What happens when a kid raised by "all-natural" parents wants to make a different choice?
"My mom is a very stereotypical all-natural person, and she doesn't want chemicals being put into my body," says "Ester," a 16-year-old sophomore who spoke to me from a hiding place in her bedroom closet. "I used to share all those beliefs. But with things like vaccines, you have to look at the evidence—and when I looked at the evidence, I changed my mind. I want to get vaccinated."
Ester, who asked that her real name not be used, isn't alone. In recent months, dozens of teenagers have come forward online and in the media to demand the right to get vaccinated without their parents' permission. Perhaps ironically, they use the same rhetorical appeals to self-ownership as their parents, and they raise interesting challenges to a movement that claims to champion choice. As Stacy Methvin, an activist with Texans for Vaccine Choice, a group that defends people's right not to vaccinate their children, puts it: "We, as humans, have the right to choose what to do with our bodies."