Bad Bill, Worse Timing

Measles.

Measles.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports on a bill up for debate tomorrow in the GOP-held Colorado Senate, either timely or most unfortunately timed given related headlines this week:

Federal data Tuesday showing Colorado kindergartners having the lowest immunization rate in the country would seem to illustrate that parents here already have the option of not vaccinating their children against certain diseases.

But this week, just as a politically fraught debate over vaccinations is dominating the conversation between 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls, Colorado lawmakers will debate legislation that would underline the rights parents already possess to opt out of immunizations as well as comprehensive sex education in schools…

“As a parent, I probably know best  for my children,” [Sen. Tim Neville] said. “I already have the responsibilty under law, I should make sure I have the right to make their decisions for their education, their moral upbringing and also to keep them safe with the medical decisions being made.”

Sen. Tim Neville.

Sen. Tim Neville.

CBS4's report last night: "When it comes to vaccines, Republicans couldn't have picked a worse time to make this a political debate."

Many blame the expanding measles outbreak on the increased number of families choosing not to vaccinate their children. Now there may be a bill to support those parents who are against vaccines.

Parents can already opt out of state mandated vaccines for their children, but State Sen. Tim Neville, a Republican, wanted to make it clear in a bill already drawing sharp fire.

“Are vaccines important? Vaccines are important to people, sure, we’ve had vaccines for many things, but it should be up to the parents,” Neville said. [Pols emphasis]

Colorado's low rate of vaccinations is a direct consequence of the state's relatively easy process for opting children out of "mandatory" vaccinations. For a number of years, the growing incidence of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was linked to vaccines, which increased the number of parents choosing to opt out their kids. But recently, outbreaks of preventable diseases–most recently measles, but in Colorado we've also seen a spike in cases of whooping cough–are making the choice to not vaccinate one's children increasingly controversial. In addition, the study linking autism vaccination was thoroughly discredited in 2011, and its author has in fact lost his license to practice medicine.

In the last few days, Republican presidential hopefuls Chris Christie and Rand Paul have been heavily criticized after making comments about vaccination that raise questions about their fitness to preside over public health issues. Sen. Paul in particular repeated the same myth about "mental disorders" and vaccinations that was discredited years ago. Christie didn't offer up any bogus "facts" like Paul, but he did say that parents need "some measure of choice" in the decision to vaccinate children. And with a disease that the CDC had declared eradicated fifteen years ago cropping up around the country again, these were not considered good answers from anyone with presidential aspirations.

And yes, folks–it's a really bad time for Colorado Republicans to grandstand on the right of parents to not have their kids vaccinated. This bill doesn't change what is already a controversially lax vaccination policy in Colorado, but it does brand the campaign to uphold that "right" as a Republican platform plank.

All told, that could cost Republicans many more votes than it wins.

0 Shares

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ModeratusModeratus says:

    That's right! The state always knows what is best for you and your children.

    What country is this again, AmerikaPols?

    • SocialisticatProgressicat says:

      I know what country it isn't.  Pakistan.  No matter how hard you try to make it  through religious law or lack of vaccination.

      When it comes to vaccination, the state does know what's best for your children.  More importantly they know what's best for everyone else's children, and their parents, oh, and you.  Stop killing babies with your idiotic notions of purity and freedom.  Diseases kill.  Anti-vaxxers do too.

    • Republican 36 says:

      No, your wrong. Our country is called the United States of America where some government policies are adopted to protect all of us. Don't try to categorize this as some kind of parental or individual freedom. Parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated are also making the statement that they have the right to infect my children or others children with preventable diseases. I didn't realize the Constitution gave people that right.

      The only other basis that has been given for avoiding vaccinating children is that it causes autism but that was debunked years ago by scientific research.

      Your basic position is parents have the right to spread disease among their children and to other families.

    • OrangeFreeOrangeFree says:

      Bringing back eradicated diseases one unvaccinated child at a time – because freedom. 

      You've said some dumb shit in the past, but this is a winner. 

