My Right to Choose…the Measles.

I really didn’t want to touch this one. As I watched the frenzy become increasingly rabid, I would have preferred to keep my choices quietly to myself, but that seemed increasingly cowardly as the days wore on and so many other brave souls were walking shoulders square into the line of fire. It would be a betrayal not to join them.

Last week, I outed myself as a non-vaxxer in a local group of brilliant, daring women who I admire immensely. That didn’t go so well. I knew my position was unpopular, but was surprised by the unanimous stance in opposition by those who commented. The only support came in private messages.

imageThrough controlled, but not concealed anger a couple of members threw out the standard accusations of stupidity and selfishness, and one celebrated a measles outbreak amongst a group of non vaccinated Texas families in 2013, calling it karma. (Those families might actually agree as most non-vaccinators accept the risk of diseases and are thankful for the lifetime immunity that follows.) Another called for accountability (of non-vaxers for infecting others–I’m assuming)

The irony of this last one always blows me away given the pharmaceutical companies immunity from litigation despite the vaccine related deaths of hundreds–mostly children. The over $3 billion that has been awarded to families whose children have been injured or killed by vaccines through Federally controlled Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) was financed by the taxpayers.

Additionally, the fact that recently vaccinated children have been proven to be infected with and shedding the vaccine type measles virus in the midst of outbreak, nobody knows how many vaccinated people contract mild or asymptomatic cases that go undiagnosed yet pass the virus onto others, and last year’s case dubbed “Measles Mary” in which a vaccinated woman in New York was proven to have infected four other people (two of which were also vaccinated) with measles make it difficult to attach guilt to anyone accidentally spreading the virus. How could anyone be at fault for contracting a naturally occurring disease while others who are knowingly injecting a laboratory created variety into their bodies are proclaimed innocent?

This group’s response came as a huge surprise to me as these women are all vehemently pro-choice feminists and the inconsistency of  harassing people who want to make their own informed health choices remains difficult for me to understand.

Choice Doesn’t End with Your Reproductive Organs

No matter what your opinion of the safety, efficacy, and necessity of vaccines is, you cannot be pro choice and support mandatory vaccination or any other medical procedure, for that matter. Kathi Valeii at Birth Anarchy nails it brilliantly calling out feminists joining the anti-vaxer public assault as subscribing to the paternalistic power structure that has for centuries controlled and violated women’s bodies.

“It’s interesting that the medical authority is not to be challenged in *just this* instance. There is an entire struggle in the feminist movement to reclaim women’s rights in birth around this very domineering power imbalance. Haven’t women, for centuries, been chastised, belittled, and held with contempt for questioning any authority – especially the man in the white coat?

The same doctors who brought us forced cesareans, who thrust their hands into our vaginas and when we cried out and scooted back to try and get away, shushed us and told us to be a good girls; the same ones who told us not to question them as they injected us with labor inducing drugs, who knocked and dragged out our mothers and grandmothers, who treated their filthy vaginas as sterile fields to be conquered, who sliced us end to end and yanked our flaccid babies out, as we lay, unmoving on our backs; who gave our husbands a *wink wink* as they threw in one last stitch to make us better than new.”

She further exposes the hypocrisy of feminists attacking other women for exercising the right to make informed health choices for their children,

“In the smear campaign against non or undervaccinating parents, nothing is off the table. While we would dare not trivialize or question or judge any woman’s desire for contraception or abortion, nor vilify a pregnant addict or challenge a woman’s investment in her fetus, we go to great lengths to efficiently marginalize and scoff and shame a woman’s decisions for her born child like she were an incompetent fool.”

You will find her entire post here: Pro Choice Movement Deployed Paternalism Vaccine War.

Liberty, Lies, and Profit Protection

Although freedom is at the core of this debate and what we likely will sacrifice if the pharmaceutical companies massive and ubiquitous advertising campaign is successful, it’s the lies and betrayal by these institutions that I once trusted that have kept me awake at night.

I began this parenting journey as a vaccinator. My first two children were vaccinated on schedule with all the recommended vaccines through toddlerhood and I believed I was doing the right thing–being a good mother. I bought what they were selling.

Then in 1997 (note this was before the McCarthy or Wakefield hooplah) someone placed a copy of Dr. Robert Mendelsohn’s How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor in my hands and I was horrified that I had made the vaccination decision without ever researching the subject–blindly accepting the pharmaceutical companies’ pitch.

