I’ve been writing about the California vaccination bill that’s looking more and more like it’s going to become law. You see, in California if a child is not vaccinated they cannot attend public school. That makes sense: you wouldn’t be allowed to send a child to school carrying a container of serious, highly infectious diseases, and I don’t see how that concern changes when the child himself is the container. There is a notable exception though: religion. If your religious beliefs say you can’t vaccinate your kids, then you’re permitted to endanger everybody else’s children.
This bill would end that practice. But the ACLU is strangely on the side of the anti-vaxxers. They seem convinced the bill will deprive kids of an education:
Earlier this month, an attorney for the venerable civil rights group wrote a letter to the bill’s two Democratic authors, Richard Pan of Sacramento and Ben Allen of Santa Monica, raising alarms about the bill’s constitutionality.
Under the California Constitution, wrote Kevin G. Baker, legislative director of the ACLU of California’s Center for Advocacy and Policy, children have the right to a public education.The ACLU does not take issue with the wisdom of vaccinating children against the full range of childhood diseases, nor with the fact that serious public health risks can occur when vaccination rates fall below what is required for herd immunity. But, Baker wrote, the bill does not explain why the state has a “compelling interest” in requiring that all students in every school be vaccinated.
I don’t buy that. Yes, kids have a right to an education – I’d never say otherwise. But they don’t have a right to endanger other people’s kids. That’s like opposing speeding laws because you have a right to drive a car. You do have a right to drive a car so long as you obey the laws that keep you from endangering others. It’s your behavior depriving you of driving, now the laws. In this case it’s the parents refusal to comply with sensible laws that is depriving their kids of public education, not this bill.
If you can’t send your kid to school without endangering everybody else, their education will have to happen at home.