Parents whose children have been taken from them by Child Protective Services often tell us that the system is backwards. Instead of being presumed innocent until proven guilty, everyone involved with CPS assumes guilt, even in the face of no evidence of guilt. Some jurisdictions are taking this presumption of guilt without evidence a frightening step further: they are using "predictive analytics" to see which parents MIGHT abuse or neglect their children in the future. In several cases reported to Health Impact News, we have already seen such allegations used against parents. Social workers have literally written in their reports to the courts that a parent has characteristics that might indicate that they may abuse or neglect their child in the future, even though there is no evidence that they have harmed their child in the past. This is reminiscent of George Orwell's "thought police" in the dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is inconsistent with one of the foundational principles underlying the U.S. Constitution, that of the presumption of innocence. Some have equated the predictive analysis model with racial profiling, because the algorithms tend to disproportionately target people who are poor or part of a minority group. The National Coalition for Child Protection Reform recently addressed this alarming trend.
The Vaccine Culture War is heating up. In America, professors and doctors in academia and government are profiling parents by class and race to shame and discredit those challenging vaccine orthodoxy. “When it comes to vaccines, rich parents get away with child neglect,” the headline in the Washington Post proclaimed on May 10, 2017. The OpEd was written by a Pace University law professor promoting criminal prosecution of mothers whose children are not vaccinated. She suggested that all mothers who don’t vaccinate their children are criminals and should be punished - “regardless of socioeconomic status” – because vaccination is a “collective obligation.” In 2013, the flames of prejudice were fanned by an online publication profiling parents in a San Francisco community and labeling them “vaccine deniers.” The parents were described as “wealthy, educated, liberal leaning” and often working in “technology, law and other white collar professions that demand critical thinking skills,” who put their children at risk by feeding them non-GMO organic food, taking them to holistic doctors, and paying $20,000 a year to send them to private schools where self-reliance, independence and critical thinking are taught. Professors at major universities suggested the government should impose a tax on unvaccinated people, suspend free speech about vaccination, and deny elected representatives public office and strip doctors of their medical licenses if they talk bad about vaccines. A USA Today OpEd stated flatly: “Parents who do not vaccinate their children should go to jail.”