I vowed never again and began doing extensive research ultimately deciding to discontinue vaccinating my first two children and never to begin with my subsequent children. As the years passed, more and more medical information/research became accessible, the unethical profit seeking methods of the pharmaceutical companies and their government cronies became completely transparent, and I became more convinced than ever that it was the right decision for my family.

Unlike so many, I did not arrive here after my child had been injured or killed by a vaccine, But I often wonder if we narrowly dodged a bullet. We are plagued with severe allergies and neurological issues, and have autism in our extended family. Contraindications to vaccination (as written in the vaccine inserts) include allergy to any of its contents. I don’t regularly administer neurotoxins, aborted fetal lung tissue, antibiotics, and monkey kidneys to my children so I would have no way of knowing if they were allergic to any of them until after they had a reaction or were dead. I prefer to take my chances with the measles, thank you very much.

Here’s where the mainstream media jump in with the message from their corporate sponsors, who bear names like Merck and Johnson & Johnson, that it is my duty to subject my child to this risk to protect those who cannot be vaccinated from contracting the disease du jour.

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This is nothing short of propaganda contrived to put social pressure on those who dare question their product and protect their profits. It has everything to do with marketing and nothing to do with an interest in anyone’s health. In the words of Dr. Suzanne Humphries, co-author of Dissolving Illusions and leader in unbiased vaccine impact research,

“Why must such a ‘wonderful product’ be forced on people?”

If you read nothing else outside the mainstream, read her well documented and comprehensive article “The Truth About Measles the Mainstream Media is Suppressing” and be prepared to be outraged.

But you need not believe me or her. Go right now to the Centers for Disease Control website and read the statistics for yourself. Measles is not the dread disease they want you to believe it is. During our recent US measles “epidemic” which I have to point has affected about 125 people at last report, no one has died. In fact, in this country over the last ten years, there have been zero measles deaths. Zero. In that same time period, there have been 86 deaths from MMR vaccine – 68 of them in children under 3 years old. And there were nearly 2,000 disabled, per VAERS data. Anyone can research disease incidence by reading MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) from the CDC and accessing the search engine for VAERS.

To put it in perspective, go read the CDC tracking statistics for the flu, or mumps, typhoid, rabies, or any other reportable disease. People have far more to fear from the flu than measles, but Merck isn’t facing litigation after being accused of falsifying data to show invalid efficacy of the flu vaccine–they openly admit it doesn’t work–as it is facing litigation surrounding accusations of falsifying data regarding the efficacy of the mumps vaccine (a component of the MMR–measles, mumps, rubella combined vaccine) and CDC whistle blower Dr. William Thompson is not preparing to testify against the flu vaccine as he is about to testify in Congress that data showing an MMR vaccine/autism link was purposely withheld in a 2004 paper he co-authored.

In light of the scandals that are not being reported in the mainstream media, it’s hard to believe that the current media madness isn’t a perfectly orchestrated smokescreen.

Data Manipulation & Omission

While you are reading the statistics take note of a category of infected labeled “unknown vaccination history.” This is just one of the ways that the information is manipulated to scare you and gain public support of mandatory vaccination. While pro-vaxxers love to scream “pseudo science” at the independent studies that shed doubt (or outright disbelief) on the safety, efficacy, and necessity of vaccination, the CDC is basically getting away with saying “Duh, we just don’t know.”

I contend that they do know, but the telling would threaten their hold.  In a message to practitioners who must report all cases of measles and vaccination history to the CDC, doctors are told that written or electronic evidence of vaccination must be used to verify vaccination status.

How many adults could produce this? I know that I was fully vaccinated as an infant/child according to the guidelines for my date of birth. Due to international travel as a child and young adult, I probably was vaccinated more than many people my age, yet I would be unable to produce any evidence to that effect. If I were to contract measles, I could not be listed in the vaccinated category even though I was. You’ll notice every outbreak includes some people who are able to produce evidence of full vaccination and often a significant portion of those infected fall into the “unknown” category. If only some of those in the unknown category were vaccinated (and I believe it would be more like most as those who do not vaccinate know that they do not vaccinate) the percentage of vaccinated people contracting the virus in every outbreak is much higher than is being reported.

