Healthcare

Ted Cruz Almost Got It Right on Vaccines Until He Totally Didn't

As the vaccine "debate" has gained speed in the aftermath of a measles outbreak centered on Disneyland in California, reaction from the libertarian right has been fascinating. Senator Rand Paul stuttered something about vaccines needing to be voluntary and walked up to the thoroughly debunked "vaccines can cause mental disorders" line. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who isn't a libertarian but likes to pander to them, insisted that there must be an element of parental choice in whether or not kids get vaccinated from life threatening diseases. DFW's own Glenn Beck, who's really more of an anarchist than anything, stoked the anti-vaccination flames. After rehashing the thoroughly debunked link between certain vaccines and autism, he said that anti-vaxxers were subject to undue persecution.

"Where is anybody saying, 'My gosh, we're living in the days of Galileo!' The church has become the state. And if you don't practice their religion exactly the way they tell you to practice it, you're done. How many people have lost their jobs, have lost their credibility? We have got to unite. We've got to stand together," he said Tuesday on The Blaze, his TV network.

It was only a matter of time before Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who actually thinks he has a legitimate shot at being president, had to weigh in. He started off reasonably.

"We've got two little girls, we've vaccinated both our girls and would encourage people to do the same," he told Politico.

He wasn't content to leave things there though. Cruz said that some states have "appropriate" exemptions for "good faith religious convictions."

"Good faith religious convictions," along with a blend of dubious "science," were responsible for a 2013 measles outbreak centered at Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, about 90 minutes northwest of Dallas. And they're also partly to blame for the return of measles, a disease eradicated within U.S. borders in the 20th century.

See also: There's a Measles Outbreak at Vaccine-Denying Pastor Kenneth Copeland's Fort Worth Church

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young