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How the “Anti-Vaccine” Movement Threatens Us All

by Louise Kuo Habakus
© 2017 Fearless Parent

Editor’s note: This post is first in a companion series as reading background for The Truth About Vaccines.The entirety of this post is copyright protected. If you wish to share, please obtain prior written permission with details for partial use and link back for attribution. Thank you. 

Step back and take a good look. It’s a full blown, parent on parent brawl. I’m struck with an urgency that the vaccine discussion is perilously off track and acutely needs correction. The anti-vaccine controversy isn’t really about disease, public health, science, autism, or chronic illness. It’s not even about vaccines. 

It’s about the role of government in our lives

As parents face off and hurl epithets, colossal special interests are having a field day codifying a set of laws that are systematically and comprehensively taking away our fundamental rights. It’s a massive overreach. 

Will you grant government bureaucrats carte blanche to define and ultimately direct the education and welfare of your children across a broad spectrum of issues, and to allow your children to be taken away if you do not comply?

Yes, that’s exactly what this is about.

So stop saying whether you vaccinate

It doesn’t matter. And acting as if it does is a big part of the problem. Whether you choose all, some, or no vaccines, it’s way past time to quit publicly disclosing your family’s personal medical information as a badge of honor. Just because other people are asking doesn’t mean that you should do it.

There are myriad reasons that factor into each family’s decision, relating to matters that are simply no one else’s business. You shouldn’t have to explain or justify any of them. You shouldn’t open yourself to the possibility of needing to explain or justify any of them. It’s entirely feasible to have an educated and thoughtful discussion on vaccination without oversharing. In fact, it’s probably more effective that way.

For a bit of context only. Should couples with a family history of Down’s syndrome be permitted to have children? Should people reveal blood test results that provide a very early warning of Alzheimer’s? Or how about genetic markers whose expression will make you a less desirable employee, mate, or insurance risk? And so on.

This is precisely the point. If we don’t treat this critically important decision as the intensely private affair that it is, then we co-create a culture in which it’s legitimate, then appropriate, and ultimately imperative for others — bureaucrats, doctors, schools, employers, reporters, neighbors — to ask and then tell us what we must think and do. 

Discuss the topic responsibly

I’m definitely not saying we shouldn’t talk about vaccination. It’s very clear that this topic needs to be discussed a lot.

Let’s cultivate the knowledge, discipline, and mastery to talk about vaccination responsibly. This means doing the work to be in possession of the facts. Don’t exaggerate or wing it. Present the issues as someone who can stand in another’s shoes. Speak in a manner that is as calm and unemotional and even detached as possible. Don’t proselytize. And in the end, if necessary, agree to disagree.

This requires far more than just “book” learning. For many of us, it means a commitment to work on ourselves and to step away from activism as a form of therapy. Because, let’s face it, when the conversation gets tough, it’s far easier to say what we do and walk away and allow that to be the ultimate line in the sand.

It’s a deliberate distraction… it’s theater

Announcing whether you vaccinate sets the entire stage.

Parents judging parents is high drama. Parents feel sorry for those who aren’t doing their own research. Other parents, in turn, pity those who are looking for something to blame. None of us has the big picture. We are all actors, playing into a narrative. But it’s more than a narrative. It’s a play. It’s theater. And like most forms of popular entertainment, there’s a purpose.

It’s meant to distract the masses. That’s all of us, people. 

We seemingly understand our roles and deliver them with brio. But have we really thought it through?

What are the other roles?
It’s not our stage.
It’s not our script.
There are actors and directors we never see.
Who are the producers?
Do we agree with the moral of the story?

And here’s the kicker. The whole thing wouldn’t work without our participation. We aren’t just complicit. We’re indispensable. We’re on set and the cameras are rolling. We’re advancing someone else’s agenda.

It’s all enabled by the belief that we must share a private decision. 

Backdrop #1: The anti-vaccine bucket

Every single person who declares that there’s something more to vaccination than meets the eye is unceremoniously dropped into the “anti-vaccine bucket.”

The name notwithstanding, it’s a rather nice bucket. It should really be called the “Green Bucket” or the “Wellness Bucket” or, yes, the “Fearless Bucket.” It’s filled with smart, passionate people that we enjoy hanging out with and learning from. We increasingly spend our time with people in the bucket. We go to doctors in the bucket. We buy products from businesses in the bucket. We work to make the bucket bigger. We fundraise for the bucket. We’re proud that we’re in the bucket.

We become attached to the inevitability that, one day, everyone will understand the wisdom of our bucket.

