Shouldn’t we know where they live?
California’s measles outbreak has touched off a debate about how to reduce the number of parents who choose—in defiance of all credible public health information—not to vaccinate their children. So far, the debate has focused on tightening California laws that make it easy for parents to obtain exemptions from school vaccination requirements. Newly introduced state legislation would eliminate the “Personal Belief Exemption” that thousands of anti-vaccine parents have used.
I’d be more than happy to see this proposal become law. But the politics of reducing parental choice are fraught, and there are limits to the law’s ability to compel good parenting. There’s also a hard cultural fact: few things are more fundamentally Californian than the freedom to believe whatever pseudo-religious or pseudo-scientific nonsense you choose. So, one way or another, it’s likely that parents will still find ways to avoid vaccinating their children, despite…
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