Why You Should Join The Campaign To Stop Anti-Vaxxer Sherri Tenpenny Coming To Australia
She's not quite as disgusting as Julien Blanc, but she's definitely just as dangerous.
With a notoriously tough immigration department and an internationally condemned treatment of asylum seekers, the question about who we should and should not let into our country is never too far from our minds in Australia. But, the subject of the most recent controversy at our borders may surprise you. She doesn’t plan to come here by boat, she has no criminal record, and she doesn’t make a living off choking people like one notable professional jerkwad. Sherri Tenpenny is a white, middle-aged woman with a medical degree and lucrative work prospects.
But within days of the announcement, Dr Tenpenny’s trip has been met with vocal outrage, direct appeals to the government, and a petition to stop her entering the country. In fact, it’s these very solid work prospects that people have a problem with.
She Wants To Tell Us All About How Preventative Medicine Is Evil
Dr Tenpenny makes money by writing books and hosting speaking engagements where she says batshit crazy things like this.
— Reasonable Hank (@reasonable_hank) January 5, 2015
Assuming all goes to plan, Dr Tenpenny’s trip down under is in service of a series of seminars to be held across the country in March. Hosted by a strange and unlisted organisation called the GanKinMan Foundation, the events will include a ‘Birth, Baby and Beyond Seminar’ that explores parents’ concerns about vaccines and ebola (for some reason) as well as a ‘Raising Healthy Children Naturally Seminar’ where Dr Tenpenny will “present the truth about vaccination” and teach people “how to prevent SIDS”.
At this point it’s worth noting that she works in osteopathy, not pediatrics or diagnostic medicine.
Since the mysterious advertisements have been announced, it’s been revealed that they’re being organised by Australian anti-vaxxer Stephanie Messenger. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because she’s also a published author. In 2013, Messenger wrote the Pulitzer-nominated book Melanie’s Marvelous Measles — a harrowing piece of propaganda intended to get children to turn their back on vaccines and embrace their preventable diseases. The self-published book was quickly condemned by the Australian Medical Association and pulled from bookstore shelves.
Spreading Misinformation Is Dangerous
Dr Tenpenny has written books of her own including the self-explanatory title Saying No To Vaccines. Due to her active engagement with the topic she is regularly featured in media debates on the topic in the US and has amassed over 112,000 followers on social media.
Australian press has labeled me a "public health menace." Their country of 23M isn't allowed to know the truth… http://t.co/TA58E6NafV
— Dr Sherri Tenpenny (@BusyDrT) January 4, 2015
But the messages she’s trying to spread are pretty far from the truth. For instance — in case you still needed some convincing — here’s a whole bunch of peer-reviewed studies that give solid evidence to why just the title of her book is bad advice to readers. Once you unpack a bit more of her thinking on the topic, you discover tasty nuggets of wisdom like this.
You guys remember Gardasil, right? That free shot you got in high school that’s given a generation of women a 20 per cent decrease in the prevalence of HPV — a genital virus that can lead to other more serious diseases like cervical cancer. Well, it’s basically a bioweapon. The government are dishing out poison for profit. Sorry. Was nice knowing you.
It may seem like the ramblings of a woman wearing a tinfoil hat and screaming about Roswell and throwing cats at you, but even if one person believes in it, it can be life-threatening. By granting these ideas a valid space in public view without proper interrogation, we’re doing everyone a disservice. (The Project are currently hunting down an interview with a similar anti-vaxx organisation; here’s hoping it won’t be like the time Kochie’s Angels threw their two cents in.)
There’s Some Pretty Legit Laws That Say She Shouldn’t Be Allowed In
In much the same way that Julien Blanc was ejected from the country after his visa was cancelled, there are similar laws in place that suggest Tenpenny should suffer the same fate. According to the Department of Immigration, those “who want to enter or stay in Australia must satisfy the character requirement as set out in Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 (the Act). This includes all non-citizens, sponsors of visa applicants and non-migrating family members seeking to enter or stay in Australia.”
As Mamamia note, the character requirement states each entrant must not “incite discord in the Australian community or in a part of it” and that they must not “be a danger to the Australian community or a part of it”. A decision has not yet been reached about Tenpenny’s visa status and you can contact the new Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton via his email ([email protected] or or phone (02 6277 7220) to lodge a complaint. As his previous role was Minister for Health — before the dreaded reshuffle — he should have some quality background knowledge on the matter.
Outside of that you can sign the Change.org petition or reach out to the brand new Minster for Health Sussan Ley. If you’d like to know more about the issue, please turn to the people who actually know what they’re talking about.
Let’s not let Reddit have the last laugh on the matter.