Backdrop #2: The conflict

We are perplexed by people who aren’t in the bucket… the many parents with no urgency to investigate before dutifully trudging to the pediatrician with their infant, baby, toddler, child, or teenager in tow and doing as they’re told by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. How can they not explore the science that links vaccines and their ingredients to chronic, autoimmune, or neurodevelopmental disorders, which already affect half of US children

Many of these “no research” parents and their children are important to us — family, dear friends, loved ones. We venture outside the bucket to recruit and teach them. But most won’t give us the time of day here. They won’t read the books we recommend; watch the movies and docuseries we want to share; or attend the events we beg them to consider. Some threaten to take drastic measures if we don’t shut up. We’ve lost precious relationships over this issue.

It makes us sad. Maybe we get frustrated or angry. We may even feel that their unwillingness to engage in this issue is now threatening our own families’ well-being. And, hey, some of these people are, gasp, actually in the bucket but pretend they’re not. That’s not right! Silence isn’t neutrality. It’s tacit approval.

But what can we do? We can’t enter another person’s will or change her path. It’s a relief, in a way. Live and let live. No one agrees on everything. No family is an island, after all. Better to quietly take an exemption and allow the movement to grow organically. Trust the unfoldment. We go back into the bucket and do our own thing. 

Backdrop #3: The masses tune out

This is a messy debate with exceptionally high stakes involving all parents and our children plus the federal government, 50 state governments, the pharmaceutical industry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, thousands of medical doctors, and virtually all daycare centers and schools in the country.

Isn’t it odd that there is absolutely no forum for thoughtful, methodical, respectful engagement designed to raise the issues, hear the concerns, and advance the discussion?


And isn’t it odd that this acrimonious thing just won’t go away?

As a result, the topic is experienced by most people as random, chaotic, confusing, and above all, unsafe for general conversation. It’s a hodgepodge of medical protocol, old science, new science, history, media headlines, conventional wisdom, individual stories, angry accusations, fear, psychology, habit, wishful thinking, and a deep, abiding desire to carve out some certainty in an uncertain world:

Vaccine injury is exceedingly rare.

There’s been a three-fold increase in vaccine doses since 1989.

It’s genetic. Most people are vaccinated and nothing happens.

The mercury-based vaccine preservative, thimerosal, is neurotoxic.

We need herd immunity or we’ll be overrun with diseases.

There’s a chronic enterocolitis that may be related to neurodevelopmental impairment that appears after administration of the combination MMR vaccine in some children.

Some children can’t be vaccinated.

Injection of aluminum adjuvants can overcome genetic resistance to autoimmunity.

Children are a vector for disease.

There’s a risk of DNA insertion via human diploid cells in MMR, chickenpox, and Hep A vaccines.

Everyone must be vaccinated because the vaccines don’t always work.

The autism changepoint year occurred around the time of the neonatal (day-of-birth) hepatitis B shot.

It’s like mandating seat belts and bike helmets, for the greater good.

Did you know that there are GMOs in vaccines?  

And we’re just warming up. Is it any wonder that the vast majority of people tune it out? Have you ever wondered if this is by design? 

The vaccine minefield is really about the age old battle that our founding fathers understood all too well. 

Vigilance against the expanding scope of power

We’re talking about authoritarianism and privacy and hidden agendas of powerful players whose interests are not aligned with ours.

Have you thought about Edward Snowden lately? From the Snowden movie:

CIA bigwig: Most Americans don’t want freedom. They want security. It’s a simple bargain… you pay the price of admission… Where’s the modern battlefield, soldier? [Everywhere.] What’s the first rule of battle? [Never reveal your position.] And if one unauthorized person knew? [If Congress knows, so would the enemy.] That, Mr. Snowden, is the state of the world. Secrecy is security. And security is victory.

Snowden: The people being able to question the government and hold it accountable, that’s the principle the United States of America was founded on… And when those in power try to hide by classifying everything, we will call them out on it. And when they try to scare us into sacrificing our basic human rights, we won’t be intimidated and we won’t give up. We will not be silenced.

There’s a reason that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written foremost as a call for vigilance against the expanding scope of government power and to protect individual rights.

Do we want government taking away our basic rights and messing in our personal and family matters? Should the state be allowed to judge our religious beliefs, constrain our exercise of conscience, and evaluate and override our parenting? Will we be so easily cowed and distracted, and give away the farm?

Stay tuned for the second in our series — How to Eliminate Parental Rights in Three Acts.



  • Stacee

    Wow..nailed it..

  • Michael Croutch via Facebook

    Thank you!!!!

  • Sue Torresson Gazzara via Facebook

    I’d put Anti-Vaccine in quotes.

  • Fani Pierson via Facebook

    Good article but yes headline is deceiving !

