Kerry Bentivolio, Republican candidate for Congress in the 11th Congressional District in Michigan (Orac's district), hosted an antivaccine roundtable with Orac's state representative Jeff Noble, three antivaxers, and the antivaccine group Michigan for Vaccine Choice. Orac attended and now reports the craziness.
Antivaxers frequently try to appeal to antiabortion activists by claiming "fetal parts" are used in vaccines. In Michigan, they're trying to enshrine such deceptive efforts into law in Michigan Senate Bill 1055, which would mandate "informed consent" regarding vaccines for which fetal cell lines are used to grow the virus. In reality, this would be misinformed consent and a strategy to frighten parents out of vaccinating.
My state senator, Patrick Colbeck, has repeatedly sided with antivaxers in promoting legislation that would make it easier to get personal belief exemptions to school vaccine mandates. Now I find out that he's an "electromagnetic hypersensitivity" crank as well. And he's running for governor.
In Michigan, we have succeeded in decreasing the rate of nonmedical exemptions by requiring parents requesting them to attend an educational session before they can claim such exemptions. Unfortunately, my state senator, Patrick Colbeck, thinks this is a bad idea and has revealed himself to be, if not antivaccine, antivaccine-sympathetic.
The depths of stupidity to which the Michigan state legislature will stoop never cease to amaze me. This time, legislators are doing their damnedest to make measles great again.
Remember the scene in The Blues Brothers where Jake and Elwood are sitting in the Bluesmobile and come across a Nazi rally taking place on a bridge? Jake says with utter disgust, “I hate Illinois Nazis,” before driving over the bridge, forcing the Nazis to flee and jump into the river below. That’s basically the way I feel towards Michigan antivaccine activists. What’s even worse, though, is when out-of-state antivaccine agitators show up to give aid and comfort to our own homegrown antivaccinationists, which is what happened this week. I’d never actually drive a car at a bunch of them …
I’ve written on multiple occasions of what I like to refer to as “antivaccine dog whistles.” In politics, the term “dog whistle” refers to things politicians can say to certain groups, usually groups with odious views, that they are with them without actually echoing the views for which the group at which the dog whistle is aimed. The intended target audience gets the message, while those not familiar with the issues either don’t get the message or see what is being said as something unobjectionable, even admirable. Think “states’ rights” versus civil rights, for example. It turns out that antivaccinationists …