“I think it is a decision that’s best left to parents in consultation with their doctors.” – Governor Mike Pence on HPV vaccination
Autism Investigated supports Donald Trump’s choice for running mate Governor Mike Pence. There has been a lot of misinformation spread about Pence, the biggest myth is that his being from Indiana somehow puts him in the pocket of Eli Lilly which is the pharmaceutical company that introduced mercury into children’s vaccinations. Eli Lilly is headquartered in Indianapolis, and did give Governor Pence’s political campaign a ton of money for his election in 2012. It was a cozy relationship, but one that would not last – nor would its termination be the only time he stood up for what he believed in against powerful pharmaceutical interests as he had also taken preemptive steps to oppose mandatory HPV vaccination.
When Governor Pence signed into law Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Eli Lilly and others deemed it “bad for business”, alleging that it was discriminatory against homosexuals and would subsequently drive investment out of the state. But the reality was much more complex than that, as LGBT activists in other parts of the country were suing Christian bakers and putting them out of business for not baking cakes for gay weddings out of devotion to their faith. Pence would obviously not want that trend repeated in his own state, and he signed an amended version of the bill into law despite attempts by Lilly and other powerful donors to kill it. Whether or not one agrees with Pence’s principles, his record suggests it is his principles and not his donors that determine his governing. He has also stood up for his and his constituents’ principles against powerful pharmaceutical interests in his opposition to aggressive state marketing of one notoriously dangerous vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease.
After a bill encouraging HPV vaccination in teenagers was proposed but killed in the Indiana legislature last year, Pence denounced the bill for potentially opening the door to a mandate of the vaccine. Later that year, constituents complained of an intrusive health department notice urging HPV vaccination. Pence stepped in to change the language of the notice to include the fact that the vaccine was not mandatory along with an internet link people could go to if they wanted to opt out of their children’s medical records being used in a state vaccine registry. Once again he was faced with opposition from critics such as the Indiana Democratic Party, but that did not stop him.
Based on his past record, Governor Pence appears to be someone who puts principle before donors and the pharmaceutical industry. Accepting Donald Trump’s offer of running mate is only the latest example, given Trump’s refusal of pharmaceutical money while speaking out about the vaccine-autism connection in the second Republican debate. Governor Pence deserves all the benefit of any lingering doubt, especially when compared to anyone Crooked Hillary Clinton is likely considering for a running mate.