Bioethics Professors Challenge Bachmann's HPV Claims

Friday, September 16, 2011

Minnesota Congresswoman and presidential contender Michele Bachmann continues to draw criticism, after making remarks this week that the HPV vaccine is dangerous for young girls. Speaking with Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today Show," Bachmann said that a woman on Florida told her that her daughter had received the vaccine, and "suffered from mental retardation after." Public health advocates are encouraging Bachmann to provide proof of this story. And two bioethics professors have upped the ante, offering to pay more than $10,000 for medical records that prove the anecdote is true.

Art Caplan is a bioethics professor at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the professors offering Bachmann money for proof of her claims.

Comments [12]

Lowell Landowski from Sacramento

Caplin blames coporations and Big Macs more than parenta for 0bese kids, a typical liberal.

"Is Child Obesity A Form of Child Abuse?

As Art Caplan states in his most recent MSNBC column, childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Whether the result of the food industry, food marketing to children, or lifestyle choices, children (as well as their parents) are getting fat at an alarming rate.

But who is responsible for this tidal wave of obese children, really? It's hard not to claim that parents, who are the providers of sustenance and the environment in which children learn about healthy (or unhealthy) eating, hold some of the responsibility for overweight and obese children. But when does that responsibility or the abdication of it cross over into true child abuse? Can there ever be justification for removing a child from his/her parents because he/she is obese?

Caplan clearly argues that the answers to these questions are "No." But clearly in many states the jury is still out--and in some the verdict is in. Overweight and obesity can be a basis in many states for custody changes.

So where do you stand on this debate? To learn more, read Caplan's article here and decide for yourself.

Summer Johnson McGee, PhD"

Sep. 17 2011 07:23 PM

Some women have been led to think that it is better to risk "slightly-possible illness" by medical procedures such as a mammogram rather than risk "not knowing" if cancer would happen by itself. This is what the medical establishment and certain politicians whom somehow have ties with the medical establishment have taught the public to believe, and that if a little preventative medicine is good, overdosing on it is better.

The legal requirement for parents to have their female children vaccinated is not about female empowerment, and if it is to certain people, it is a misplaced idea. The hysteria over a female's inherent succeptibility to cancer, is making for a world in which merely being female is considered to be a medical crisis and a disease.

This also may be a bit off topic, but I can't help but say that with several "Susan G Komen" and/ or "Women against cancer" events scheduled to take place in New York City for the fall season, most women should not be brainwashed by the "Pink Campeign." Sure, much of it is well meant and people have experienced their own health problems, or loss because someone they know has died of cancer as with the case of Susan G Komen, but we must not be blind to the huge profit-making, medical-establishment-benefitting, actually-mysogynic, exploitative, bandwagon that these events have become.

Many of us would do well not to buy "pink products" or wear pink , or in any other way, blindly and without strong evidence of it's worthwhileness, support the establishment that only profits as long as a cure for cancer is not found.

Sep. 17 2011 06:22 PM

The fact that Ms Bachmann is a disliked politician and disliked person should not be basis for being against what she says. I can agree that there is sometimes hysteria and fearmongering about vaccines causing autism, but the other side of the coin is that the pharmaceutical companies that make vaccines (and this at least definately goes for the makers of this so called "Gardasil") are also somehow useing fearmongering tactics to play on the public's fears of cancer so as to get people to submit immediately and unquestionably to "doctor's orders" to make certain vaccines a rite of passage.
The chances of females getting cervical cancer are practically said to be (by certain medical "experts" or "profesionals") spontaneous and eventual . There are overstatements about women's automatic succeptibility to cancers so that a lot of emotionally-vulnerable women and people in general , are made to believe that it is better to be exposed to radiation by way of mammograms because they think that it is a "prevention" when the mammogram itself often causes the affliction, and then it is a matter of self-fufilled prophecy. You might hear women speaking on those "Walk/Run/Bike (etc) For The Cure" events proclaiming how they found lumps on their bodies and were rescued by some kind of radiation treatment or other medical method. The fact is that there naturally is no statistical data kept about how any lump found on the body had never been cancerous but the medical evaluations and/or treatments that were meant to investigate and/or cure the condition were what made the benign lump cancerous.

Prostate Specific Antigen tests for men and pap smears for women both have significant if not very-high likelihood of false positive results for cancer or illness and the consequent treatment or evaluations are what result in complications.

