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Is the Green Party’s Jill Stein Anti-Vaxx?

Jill_Stein_(25740592525)Despite being a Harvard-educated physician, likely Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein has been accused of espousing or pandering to some of the pseudoscience that is more endemic among the far left.

In her official platform, she says that she wants to “put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe,” even though the vast majority of scientists have affirmed that they are safe.

More disconcerting is her hand-waving surrounding the efficacy and safety of vaccines.

In a Reddit AMA in May, she was asked what her campaign’s official stance toward vaccines was. She essentially argued that Americans have good reason to “be skeptical” of the agencies tasked with regulating vaccines (the “medical-industrial complex,” she called it). She wrote:

I don’t know if we have an “official” stance, but I can tell you my personal stance at this point. According to the most recent review of vaccination policies across the globe, mandatory vaccination that doesn’t allow for medical exemptions is practically unheard of. In most countries, people trust their regulatory agencies and have very high rates of vaccination through voluntary programs. In the US, however, regulatory agencies are routinely packed with corporate lobbyists and CEOs. So the foxes are guarding the chicken coop as usual in the US. So who wouldn’t be skeptical? I think dropping vaccinations rates that can and must be fixed in order to get at the vaccination issue: the widespread distrust of the medical-indsutrial [sic] complex.

Vaccines in general have made a huge contribution to public health. Reducing or eliminating devastating diseases like small pox and polio. In Canada, where I happen to have some numbers, hundreds of annual death from measles and whooping cough were eliminated after vaccines were introduced. Still, vaccines should be treated like any medical procedure–each one needs to be tested and regulated by parties that do not have a financial interest in them.

Her feint about not allowing for “medical exemptions” is more than a little deceptive, since the arguments espoused by anti-Vaxxer parents and activists are specifically drummed up because they don’t rely on having a medical exemption (i.e. an allergy to a vaccine). Rather, they argue their right to deny children vaccines on a basis of religion or strong personal belief.

The Washington Post asked Stein to clarify in an interview published Friday. She again toed the line between affirming the basic usefulness of vaccines while also nodding to anti-Vaxxers’ paranoia by casting suspicions on the regulatory agencies and medical organizations that they clash with.

“I think there’s no question that vaccines have been absolutely critical in ridding us of the scourge of many diseases — smallpox, polio, etc. So vaccines are an invaluable medication,” Stein told told the Post. “Like any medication, they also should be — what shall we say? — approved by a regulatory board that people can trust. And I think right now, that is the problem. That people do not trust a Food and Drug Administration, or even the CDC for that matter, where corporate influence and the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of influence.”

In April of this year, the Green Party amended their platform to remove language supporting alternative medicines, such as herbal and homeopathic remedies. This language was on the platform in 2012, when Stein was last the party’s presidential candidate.

[photo: Gage Skidmore]

Sam Reisman (@thericeman) is a staff editor at Mediaite.

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