted areas where the rate is lower. She clearly said she did not think we needed any change in the law. Apparently, Representative Hintz and Senator Carpenter and other legislators who will support this bill believe otherwise.

If there were ever a slippery slope issue, this is it. Parents use the “personal conviction” option because it allows them to independently make a decision on this health-care issue without having to get permission from their doctor or from their church. That option scares those who believe government always knows best. Pretty quickly all vaccine exemptions would be functionally gone as government coerces medical professionals and religious leaders to not grant exception requests.

My experience over the last twenty years has been that parents who make the decision to not vaccinate their children do not come to that conclusion without much research and consultation with knowledgeable people. The idea that parents are capricious, ignorant, uneducated, uninformed and are making dangerous and even selfish decisions that will affect public health is demeaning and arrogant, at a minimum. For the most part, parents who make the “no vaccine for my child” decision have done their homework and are not convinced of the safety or necessity of vaccines.

Anyone willing to explore vaccines with even a modicum of an open mind will quickly see that good people with credentials and expertise in this area disagree about the efficacy, safety and public-safety need for vaccinations. The problem is when government is closed-minded on an issue, it can bring its heavy down in an obtrusive and some would allege unconstitutional manner to bring about full compliance.

Parental rights have been steadily eroding in this country. For instance, in the health-care area, it is against the law for a medical provider to tell a parent that their minor child has received contraceptives, is pregnant or has been tested for Sexually transmitted diseases or infections. The irony is, of course, that in most schools, minor students need written permission from a parent or guardian to take a Tylenol. Add to this insanity the removal of the personal conviction exception for vaccines, and you see an even worsening of the trouncing on parental rights.

Government needs to quit using scare tactics and shaming to try to force parents into making a certain health-care decision for their children. Parents who study vaccines and choose to fully or partially vaccinate their child should be free to do so, but parents who come to a different conclusion should be able to make that decision without difficulty. Removing the broadest vaccine exemption available to parents in Wisconsin is wrong-headed and represents a bully government at work.

For more information and to learn how you can support the work of Wisconsin Family Council, please visit or call 888-378-7395.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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