Addressing The Demonstrable Effects of Anti-Vax FEAR* Speech With Mandated Public- Health Education and Government Speech (*False, Endangering and Reckless)

58 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2020

See all articles by Barbara Pfeffer Billauer

Barbara Pfeffer Billauer

Institute of World Politics; International Program in Bioethics, U. of Porto; Foundation for Law and Science Centers, Inc.

Date Written: September 24, 2020

Abstract

The 2018-2019 measles epidemic was the worst the world has seen in 30 years, manifesting in increased morbidity, mortality, hospitalizations, and public health expenditures. Public Health officials and legal scholars attribute the rise to the emergence of organized and well-funded anti-vax groups, who disseminate false, endangering, and reckless “propaganda” (what I call FEAR speech) with the objective of fostering vaccine resistance. We are on track for similar resistance should a CoVid vaccine become a reality. To date, quantitative demonstration of cause and effect data is wanting. This research fills that gap, the first such research to do so via a systematic methodology. Using a novel approach, I explore the role of anti-vax groups in five localities, comparing recent measles epidemics with earlier epidemics in the same localities, also establishing that pamphleteering and conferences/symposia have been the most effective dissemination means for targeting insular communities.

After evaluating several proposals to deal with the threat presented by these groups, including imposing tort liability and counter-speech, and concluding they are or will be ineffective, I propose a novel means of redress. After first determining that government speech would be be a viable approach, I advocate mandated educational curricula under this umbrella, targeted at the high school level and include a sample lesson plan outline.

Keywords: measles, anti-vax, anti-vaxxer, first amendment, government speech, epidemic, outbreak, public health, law, vaccine resistance, ecological study, outbreak

JEL Classification: I12, I14, I18, K32, K36, I28, K29, K32, K42

Suggested Citation

Billauer, Barbara P., Addressing The Demonstrable Effects of Anti-Vax FEAR* Speech With Mandated Public- Health Education and Government Speech (*False, Endangering and Reckless) (September 24, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3698586 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3698586

Barbara P. Billauer (Contact Author)

Institute of World Politics ( email )

1521 16th St NW,
Washington, DC
United States
+1 202-462-2101 (Phone)

International Program in Bioethics, U. of Porto ( email )

Rua Dr. Roberto Frias
4200-464 Porto
Portugal

Foundation for Law and Science Centers, Inc. ( email )

1020 16th Street NW
Suite LL1
Washington, DC 20036
United States
972 54 344 6055 (Phone)

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