Bachmann and the HPV Vaccine by Cindy Cross
Michele Bachmann started a huge controversy Monday during the Tea Party/GOP debate with her comments about the HPV vaccine for girls.
Bachmann aimed her comments at Rick Perry, who as governor of Texas issued an executive order to make the HPV vaccine mandatory in all public schools in 2007. Bachmann stated during the debate, ""I'm a mom. And I'm a mom of three children. And to have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong. That should never be done. It's a violation of a liberty interest."
Also at issue was whether Perry's motivation for the vaccines was for noble or financial reasons. Bachmann threw at Perry the fact that the manufacturer of the vaccine, Gardasil, was a contributor to Perry's campaign. To Bachmann's allegations, Perry retorted, "The company was Merck, and it was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them. I raise about $30 million. And if you're saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended."
Bachmann also claimed that a woman approached her after the debate and claimed that her daughter suffered from mental retardation as a result of the Gardasil vaccine.
To publicly make such bold accusations without medical backing is irresponsible at best. I would rank Bachmann's comments right up there with yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater. She is placing women's health in danger since many of her backers will undoubtedly believe her foolish comments.
The medical community, including the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and many other medical organizations, all agree that the HPV vaccine is safe and effective.
According to Dr. Kenneth Alexander, a pediatric infectious disease expert, the HPV vaccination would prevent 70% of the 12,000 cases of cervical cancer in the U.S.
Bachmann needs to offer a public apology and encourage young girls to get the vaccination to avoid cervical cancer. It's disturbing to think that Bachmann's motivation may be the small minded view that the vaccine might encourage girls to agree to pre-marital sex.
Public apology or not, the damage has been done. As of Monday, many will not allow their daughters to get the HPV vaccination and thereby putting their children at risk for cervical cancer later in life.
Thank goodness we already have laws on the books that make it mandatory to wear seatbelts while driving. I would hate for Bachmann to spew venom at the evil government for dictating how we drive.