The majority of the hosts of the Fox News television show Outnumbered on Monday responded to the growing measles outbreak by agreeing that parents should have the right to refuse to vaccinate their children.
Over the weekend, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) said that "a large, ongoing multi-state outbreak" of measles had been linked to cases that were reported in Disneyland in December. An advisory late last month noted that the measles had been declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, but a growing anti-vaccination movement had contributed to 644 cases last year, the most in a decade.
While discussing the latest outbreak on Monday, Fox News host Kennedy Montgomery said that she despised both "irrational progressives who don't vaccinate their children" and "government bureaucrats who tend to over blow some of these public health crises."
"Sure, it may be a parents choice whether or not they vaccinate a child, the problem is, when you get my child sick, it's not just your problem or your choice," Montgomery asserted.
But Kennedy was the only Fox News host on the panel who felt so strongly about vaccinations.
"I refuse to judge on either side," co-host Harris Faulkner declared. "Because how you choose to love, how I choose to love, we all love our kids. Our choices are different."
Faulkner pointed to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) call for "balance" in allowing parents to decide which immunizations are less important.
Co-host Andrea Tantaros agreed that it was a "tough" issue, but she was more concerned about the now-debunked links between vaccines and autism.
"There is a lot of controversy especially with those vaccinations when it comes to newborn babies," Tantaros opined. "And not just about measles. I know, personally, I had a brother who was autistic, and there is a belief among many that it's not the actual vaccinations that cause autism, it's the proximity of the vaccinations, that their teeny-tiny little immune systems can't handle those vaccinations so soon after the other."
"So, I am sensitive to every parent's concern," she added. "I do think it's a public health issue. I am sensitive though also to the people -- maybe for religious reasons or other reasons -- who have these beliefs. And I wouldn't want to trample on them."
Retired four-star General Jack Keane, however, pointed out that the measles was not a problem in the military because vaccines were mandatory.
"We even mandate a flu shot, much less measles," he explained. "And if you don't have the measles vaccination, we're going to give it to you. Because our Army would fall apart if we had infectious diseases."
Fox News host Jedidiah Bila said that she understood that parents were worried about their children becoming infected at school.
"But I'm very worried about a government that can start telling you, regular citizens, that you have to get a flu shot, that you have to do this, or you have to get 35 vaccines before they hit 36 months," Bila remarked. "That concerns me. And what comes next?"