In Post-Debate Comments, Michele Bachmann Overreaches in Attack on Rick Perry; Links HPV Vaccine to “Mental Retardation” – Video 9/12/11

Good grief.

In their rush to try and stop Gov. Rick Perry’s momentum in the polls, some of his GOP opponents are going off the rails in attacking his decision in 2007 to issue an Executive Order calling for young girls to receive the HPV vaccine, which can help to greatly reduce their risk of cervical cancer, often caused by several strains of the HPV virus. Perry admits he should have gone through the legislative process and spent time bringing the public along as to the need for the vaccine. What’s more, the policy NEVER WENT INTO EFFECT! Not a single girl was vaccinated, and no shots were given as a result of Perry’s Executive Order!

But Michele Bachmann, after the debate last night in which she repeatedly attacked Perry on the issue, went on Greta Van Susteren and took the attack to the next level, linking the vaccine to causing “mental retardation.” She did it on the basis of a woman in the debate audience who she says came up to her to say her daughter “suffered mental retardation” as a result of the vaccine. So, now, the attack is becoming an attack on vaccines in general?

Ed Morrissey does a great job taking apart Bachmann’s over-the-top attack in linking the vaccine to “mental retardation”:

HOT AIR: . . . . Huh? “Mental retardation” typically takes place in a pre- or neo-natal event. Autism becomes apparent in the first couple of years of life — and primarily affects boys. Gardasil vaccinations take place among girls between 9-12 years of age. Even assuming that this anecdote is arguably true, it wouldn’t be either “mental retardation” or autism, but brain damage.

The FDA has received no reports of brain damage as a result of HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix. Among the reports that correlate seriously adverse reactions to either, the FDA lists blood clots, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and 68 deaths during the entire run of the drugs. The FDA found no causal connection to any of these serious adverse events and found plenty of contributing factors to all — and all of the events are exceedingly rare.

The “mental retardation” argument is a rehash of the thoroughly discredited notion that vaccines containing thimerasol caused a rapid increase in diagnosed autism cases. That started with a badly-botched report in Lancet that allowed one researcher to manipulate a ridiculously small sample of twelve cases in order to reach far-sweeping conclusions about thimerasol. That preservative hasn’t been included in vaccines for years, at least not in the US, and the rate of autism diagnoses remain unchanged.

The most charitable analysis that can be offered in this case for Bachmann is that she got duped into repeating a vaccine-scare urban legend on national television. It looks more like Bachmann sensed that she had won a point and wanted to go in for the kill, didn’t bother to check the facts, and didn’t care that she was stoking an anti-vaccination paranoid conspiracy theory, either. Neither shines a particularly favorable light on Bachmann. . . . Read More


Michele Bachmann: Embracing The Lefty Anti-Vaccy Crazy?

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