Don’t take my word for it. Take a look at the most recent MMWR Report released 2/13/15. It says,

“Among the 110 California patients, 49 (45%) were unvaccinated; five (5%) had 1 dose of measles-containing vaccine, seven (6%) had 2 doses, one (1%) had 3 doses, 47 (43%) had unknown or undocumented vaccination status, and one (1%) had immunoglobulin G seropositivity documented, which indicates prior vaccination or measles infection at an undetermined time. Twelve of the unvaccinated patients were infants too young to be vaccinated. Among the 37 remain- ing vaccine-eligible patients, 28 (67%) were intentionally unvaccinated because of personal beliefs, and one was on an alternative plan for vaccination. Among the 28 intentionally unvaccinated patients, 18 were children (aged <18 years), and 10 were adults. Patients range in age from 6 weeks to 70 years; the median age is 22 years. “

Take note of the words “unknown or undocumented,” represent 43 percent of the cases cited.

In a final lie of omission nobody is mentioning documented allegedly vaccine preventable disease outbreaks in which everyone infected had been vaccinated.

 Pasting is So Much Easier Than Investigating

The current hysteria is characterized by some of the crappiest,lazy, inflammatory journalism I’ve ever seen. I am haunted by visions of my journalism professors and newspaper editors collectively rolling their eyes at the mass exodus from the mission of unbiased reporting. Where are the interviews with experts with opposing opinions? Where is the data research? What happened to objectivity? Most reports are 90 percent verbatim regurgitation of text from the local health department website (which often includes factual errors) and 10 percent sensationalized warnings.

Reporters use every opportunity to mention that most infected were not vaccinated. This indicates that some were, but there is apparently no need to talk about that.

I’ve read countless reports about the lone Texas confirmed measles case and nobody ever mentions his vaccination status. Hmmm. One report alluded that the Texas case was “linked-in part” to the Disney outbreak. It was not. He was returning from India.  Countless reports warned that “hundreds may have been exposed.” Now ask how many other people in Texas have been diagnosed with measles since the traveler’s return January 6. I’ll tell you. Zero. But you won’t find any sensational headlines announcing that.

Media driven hysteria is running rampant with the same tired headlines about impending doom covering the nation. One that stands out was the Oregon story about a “possible” measles case in a high school student. A large graphic that read “measles outbreak” was embedded in the online story. Twenty-two unvaccinated students were told not to return to school for 21 days. But guess what–the student did not have measles. Oregon recently had two other incidents of public scares with multiple media outlets reporting “suspected measles” but it was later revealed that they had been false alarms.

Another favorite is to falsely report that non-vaccination rates are climbing creating a threat to the immuocompromised despite the National Immunization Survey performed by the CDC indicating that vaccination rates have held steady at above 90 percent since 1996 and this alleged threat is simply not coming to fruition.

All this commotion is over a mild disease that has brought no lasting harm to anyone in this country for more than 10 years and appears already to be on the decline this year. See the graphic below from the 2/13/15 MMWR that shows measles cases dwindling in the hardest hit state of California. Remember the swine flu and Ebola were going to kill us all too. They need us good and scared to sell their product.
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What’s the Motivation?

And none of that addresses the groundless implication that unvaccinated children are walking vessels of diseases, or that their parents would purposely expose others, or that most adults in this country are not vaccinated according to CDC recommendations. Unless you’ve had a pertussis vaccine within the last year you are not immune as the CDC states immunity (if ever achieved) begins to wane after a year and recommends a booster every 10 years and in the third trimester of each pregnancy.  If you hold that unvaccinated children are to blame for the rise in whooping cough (a theory that the CDC denounces, by the way, admitting that the vaccine is ineffective) and you are not getting regular Tdap  boosters then doesn’t that make you just as responsible?

There is so much more to say about this multi-faceted issue as I haven’t even touched upon the natural design of immunity, the fact that in addition to having the highest vaccination rate, we also have the highest child mortality rate when compared to developed nations, or that disease and mortality rates were plummeting long before vaccines were introduced, but I suspect I’ve already gone on too long and this is best addressed in a part 2. So, I’ll wrap this up with a final thought. Consider for a moment that I have nothing to gain in making this argument. In fact, the mere revealing of my position could potentially cost me. I’m bracing for the backlash as I prepare to press the publish button.

However the price I might pay is incomparable to that of the doctors who risk their professional status and very livelihood by stepping out of Big Pharma’s good graces in the interest of providing the public the opportunity to make an informed choice.

No matter what your choice is on this issue, and I hope it forever remains your choice, remember that the pharmaceutical companies with hundreds more vaccines in the pipeline, on the other hand, have everything to gain in deceiving you.

