Bachmann goes out on a limb with HPV vaccine claims

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Michele Bachmann is receiving pushback for her claim following Monday night’s debate that Gardasil, the HPV vaccination Texas Gov. Rick Perry mandated for Texas girls through an executive order, causes mental retardation.

“I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Fla., after the debate,” Bachmann said. “She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter. The mother was crying what she came up to me last night. I didn’t know who she was before the debate. This is the very real concern and people have to draw their own conclusions.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, makes no mention of mental issues arising from use of Gardasil or another HPV vaccination called Cervarix. According to the CDC, of the 35 million doses distributed in the United States as of June 22, 2011 there have been 18,727 reports of adverse effects to Gardasil, the worst being the muscle weakening disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome, along with blood clots, and 68 reports of death.

Politico reports that Evan Siegfried, a spokesman for the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership called Bachmann’s attempt to link mental retardation and Gardasil “irresponsible.”

“There is zero credible scientific evidence that vaccines cause mental retardation or autism. [Bachmann] should cease trying to foment fear in order to advance her political agenda.”

Bachmann also charged Perry with “crony capitalism,” alleging that his ties to Merck had shaded his decision to impose the vaccination and that he had overreached using his governing power. (RELATED: Rivals knock Perry over HPV vaccine order during debate)

Perry responded to Bachmann’s charges Tuesday to NBC News and The Miami Herald.

“You heard the same arguments about giving our children protections from some of the childhood diseases, and they were… autism was part of that. Now we’ve subsequently found out that was generated and not true,” Perry said, adding, “I would suggest to you that this issue about Gardasil and making it available was about saving people’s lives.”

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