Yet most doctors and health-care professionals emphasize yearly or other "regular" medical tests that involve invasiveness, exposure to radiation or other needless procedures either because they are motivated by making money, or because they have been brainwashed to believe that everybody should have certain tests done regardless of individual risk factors.

Sep. 17 2011 06:22 PM
toanangel from where would you like me to be

To accept their claims as verifiable evidence is not wise, no authority from the single minded allopathic, so called scientific, particularly the FDA, CDC, WHO, or ANY manufacturers are going to admit culpability.

"In the USA the vaccination lobby has made the US Government shoulder the vaccine manufacturers liabilities.

The strong association between vaccination with RRV-TV and intussusception among otherwise healthy infants supports the existence of a causal relation. -- Intussusception among infants given an oral rotavirus vaccine., Murphy TV, et al. Epidemiology and Surveillance Division, National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, N Engl J Med. 2001 Feb 22;344(8):564-72.

‎"When I was training, one in 2,500 [children were autistic]. Now it is one in 250. At the moment, the only logical explanation for this is MMR." -- Dr Kenneth Aitken, British specialist in the treatment of autism. (The Telegraph, United Kingdom, April 2, 2002)

"By the (U.S.) government's own admission, there has been a 41% failure rate in persons who were previously vaccinated against the (measles) virus." -- Dr. Anthony Morris, John Chriss, BG Young, "Occurrence of Measles in Previously Vaccinated Individuals," 1979; presented at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology at Fort Detrick, Maryland, April 27, 1979.

"There is no evidence that any influenza vaccine thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza. The producers of these vaccines know that they are worthless, but they go on selling them, anyway." -- Dr. J. Anthony Morris (formerly Chief Vaccine Control Officer at the US Federal Drug Admin.)

A vast number of children who were injected with a killed measles vaccine between 1963 and 1968 in the United States are now subject, as young adults to what is called "atypical measles". This is a very severe form of the disease in which it appears that, because of the vaccination, there is an increased susceptibility to measles viruses, resulting from a damaged immune response. (JAMA, 1980, Vol. 1244, No. 8, pp. 804-806.)

A review of 1600 cases of measles in Quebec, Canada, between January and May 1989 revealed that 58 per cent of school-age cases had been previously vaccinated. (MMWR, Measles - Quebec. 1989; 38: 329-330.)

Since the widespread use of the mumps vaccine, the incidence of the disease has shifted to adolescents and adults who are much more susceptible to the complications of testicular and ovarian infection which can lead to sterility. During the period between 1967 and 1971 the annual average cases of mumps in persons greater or equal to 15 years of age was 8.3 percent; in 1987 this same age group accounted for 38.3 percent of cases, which is more than an eightfold increase. (MMWR, Mumps - United States, 1985-1988. 1989; 38: 101-105.)

Sep. 17 2011 02:13 PM
Lowell Landowski from Sacramento

Also studies show that only 32% of all girls who get the Gardasil shots, do not get all three required shots, they only get one or two shots. But for Merck's Gardasil to be effective you must complete all three shots. So how can they claim Gardasil is 90% plus effective?. The HPV vaccine used mainly in Europe, Merck's competitor, is effective with only two shots, so it is much more effective than Gardasil. So why are we not using the most effective HPV vaccine, maybe it is because they do not have the most effective crony capitalist lobbyist.

Sep. 16 2011 11:54 PM
Lowell Landowski from Sacramento

Pay her you Merck grant taking ethicist. You know full well Anaphylaxis is a rare but possible side of effect of Merck's Gardasil. You know that anaphylactic shock can cause brain damage. And you know brain damage can result in retardation. I would urge Bachman to donate the money to help the unreported rare side effects sufferers at the hands of greedy soulless Merck.

Sep. 16 2011 11:36 PM
Dr.Nyaku from Chicago, IL

Hi Mia,

You have very important questions about the HPV vaccines, though I cannot give you information regarding conflicts of interest, I can provide you with information regarding the safety of the vaccines. The number of reported deaths that are linked to the vaccination have totaled 38 for Gardisil. Here is a link to an article and the latter half discusses "Safety and HPV vaccination"

One more comment in regards to another thought you posed:
From a public health standpoint, it is very sound that HPV vaccination should be indicated for young men as well as young women, given that men are often times asymptomatic carriers. Thus by vaccinating men, it is also reducing the likelihood of an unvaccinated woman being exposed to one of the carcinogenic strains of HPV. This is similar to the MMR vaccine. The second M is for mumps and both men and woman are vaccinated though one of the most devastating effects of the mumps is to cause infertility in only men. By covering both of the sexes, it helps to reduce the likelihood of exposure to men.

