That’s all it took for everything to change for Michele Bachmann.
During an interview after the recent Republican debate in Florida, Bachmann shared a story (which I’m sure you’ve heard 100 times by now) about a woman who told her that her daughter suffered from “mental retardation” after getting
Gardasil HPV vaccine.
I’m guessing Bachmann probably thought that when people found out the vaccine Rick Perry tried to force on innocent school girls causes mental retardation, everyone would see him as a monster.
So I’m also guessing that Bachmann is mystified that her attack completely backfired.
Why is SHE on the defensive while some see Perry as a guy who just wanted to save the lives of women?
Two words: “mental retardation.”
That phrase is just WAY too close to the word “autism.” And if you even THINK the word autism while discussing vaccines, the pro-vaccine mainstream will come after you tooth and claw.
Brace yourself, Michele. It’s going to get ugly.
Not exactly on point
However you feel about Michele Bachmann’s politics, you have to admit that she can be a little sketchy on details. Like the time she started a campaign speech by wishing Elvis Presley a happy birthday on the anniversary of his death. Or the time she insisted that not a single study has shown carbon dioxide to be a harmful gas.
These are innocent mistakes. So when a woman approached Bachmann to tell her about her daughter’s Gardasil side effect…did the woman misspeak? Or did Bachmann get it wrong?
Maybe the woman said her daughter suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) — a neurological disorder which a 2009 study found to be a potential side effect of the Gardasil vaccine.
Or maybe her daughter experienced loss of motor movement, or inability to stand or walk. These conditions have all been reported to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) following Gardasil vaccinations.
So maybe — I’m just guessing now — maybe Bachmann decided to simplify the girl’s condition into something dramatic everyone could understand: mental retardation.
Uh oh…bad choice.
Unfortunately for Bachmann, mental retardation is mostly linked to birth defects. Mercury exposure is a known cause, but Gardasil doesn’t contain mercury.
Also unfortunate for Bachmann: There are a LOT of people out there who do not want to hear ONE WORD of negativity about vaccines. And it seems Bachmann woke them all up! Pediatricians, medical organizations, pundits, even Rush Limbaugh (on the extreme right) and Mother Jones magazine (on the extreme left) came down on her, howling like they’d all been personally slandered.
Within hours, Bachmann was backpedalling. On Sean Hannity’s radio show she said she was just reporting what the woman had told her, adding that she had “no idea” if Gardasil causes mental retardation.
If Michele could get a do-over…
The real shame here is that Bachmann isn’t well-informed on Gardasil. Because here’s what she COULD have said to save face…
“The CDC says Gardasil is safe. And it’s true that it’s been given to millions of young girls and boys who have had no adverse reactions. But you’re living with your head in the sand if you ignore the dreadful VAERS record.
“Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the medical mainstream is doing.
“Medical mainstreamers point to a ‘lack of evidence’ to dismiss the adverse events reported in VAERS. They know that nobody is going to conduct the kind of thorough medical investigations that would be required to produce scientific evidence.
“Meanwhile, there are thousands of young girls who were healthy before receiving the Gardasil vaccine, then became gravely ill following their vaccinations. Some have permanent debilitating conditions. Nearly 70 of them have died.
“Their reactions range from dizziness, to seizures, paralysis, loss of consciousness, vision loss, delusions, ruptured ovarian cysts, enlarged liver, muscle pain, heart arrhythmia, lupus, Bell’s Palsy, kidney impairment, migraine — the list of horrors literally goes on and on.
“Now some might make a case that all that suffering among a few thousand would be worth it for a vaccine that prevents cervical cancer among a few million. But I adamantly believe that the suffering is NOT at all acceptable for a vaccine that ONLY protects against some of the HPV strains that cause cervical cancer.
“Consider this quote from Diane Harper, M.D.: ‘Even if everyone was vaccinated, we would still have cervical cancer. I don’t want people to be lulled into thinking this will prevent cancer.’
“That quote is significant because Dr. Harper was one of the principal Merck investigators in the initial Gardasil trials.
“Other than sexual abstinence, the ONLY best way to prevent cervical cancer is with regular HPV screening. HPV is easily detected and treated when women have Pap tests during annual gynecological exams. Adding the HPV Test offers even greater assurance that the virus will be caught early.
“Put all that together, and THAT is why Gov. Perry was completely irresponsible in trying to make the vaccine mandatory for young girls.
“I’m not anti-vaccine, but I’m going to need to see years of evidence proving safety and efficacy before I would ever consider recommending Gardasil to my family, friends, or constituents.”
Ah, Michele…now don’t you wish YOU had said that?
“HPV Vaccine Adverse Events Worrisome Says Key Investigator” Allison Gandey, Medscape Medical News, 7/26/08, medscape.com