A new ad created by a political action committee supporting Michele Bachmann reiterates the GOP presidential candidate's controversial assertion that the cancer-preventing HPV vaccine is dangerous, despite abundant scientific research showing the claim to be false.
The ad, created by the independent super PAC calling itself Keep Conservatives United, hits Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his 2007 executive order mandating that girls entering the sixth grade receive the HPV vaccine, which prevents cervical cancer later in life. "Rick Perry says his vaccine mandate on young girls was about cancer," the ad begins. It goes on to say, "Only doctors opposed Perry's order for safety reasons."
In a news release on the PAC's website, the group's founder, Bob Harris, writes that while the vaccine is acknowledged to be safe today, there were still concerns in the medical community that more information was needed about the vaccine's safety when Perry signed the executive order four and a half years ago.
The ad also knocks Perry for his ties to people affiliated with the drug's manufacturer, Merck, including Perry's wife, Anita. "The pro-family Texas Eagle Forum said it was 'all about the money' for his campaign and for his cronies. Even worse, Rick Perry's wife had worked for the company that makes the vaccine."
According to a 2000 article in the Austin Chronicle, Anita Perry worked with Merck to launch a public education campaign for osteoporosis screenings.
Bachmann attacked Perry for his HPV executive order in last week's GOP debate in Tampa, Fla. But instead of capitalizing on the negative reaction to what some conservatives viewed as Perry's government overreach, the Minnesota House member faltered by stating that the drug may be tied to severe side effects like mental retardation. Her statements have been roundly debunked by scientists and medical professionals.