Carly Fiorina Against Vaccine Mandates: ‘It Must Always Be The Parent’s Choice’

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina renewed the debate over childhood vaccinations Thursday in Iowa when she said that parents shouldn’t be forced to vaccinate their kids against diseases like measles.

Whether or not vaccinations should be mandatory for children became one of the first litmus tests for 2016 presidential hopefuls after one of the biggest measles outbreaks in recent years spread during the winter from California’s Disneyland into 14 states. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) was asked about the outbreak during an overseas trip and said he thought parents should have “some measure of choice” in vaccinating their kids; his office later tried to walk back that remark, but other prospective candidates quickly jumped in with their takes and the issue garnered headlines for weeks.

The former Hewlitt-Packard CEO’s comments came at a town hall in Alden, Iowa, in response to a question from a woman who said she was a mother of five and was opposed to immunizing her children with any vaccines that were made using cells from “aborted babies,” according to The Washington Post.

“When in doubt, it must always be the parent’s choice,” Fiorina responded, adding “We must protect religious liberty and someone’s ability to practice their religion.”

Afterward, Fiorina told reporters the trade-off is that schools are within their rights to turn away unvaccinated children, according to the Post.

Fiorina made similar comments about parental choice in a January interview with BuzzFeed News.

“I think parents have to make choices for their family and their children,” she told the news site. She added that it was “hard to make a blanket statement” about immunizations, drawing a distinction between vaccinating for measles (“makes a lot of sense”) and vaccinating for cervical cancer (“just in case she’s sexually active at 11”) to make her point.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: