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"WWL News" featured Pace Law Professor Linda Fentiman in "What does the law around vaccines and vaccine exemptions say? Pt. 2"

06/06/2019

"WWL News" featured Pace Law Professor Linda Fentiman in "What does the law around vaccines and vaccine exemptions say? Pt. 2"

Tommy talks with Linda Fentiman, Professor of Law at Pace University, author of Blaming Mothers: American Law and the Risks to Children's Health.

Listen to the interview.

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"Money" featured Pace Law Professor Linda Fentiman in "Rich People Are Leading the Anti-Vaccine Movement — and Experts Have a Theory Why"

04/17/2019

"Money" featured Pace Law Professor Linda Fentiman in "Rich People Are Leading the Anti-Vaccine Movement — and Experts Have a Theory Why"

“Vaccine hesitancy,” the term given to parents reluctant to immunize their kids from measles or mumps or any of the other 18th century diseases spreading through 21st century immune systems, is wreaking global havoc.

In 2018, Europe had 60,000 documented measles cases — a 20-year high experts put squarely on the shoulders of anti-vaccine skeptics, the Guardian reports. Here in the U.S., massive measles outbreaks in Washington and New York have led officials in both places to declare a state of emergency — 60 new cases were reported in New York City in the week of April 1 alone.

All this despite overwhelming evidence that vaccines are not just safe, but critical to a healthy, functioning society. And the bulk of the naysayers, research shows, is a group of people fully equipped to know better. 

Disease experts say the parents least likely to vaccinate their kids live in some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country. They’re well-educated, and have exceptional access to healthcare. And while some pockets of low-income communities of color are “under vaccinated” for religious or financial reasons, studies published in places like the American Journal of Public Health show that the parents opting out for “philosophical reasons” are mostly white and mostly wealthy.

“Helicopter parenting” is partially to blame, says Linda Fentiman, a Pace law professor who specializes in health law and vaccine exemption.

Parents who opt out of vaccines tend to “believe, simply, that they can make the scientific determinations about the efficacy and dangers of vaccines for themselves,” she says.

They have more free time on their hands than lower income parents — time that can be spent pouring over anti-vaccine forums and websites, and applying for state-specific exemptions required to bypass school immunization laws.

And they believe what they’re reading: That vaccines cause autism, or contain harmful toxins; claims have been thoroughly debunked.

To be fair, there’s a lot of effort that goes into making them think otherwise.

Anti-vax theories don’t live and die in Reddit threads — these are mainstream movements bolstered by powerful nonprofits. So even as Facebook and Pinterest crack down on posts from vaccine skeptics, charities like the National Vaccine Information Center, famous for erecting anti-vaccine billboards in Times Square, are still leading the conversation.

On the grassroots level, independent vaccine skeptics like Larry Cook have raised tens of thousands dollars on GoFundMe, and use at least some of those funds to pay for Facebook ads targeting new moms, the Daily Beast reports (like other social platforms, GoFundMe recently announced it would remove all anti-vax campaigns on its site).

Read the full article.

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"Elle Magazine" featured Pace University's Haub Law School Professor Linda Fentiman in "The Rise of the Mom-Shaming Resistance"

03/27/2019

"Elle Magazine" featured Pace University's Haub Law School Professor Linda Fentiman in "The Rise of the Mom-Shaming Resistance"

Mom-shaming has been around for decades, if not centuries. “There have been different variations of it at different times,” says Virginia Rutter, a sociology professor at Framingham State University. “In the 1970s, when I went to kindergarten, my mother went to work, and her mother-in-law, my grandmother, went nuts about how delinquent her children were going to be,” she says. Rutter, referencing the work of historian Stephanie Coontz, traces the issue back to the Industrial Revolution, when shifting family structures left women responsible for “the unpaid work of economic reproduction,” by which she means having children and creating a home, not to mention “making capitalism look sweet, look comfy, look intimate.” Whenever this wasn’t possible, she continues, the response was to shame women rather than critique the system.

“Blaming the mother has long historical roots,” says Linda Fentiman, a law professor at Pace University. “Even in [court] cases about [a child’s] lead poisoning, where it’s clear it’s the landlords and manufacturers of lead paint who are responsible, a defense strategy is to trash the mother—to say she has a poor IQ and she isn’t a good parent. And often the jury will accept that.”

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Pace University law professor and mental disability law expert Linda Fentiman is featured in "Politifact" speaking about laws involving mentally ill people and guns

02/26/2018

Pace University law professor and mental disability law expert Linda Fentiman is featured in "Politifact" speaking about laws involving mentally ill people and guns

Politifact: "After Parkland, Paul Ryan cites law on mentally ill and guns, but it has limited reach"

By Tom Kertscher

From "Politifact:"

Problems with the law

The federal law is both overinclusive and underinclusive, experts told us.

Many mentally ill people who are covered by the federal law prohibiting them from having a gun do not pose a danger to others, said Pace University law professor and mental disability law expert Linda Fentiman.

At the same time, she said, the law does not cover people who could pose more danger -- such as some schizophrenics who are also substance abusers and have committed violent acts -- if they haven’t been adjudicated or committed.

Indeed, many people with more serious conditions go undiagnosed or do not get treatment, much less end up in a legal proceeding over their illness.

Fentiman’s points were also made in a law journal article by a New York University law professor and gun law expert James Jacobs, which says:

Undoubtedly, court proceedings are never initiated for the majority of dangerously mentally ill individuals … Likewise, a significant percentage of those adjudicated mentally defective or civilly committed are not actually dangerous.

Read the full article.