I guess this is the sort of question that everyone is asking these days. Yesterday I received a flyer in the mail advertising a seminar for estate planning professionals on how to advise their clients in light of the incoming administration. Of particular interest to my readers is how the Obama presidency will impact home schoolers and "mandatory" immunization programs. (If you have any input or links regarding midwifery, homebirth, or breastfeeding, please feel free to post in the comments; however, they tend to be state issues and I haven't heard any buzz about these topics).
Homeschooling - The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) recently sent out an e-lert on the subject of what to expect under an Obama administration. It states, "Despite HSLDA's efforts prior to the election to get an official statement from the Obama campaign regarding their position on homeschooling, we received no response." It goes on to mention the Democratic Party's support of the National Education Association (NEA) and public education in general, but asserts that the Federal government has no constitutional authority over home education. Of greater concern, perhaps, is the possibility that the United States under Obama will ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a move which HSLDA opposes.
The blogger at Obama States of America has done quite a bit of research. Rational Jenn critiques the HSLDA position. And then there are Homeschoolers for Obama ("because there is no such thing as 'the homeschool vote'").
Vaccinations - Before the election, Autism activist Becky Estepp contacted the Obama and McCain campaigns regarding the candidates' positions on the issue of vaccine safety. The McCain campaign responded with a statement that "John McCain believes in the right for individuals and in the case of children, parents, to make informed health care decisions, and does not support pre-empting these prerogatives." Obama, however, responded only with a general letter about autism which did not address the issue of vaccine safety or parental choice. However, according to New Jersey mom Claudine Liss who asked Obama point-blank about his stance, Obama replied, "I am not for selective vaccination. I believe it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio." More details are available from Age of Autism (McCain Addresses Vaccine Safety, Obama Silent, McCain Senior Policy Advisor Responds To Autism Questionnaire, and McCain or Obama: Who Will Reform Vaccine Safety?); Inside Autism (The autism election and McCain supports vaccine choice) and the Oct. 23, 2008 press release.
While the issue of mandatory immunizations and exemptions are currently a matter of state law, the federal government does have a role to play in funding vaccine safety research, enacting legislation exempting vaccine manufacturers from tort liability, the availability of military exemptions, and so forth. In addition, there are Constitutional issues involved in religious exemptions (the Equal Protection clause) and the reach of state vaccination requirements, for example to private schools which do not receive government funding, which could be decided by presidentially-appointed federal judges.
For my part, just because we have elected a president who does not appear to share my views on issues that I am passionate about (namely, the right of citizens to make healthcare and educational decisions on behalf of themselves and their children without government interference) does not mean that The End is upon us. Of course, we must be eternaly vigilant in guarding our precious rights and liberties. Fortunately - in this case at least - government is a slow-moving beast, and I have come to the conclusion that one man cannot screw things up so bad that we cannot get it fixed four or even two years from now.