Sunday, November 6, 2022

#2585: Paul Boyer

Anti-vaccine activists in state legislatures seem to be on the rise (admittedly, we haven’t actually counted), but Arizona’s Paul Boyer was antivaccine before it was mainstream in wingnut circles. Boyer has been a member of the Arizona State Senate representing District 20 since 2019, after having been a House representative from from 2013 to 2019, where he e.g. served as the Chair of the Arizona House Education Committee; he’ll be out now in November, however, after voicing his disagreement with Trump’s election fraud conspiracy theories (good on him).


Nonetheless, getting it right on that score won’t excuse his antivaccine sympathies. In 2019, Boyer introduced a bill that would restrict childhood vaccine coverage under the guise of “informed consent”, Which, of course, has nothing to do with informedthat is kind of the point here, and it’s a common antivaxx gambit. What Boyer’s bill attempted to do was to mandate that parents be told exactly which ingredients and chemicals are in a vaccine before their children are inoculated – the purpose being not to make the parents better positioned to make informed decisions (unless you have a background in chemistry and medicine), but to mislead as many as possible into dropping vaccines by a variant of the toxins gambit and appeal to general chemophobia; there’s a reason why the bill didn’t mandate updated information about the science behind the vaccines.


Apparently Boyer himself was scared to learn from the CDC that some vaccines may contain contain phosphate, bovine serum, formaldehyde, fluoride, yeast extracts or human diploid fibroblast cell cultures (cultures of human fetal tissue), all of which might be scary-sounding to chemically illiterate people like Boyer (and yes: it’s both a toxins gambit and a human fetal parts” gambit there). While emphasizing that he was “not necessarily opposed to vaccinations for children”, he refused to answer questions about whether he himself believed vaccines were harmful. Then he rattled off a list of anti-vaccine talking points, mostly in the “too many, too soon” genre but also, predictably, this: I don’t know that most parents know that bovine extract or animal parts or fetus parts are in certain vaccines,” said Boyer. “And I just think, as a parent, we should know the answer to that.” That answer is “no”. There are no fetus parts in any vaccines, and there are no animal parts in vaccines.


Diagnosis: That this guy would come across as a voice of reason among his colleagues is telling. Good grief.


Hat-tip: Respectful Insolence

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