  • Stewart Cambridge via Facebook

    Interesting choice of headline

  • Louise Kuo Habakus

    We chose the title by design to make an important point. Anti-vaccine is not what we call ourselves. It’s a construct created by interests that are anti-parent. Personally, I’m pro-health freedom; pro-informed consent; and pro-parental, religious, human, individual, civil rights.

    So, I agree. This whole “anti-vaccine movement” does indeed threaten us all. It’s a massive distraction designed to deflect the true nature of the debate.

  • Ri Siliin via Facebook

    you rock As always !!

  • Alice

    This week in the Ontario legislature, member after member stood up to praise a section of Bill 87 which seeks to mandate vaccine propaganda sessions before parents can obtain legal religious or philosophical exemptions from vaccines for their school age child – when the right to refuse is enshrined within the existing immunization law. One MPP for Ottawa-Vanier, said the bill was important “to prevent parents from exercising the right to object to vaccination”. However, this is a right protected by Canadian constitution as well as the UNESCO declaration on bioethics and human rights. It is appalling that our highly educated and highly paid lawmakers do not even know they can’t legally prevent any citizen from refusing vaccines – that their own oath of office as well as the Act of Parliament from which they derive their authority – requires them to protect those rights and uphold the law.

  • Ellen

    This makes more sense than any other article on this subject, ever. Ever. Thank you x

  • Aimee Villella McBride via Facebook

    Thank you Louise Kuo Habakus for speaking to my mind & my heart in this piece! If you are pro-health freedom, pro-informed consent, and pro-parental, religious, human, individual, civil rights….pls take the time to read this.

  • Neesa Moloney via Facebook

    Yep. Excellent points.

  • Marcus Jasco via Facebook

    Excellent article..

  • April McDo via Facebook

    I also like the title Anti-Vaccine-HARM!

  • Mike Greenberg via Facebook

    Why is it either or? Why can’t it be vaccines after a baby’s immune system & nervous system has a chance to develop, plus one vaccine at a time without mercury, aluminum, & formaldehyde?

    • Maya Rajan via Facebook

      Just curious how you gathered from this article that’s it either or? I felt like the only point was you should have a choice and that right should be protected.

  • Felicia Kruger via Facebook

    Excellent read. So thankful to have found Fearless Parent. I’m working hard to get the word out about SB18 here in California. It must be stopped. Hopefully the senator’s vote hasn’t already been bought and paid for.

  • Brittany Faith via Facebook

    The headline could be better. The article contains good information and points though.

  • Melanie Murray via Facebook

    Wow great article, and what I always said about the sb277 baloney in ca, it’s not about vaccines it’s about control and teaching people to accept the state controlling you. Most people seem happy to hand the reins over.

  • Nikki Stanio via Facebook

    Thank you for what you do Louise Kuo Habakus. You’re a true hero of the people. I love reading your work. So eloquent as always.

  • Jackie Fisch Flynn via Facebook

    Great commentary:)

  • Isabelle Menozzi via Facebook

    Thank you Louise Kuo Habakus for speaking to my mind & my heart in this piece! If you are pro-health freedom, pro-informed consent, and pro-parental, religious, human, individual, civil rights….pls take the time to read this.

  • Cassandra Lanni via Facebook

    ?? perfect.

  • Anonymous

    So intelligently and articulately written. Quite refreshing!!

  • Cindy

    Brilliant article Louise! We all need to stand up for our rights. All individual rights matter. Many are waking up. The watched pot just may start to boil.

  • Anne Schnedl

    May I re-blog this (with attribution and back link)?

  • jayne

    I don’t want to be labeled anti-vaccine or anti-anything. I am and want to be labeled and viewed as pro-choice and vaccine-educated.

    • Louise Kuo Habakus

      Amen to that! Parents stake out the affirmative territory. We are for healthy children who grow up to be healthy, productive citizens and contribute to the creation of a healthy, vibrant society.

  • Iris

    The title is VERY confusing. As other readers commented, I almost didn’t read it because it appears to be pro-vaccine. Good points and glad I read it however, it’s just my opinion that it seems you’re losing a lot of potential eyes on such an important topic, losing a lot of readers due to a confusing, if not completely misleading article title.

  • Louise Kuo Habakus

    Thanks for your feedback, all. We added quotation marks to “Anti-Vaccine.”

  • Kate McAuliffe

    This is a great piece, really refreshing to realize how simple our position should be. I always want to get into the nitty gritty with people why I feel vaccines shouldn’t be mandatory. It really comes down to our right as parents to make the best decisions for our families! Thanks for bringing to light the importance of how “we” put our ideas/opinions on the matter out there!

  • Christine Holmberg

    Perfectly stated… thank you for always sharing your extremely well written pieces to educate us all!

  • Alex

    Agree with the article.. And I am not anti-vaccine – I’m pro-medical choice and pro-parental rights.

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