On February 18, New York University hosted at Tishman Hall a book launch for Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children, co-edited by Louise Habakus and Professor Mary Holland. The book was published by Skyhorse Publishing, which also published Andrew Wakefield’s book Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines: The Truth Behind a Tragedy last year as well as Kim Stagliano’s recent book All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism.
This event took the form of three separate panel discussions with various vaccine critics, including Andrew Wakefield and Sherri Tenpenny, among others. Also in attendance were, we were told, authors David Kirby and Kim Stagliano. Each were given loud standing ovations when identified.
I attended the event and decided to present an exclusive look at what transpired in four parts, one for the introduction by the book’s co-authors and one for each of the three panel discussions, which Mary Holland said mirrored the structure of the book.
Right off the bat, it’s necessary to point out the misleading title of the event: Is It Ethical to Kill a Child to Save Other Children? No reputable health organization in the world would suggest vaccination was akin to child sacrifice, as the organizers of this event have clearly done. The title of this event is deliberately misleading, implying successful mass inoculation requires the death of some children, like a sacrifice to the gods, when vaccination depends on no such thing and no such correlation exists. It’s the equivalent of saying the continued use of automobiles requires human sacrifices because sometimes people in cars happen to die in accidents. The only reason this would be an unfair analogy is because cars kill far more people–and far more children–than vaccines ever will. And yet anyone who’d seriously question the ethics of society’s continued use of automobiles would be thought a madman.
Mary Holland began the evening stating the book, and presumably the talks to come, represent a “clearly articulated case about why there is and why there must be individual choice [regarding whether to vaccinate].” She also invokes the “human right to informed consent for all medical interventions, including vaccination.” Here, it’s worth noting that no one in the medical community or among the critics of the movement assembled in this auditorium would disagree with this statement, despite the clear implication that this distinguishes their movement from mainstream medicine.
This was followed by a few words from co-author Louise Habaku. Habaku began by issuing an empty invite to any dissenters to engage with them in a room not likely to contain any dissenters because “we want dialogue.” She then stated that any such exchange would be respectful and said, “we reject name-calling on both sides. This is not constructive and does not serve to advance mutual understanding.” She followed up by acknowledging that people on both sides want the same thing: “We want leaders whose decisions are grounded in ethics and science. We want a healthy society. We want healthy children.” Habaku then invoked anonymous peer-reviewed science that questions the safety of vaccination, insisting the often repeated claim that the movement they represent is only interested in vaccine safety. This was followed by a declaration of the importance of anecdotes.
Habaku continued with an ad populum argument, talking about the alleged commercial success of their book in just one week and declaring with no sense of irony, “People are buying Vaccine Epidemic.” What I gleaned from the energy of the room was that they were buying it in more than one sense.
Only about one minute after denouncing the use of name-calling and agreeing that “both sides” want the same things, Habaku defined this alleged controversy as a story about betrayal and greed. Less than ten minutes after that, the first analogizing of their critics to Nazis would come. Later that evening, they’ll have also called their critics in mainstream medicine eugenicists. But I’ll get to that in another installment.
In Part 2, I’ll cover the first panel discussion featuring Vera Sharav, Michael Belkin, and Bob Krakow with Mary Holland as moderator.