At last night’s CNN/Tea Party Republican presidential debate, Texas governor Rick Perry was slammed for his 2007 support of a state program vaccinating girls against Human Papilloma Virus — a sexually-transmitted virus that can lead to cervical cancer.
In the debate itself Michele Bachman described the vaccine as a “government injection,” and Perry’s decision as “a violation of a liberty interest.” She also accused Perry, whose chief of staff was a former lobbyist for vaccine manufacturer Merck Pharmaceutical, of pushing the program as payback for campaign donations from Merck.
But after the debate, in a CNN interview, she took it to a really weird place.
One objection to the HPV vaccine is the idea that it might encourage promiscuity by reducing the risks of sexual activity. In her interview, for whatever reason, Bachmann chose to hint at this objection rather than state it openly, and the result was a truly bizarre depiction of mandatory vaccination as — and there’s really no other way to put this — Uncle Sam raping your daughters with needles.
“When you have innocent little 12-year-old girls,” she said, “that are being forced to have a government injection into their body — this is a liberty interest that violates the most deepest personal part of a little child. … A little girl doesn’t get a do over — once they have that vaccination in their body, once it causes its damage, that little girl doesn’t have a chance to go back.”
That’s just … wow. I don’t … I can’t …
Update | When I first posted this, I was gobsmacked by the language itself — the use of such heavily loaded molestation imagery to describe a non-invasive, voluntary medical procedure. But a little while ago a friend reposted it on Facebook, and two friends of his quickly commented to point out something else.
You know what, if anything in this discussion, “violates the most deepest personal part” of you? You know what “causes its damage,” and doesn’t give you “a chance to go back”?
Second Update | I’ve asked the women who commented on my friend’s Facebook page for permission to repost their notes, and they’ve graciously given it. They sum this all up far better than I could:
Jeannette Elizabeth: “Someone should maybe describe for Bachmann, in intimate detail, the violation of lying in a hospital room, knees shaking, legs spread wide, having cancerous cells scraped from one’s cervix.”
Melinda Kersha McDonald: “I couldn’t agree with Jeanette more. I’ve been there and done that. I have scars that can’t be seen and complcations that will haunt me for the rest of my life. This vaccine could have saved me from that. Making cancer a thing of the past can never be a bad thing.”