Her Boobs; Her Business

Raising A Free Daughter in the Bible Belt

My teenage daughter has had an awakening. Her growing insight has been both marvelous and heartbreaking to witness and she grapples with the newfound knowledge that women are still treated as second class citizens in this country.

It doesn’t help that we are submerged in a christian homeschool community where she receives frequent messages that it is her responsibility to prevent violence against herself by dressing modestly and behaving in a godly manner.

I really don’t even know what that means.

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The shirt alone in this outfit has four dress code violations–it’s too tight, the straps are less than three fingers wide, it exposes cleavage, and does not cover bra straps. The shorts are also in violation–too short.

I do know that we’ve been presented with lists of dress code requirements that always include a supplement exclusively for girls.

She has been instructed about the precise acceptable length of her skirts and shorts, directives to wear appropriate undergarments, but said undergarments should never be visible. She has been forbidden to show any cleavage or wear tight fitting clothing of any type. Under no circumstances should she ever reveal that beneath her drapings is a feminine form.

I can only assume that this is viewed as a necessary measure to prevent the boys from slipping into their primal brains and savagely raping their classmates. Because showing cleavage clearly expresses a desire to have sex and boys are mindless beasts who cannot control their urges. This is absurd and insulting to both sexes. The entire notion of “modesty” is contrived to blame the victim and excuse the perpetrator. And if they can’t handle a hint of cleavage in the classroom, how on earth do they navigate the beach without having sex all over it?

When you’re done go here. Check out this brilliant slam poetry piece by Anna Binkovitz tackling the ill conceived notion that a woman’s clothing choices are  an indication of well, anything at all.

I can testify to the ridiculousness of the idea that your attire is an expression of your desires. I have traveled through Europe and visited topless and nude beaches, yet I have never witnessed a public orgy (nor a private one for that matter.) What I did see were families and friends (yes parents with their children) enjoying time together in the sun. End of story.

Enough is Enough

The double standard has become increasingly unbearable for my thinking child and she’s angry. When I pointed out that her chosen attire for today’s classes exposed her bra straps (more the result of petite frame with narrow shoulders than rebellion, but rebellion would have been okay too) and we had just received an email from the co-op principal that further dress code violations would result in being forced to wear a uniform of a polo shirt and khaki pants, she’d had it.

“I know that every boy in the room has a penis. Ms. X even talked about their testicles the other day and I didn’t immediately demand that they fertilize me,” she lamented, pretty sure that a boy catching a glimpse of her bra wasn’t going to leave her pregnant.

Up until puberty struck earlier this year she had lived in an insulated environment. We tend to run with crunchier crowds and we have always encouraged her (and all our children) to discover their own paths–to decide what makes sense to them in every aspect of their lives from fashion to spirituality. Our message has been “Be kind, do good, be free.” The End.

This is not to say we don’t offer our own insight and guidance–I don’t want to send them out there unarmed–but ultimately the decisions are theirs. They are her boobs and what she does with them is her business.

This year, we have ventured into a new arena, she is taking several classes in conservative Christian environments, and is spending far more time with adults who do not share our views. Physical changes, awakening awareness, and being thrust into an oppressive environment have caused a psychic collision. I’m not so sure how long we can endure the blasts.

Bye Felicia

We have committed to this year and I believe there is value in spending time amongst those whose beliefs are very different than your own, but I will probably suggest we keep the visit short. The messages are too destructive.

The bombardment of warnings that she should cover her body, not entice or mislead the opposite sex by showing too much flesh, and that her very shape is shameful and should be concealed are taking a toll. She feels judged and alienated. The experience has been hurtful. But there has also been an unintended positive result.

She doesn’t live in that universe and has her parents’ blessings to disagree. And disagree she does. Freedom and the Internet have opened the world of feminist dialogue to her and she’s listening. She has discovered slam poetry and has started writing her own. She seeks out messages of self love and empowerment and she is coming into her own as a strong independent woman.

This is in direct alignment with my hopes for her. I wish for my daughter to know her own mind and act with integrity. I want her to have a healthy body image and sexuality. I want her to venture into the world with the expectation that she will be treated with respect and equality and reject any equations that produce a different yield. I want her to expect this not because she is dressed in some arbitrary standard of decency, but because she is a human being and it is her right. I want her to fight for what she believes in and never compromise her values. And in a final thought that is difficult to speak, in the event that she becomes a victim, as 25 percent of us will, I want her to know that it is not her fault.