Claims parental rights outweigh ‘science’
By David Brennan, May 8, 2019
| Newsweek – An anti-vaxxer Texas lawmaker is facing criticism for attacking a prominent vaccinologist and branding inoculations “sorcery.”
Republican Rep. Jonathan Stickland—who left the hardline conservative Freedom Caucus last week—began a Twitter spat with Peter Hotez, a professor at the Baylor College of Medicine, on Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Hotez had been lamenting an increase in vaccine exemptions, which he said put children “in harm’s way for the financial gain of special and outside interest groups.” But Stickland accused Hotez of hypocrisy and suggested that parental rights to reject vaccinations were paramount.
“You are bought and paid for by the biggest special interest in politics,” Stickland wrote to Hotez. “Do our state a favor and mind your own business. Parental rights mean more to us than your self-enriching ‘science.’”
Hotez rejected the assertion. “I don’t take a dime from the vaccine industry,” he wrote. “I develop neglected disease vaccines for the world’s poorest people. And as a Texas pediatrician-scientist it is most certainly my business.” Hotez also said that such an outlandish accusation was “impressive, from a member of the Texas House of Representatives.”
But Stickland stuck to his guns. “Make the case for your sorcery to consumers on your own dime,” he replied. “Like every other business. Quit using the heavy hand of government to make your business profitable through mandates and immunity. It’s disgusting.”
Other Twitter users began sending messages of support to Hotez, who later thanked all those who rallied around him. “Never thought I would see a Texas legislator launch an unfounded personal attack. Time for some House ethics rules (and some adult supervision),” he wrote.