    • Old Time Dem says:

      Back in 1905–basically in the Lochner era–the Supreme Court upheld vaccination laws.  It was good law then, and it's good law now.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      Watch it, modster. Many Republican pols are not on board with going back to the future on easily preventable diseases. Herd immunity requires 95%. The more ignorant parents who wrongly believe immunizations cause autism and are more dangerous than the diseases they  prevent will be in for a shock when polio comes back.  What I find shocking is that I've heard several of these parents explain that it's safe for their kids not to get immunized because most others do. In other words they believe there is great risk and are happy to let other children take the risk so theirs don't have to. But there are now so many taking this cop out, their children aren't protected because here in Colorado we're well below the percentage required. The joke may well be on them though it won't be much of a joke . 

      • FrankUnderwood says:

        It's called the freeloader effect.  We also had it with health care prior to ACA.  People still got sick or injured, even those claiming personal responsbility as their mantra.  When that happened, they got treatment and di what debtor-creditor lawyers call a "medical bankruptcy."  The health care providers recouped over time from those with insurance.

    • Let's put it the way you mean it, Mod. You don't think the state is EVER the best solution to a problem. (Except possibly for the military, the police, and to keep Bad Things – the fundamentalist Christian definition – from tempting people and corrupting the morality of the nation. Not even those if you could figure out how to privatize them or turn them over to religious control effectively).

      The statistics surrounding effective vaccination are among the most dramatic and unequivocal in all of science. Vaccines save lives, and they need near total societal buy-in to work. That 5% exception for herd immunity isn't for doubters and deniers; it covers those too young to be vaccinated, a handful of people for whom vaccination is contra-indicated, and those whose immune systems aren't up to providing a sufficient defense.

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    Everyone knows, platitudes are what's best for children!  Science, not so much . . . 

  3. FrankUnderwood says:

    You can go without vaccinations if you lived alone in a cave or on an island, and you never came out.  Once you come in contact with the rest of us, we have the right (let's call it self-defense even though it doesn't involve an assault rifle) to expect you to do things like get vaccinated or wash your hands after taking a crap.  

    Moddy, exactly how far are you and your fellow nutters going to take your free-dumb agenda?

  4. Molly Brown says:

    Finally, an issue that can unite the science-denying fringe on the left and right! Public health concern indeed!

  5. Gilpin Guy says:

    And to think we elected this braindead slug Neville instead of Jeanne Nicholson.

    Too bad the voting population wasn't innoculated against stupid.

  6. It's sad that Sen. Neville (one of the most serious downgrades of Senate quality in recent history) even feels the need to submit this bill. We already have some of the weakest vaccination laws in the country with easy opt-out provisions – and the lowest vaccination rate in the country to prove it.

    There are too many school districts in this state where a single case of measles could rapidly escalate and double (or more) the nationwide count – not to mention what would happen if it got to a more contagious population like high school students who travel between school districts frequently for competitions. Measles is infectious for several days before the first symptoms appear.

  7. ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

    Anti-vaxxers are found in all political parties.  

    • Quite true (as several of our more liberal colleagues have already posted above). There are misinformed, paranoid, and plain old disbelieving folks throughout the political spectrum. Fortunately, there are also good people in all parties who are willing to stand up and say "vaccinations are a Good Thing" in no uncertain terms.

      But according to a recent poll, there's a gap opening up between the parties on vaccination requirements – one that wasn't there when Obama came in to office 6 years ago. It says that Republicans are becoming less inclined to support vaccination, while Democratic and "other" support is remaining the same. It seems that the GOP fringe is starting to develop an ever more virulent anti-science, anti-government attitude.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Ummmm . . . okaayyyyy . . .

      Which party is the esteemed Senator from, and which party do you think his bill is paying to?

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      Like I said…. Ain't all that bipartisan stupidity and selfishness grand? Where the yuppie left, who think they and their kids have every allergy and intolerance they ever read about and believe every new age fad diet and cleansing treatment that comes down the pike, and the self identifying libertarian (most are really no such thing) right meet.  They can all hold hands and sing songs of sweet bipartisanship deep in the heart of Dumphuquistan.  Where I wish they'd be quarantined.

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account


You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.