At Tuesday’s meeting of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, lawmakers gathered to address the dangers of anti-vaccination information, calling for a national campaign to combat the issue. For the most part, the Senators in the room were mostly deferential to the notion.
There was one notable exception in the room.
Senator Rand Paul was uncompromising in his defense of the rights of parents to make their own decision. Despite his own belief that vaccine benefits outweigh risks, Paul was adamant that liberty must come first.
“It is wrong to say that there are no risks to vaccines. Even the government admits that children are sometimes injured by vaccines . . . I still don’t favor giving up on liberty for a false sense of security,” Paul said.
This is not the first time that Senator Paul has stood in defense of parental rights on this issue. In a CNBC interview in 2015, Paul defended the notion that the parents decision trumps that of the state.
“I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea; I think they’re a good thing,” Paul said in the interview “But I think the parent should have some input. The state doesn’t own your children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.”
This stand is just one of many which Senator Paul has made in defense of the liberties of marginalized groups in our society.
Senator Paul has never allowed the popularity of governments victims to dictate whether or not he would defend their liberty. From his stands against the NSA to his defense of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy to his persistent advocacy for criminal justice reform, this has been consistent.
Government has ramped up encroachments on parental rights in recent years, from restricting homeschool rights to penalizing parents for lack of adult supervision. In an era where this is at epidemic levels, Senator Paul stands as a lone champion of parental rights.