"I want that to be my choice as a parent," Duffy, a father of seven, said said during an appearance on MSNBC's "The Rundown With José Díaz-Balart." "I know my kids best. I know what morals and values are right for my children. I think we should not have an oppressive state telling us what to do."
Duffy's remarks came as an outbreak of measles — a potentially fatal disease thought to be eradicated from the U.S. just 15 years ago thanks to safe and effective vaccination — had sickened more than 100 Americans. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) came under heavy criticism Monday for appearing to align themselves with the anti-vaccine movement.
The Wisconsin congressman explicitly defended vaccine critics, saying: "I think a lot of parents who are smart, well-read — they're the ones who are choosing not to vaccinate. And oftentimes, those who may not be as well-read — they are vaccinating. So to say you just have a bunch of crackpots who are choosing not to do this to their children, I just don't think that's actually true."
Duffy, a former attorney, said that he prefers to "pick and choose" which vaccines his children receive.
"I vaccinate my kids on most things, but then there are some things where I'm like, 'This may not work for me and my values and my family,'" he said.