The XX Factor

Carly Fiorina Comes Out in Favor of Kids Getting Measles

Carly Fiorina during the first Republican presidential debate.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

At a town hall today in Alden, Iowa, former Hewlett-Packard CEO, onetime California Senate candidate, and Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina stated that all Americans should have the right to contract diseases from unvaccinated children.

According to Jenna Johnson in the Washington Post, Fiorina received a question from a mother of five who said vaccines went against her religious beliefs because they were manufactured from cells of “aborted babies.” Fiorina responded, “When in doubt, it’s always the parent’s choice,” meaning that all parents should decide for themselves if their unvaccinated child should have the opportunity to transmit a disease to an infant, elderly person, or otherwise immunosuppressed person. “We must protect religious liberty,” she added.


Fiorina disclosed that her own daughter had been “bullied” by a school nurse to protect her preteen daughter from cervical cancer by administering the HPV vaccine.


“When you have highly communicable diseases where you have a vaccine that’s proven, like measles or mumps, then I think a parent can make that choice,” Fiorina continued, supporting parental discretion in determining whether or not unvaccinated children should be free to spread diseases throughout their community.

Update, 8:02 a.m., August 14, 2015: Fiorina’s campaign has asked us to include the rest of Fiorina’s quotation, as follows: “—but then I think a school district is well within their rights to say: ‘I’m sorry, your child cannot then attend public school.’ So a parent has to make that trade-off.” Unvaccinated children are presumably free in this scenario to pursue opportunities to spread measles and mumps in all other locations that are not public schools. Fiorina does not think that public schools should be able to make such judgment calls when it comes to “more esoteric immunizations.”

Fiorina is on record as opposing California’s school vaccination law, which requires all children in public or private school or day care to be vaccinated against a host of diseases, with no exceptions for religious or personal beliefs. “California is wrong on most everything, honestly,” Fiorina said. “I’m not at all surprised that they made that mistake as well.” Fiorina remains hopeful that the state will eventually revoke children’s right not to get measles.