[guest post by Dana]
Carly Fiorina made a stand for parental and religious rights when discussing vaccinations tonight at a town hall meeting after a mother of five told her that she had not vaccinated her children for religious reasons:
GOP presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina said Thursday that parents should not be forced to vaccinate their children against diseases like measles and mumps, although she added that public school systems can forbid unvaccinated children from attending.
“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.”
“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.”
Fiorina later expanded on her comments:
“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.”
Fiorina said that when it comes to “these more esoteric immunizations” for diseases that are not contagious or communicable, school districts should not be allowed to mandate that children receive the vaccination.
During an interview earlier this year, Fiorina was asked about vaccinations:
Asked whether a recent measles outbreak that has spread across 14 states signals further proof that children need to be vaccinated, Fiorina said, “I think parents have to make choices for their family and their children.”
But Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard who is considering a 2016 presidential bid, added, “I think there’s a big difference between — just in terms of the mountains of evidence we have — a vaccination for measles and a vaccination when a girl is 10 or 11 or 12 for cervical cancer just in case she’s sexually active at 11. So, I think it’s hard to make a blanket statement about it. I certainly can understand a mother’s concerns about vaccinating a 10-year-old.” “I think vaccinating for measles makes a lot of sense. But that’s me. I do think parents have to make those choices. I mean, I got measles as a kid. We used to all get measles… I got chicken pox, I got measles, I got mumps.”