I hope this helps to give you some background information. As always, I highly recommend that you sit down with your daughter's physician to discuss your concerns in further detail.

P.S. I have no financial ties to either of the makers of the HPV vaccine.

Sep. 16 2011 05:35 PM
Fair and Balanced

@Charles -- where were you when the media was all in a frenzy over the Toyota acceleration story? It was a major story for quite sometime. Even NPR covered it (quite well, in my opinion).

Sep. 16 2011 02:48 PM

Mia - My daughter had the vaccination and I had many of the same questions that you state here. And I stated by talking to her doctor and then I researched on the internet. Her and I also discussed it and weighed the pros and cons and made the decision. All of the questions you ask are valid and all of them can be answered go to an independent web site like

and you can get real answers. Just please don't base your decisions for or against vaccination on Michele Bachman's hysteria all she does is enforce the stereotype of women not being able to comprehend what is right for themselves.

Sep. 16 2011 11:46 AM

Mia - My daughter had the vaccination and I had many of the same questions that you state here. And I stated by talking to her doctor and then I researched on the internet. Her and I also discussed it and weighed the pros and cons and made the decision. All of the questions you ask are valid and all of them can be answered go to an independent web site like

and you can get real answers. Just please don't base your decisions for or against vaccination on Michele Bachman's hysteria all she does is enforce the stereotype of women not being able to comprehend what is right for themselves. She does us a great disservice.

Sep. 16 2011 11:43 AM
Mia from Colorado

I would like to hear an objective discussion about the HPV vaccination from a statistician. No one wants anyone to contract cancer or any other disease, but Merck has spent a tremendous amount of money promoting their vaccine and I have always felt that the whole story has not been reported. For example:

Does the vaccine protect young females against ALL viruses that can cause cervical cancer? Or, is it specific to just one strain? Is it a guarantee of protection against cervical cancer? Can you have the virus and not develop cervical cancer?

What is the profit margin for selling three injections to a majority of girls? Does each shot cost over $100? Serious illness is extremely emotional, but an objective discussion about the reality of costs/benefits is in order.

Each time I hear an “expert” discuss this vaccine there is a new number of deaths quoted for each year. It started with 3,000 annually – then 4,000 and today your guest ended by tossing out 10,000. Also, the interviewer should ask the “expert” guest if they have received any compensation (money, gifts, trips, etc.) for their support. In fact, I think this should be a practice for all interviews on. Just as investment advisers are asked if they own any stock in the investments they recommend.

A statistician could discuss the other types of death each year. I’ve heard that 30,000 people die of the flu – what are the other illnesses and how many die each year?
How many die of accidents or are murdered? A statistician could also explain the profits involved in this vaccine.

Has the group (I think it’s called ALEX) that courts legislators and writes new bills to present on behalf of certain corporation been involved? I ask this because it is odd that so many states have had a bill to require this vaccine for girls. And now it is also being promoted for young men.

Please help parents make truly informed decisions about these injections for their children including facts about side effects, if any. Thank you, Mia

Sep. 16 2011 09:45 AM

The main reason that Michelle Bachman's pronouncement on vaccine risks is getting claose attention from NPR is because she is a socially conservative Republican.

I agree with Prof. Caplan that the science is unsupportive, and that Bachman's pronouncement is hysterical.

But where was the attention on Rep. Henry Waxman and his colleagues in Congress, when they had their mass freakout over the unsceintific hysteria over Toyota "sudden acceleration"?

And where was the scientific inquiriy into how former Senator and Presidential candidate John Edwards made millions in so called "birth trauma" litigation?

The Toyota case, and the innumerable malpractice cases, have been a much bigger deal in terms of the numbers of people and amounts of money affected.

I don't defend Rep. Bachman's abuse of scientific principles on vaccine injury-causation. But I certainly do question the liberal media's editorial emphasis on this one example only.

Sep. 16 2011 08:44 AM

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