Women, Zika, and Monsanto
Trying to be a rational, self directed, evidence grounded, independent thinker and supporter of the autonomy of anyone who has need to encounter the health care system is just plain hard. I am not a fan of many medical interventions though I think some are useful and necessary. But, I am not a fan of any intervention just because it’s labeled alternative or was used by our remote ancestors. I don’t believe that individuals can be adequately advised based on research that provides outcomes for populations but says little about individuals. But, I don’t feel comfortable recommending treatments based solely on anecdote, just because they are alternatives to medical treatments. I believe modifying genes in a lab is important for advancing our knowledge. But, I don’t believe releasing those genes into the environment, the point at which we lose all control over those genes and introduce them to Darwinian pressures, is a smart thing to do.
I don’t believe vaccines are the solution to every bug and microbe on the planet. I do believe, when used judiciously , they are safe and effective for diseases whose only reservoir is humans. ( I am old enough to remember smallpox). The posting of medical opinions by those who have no clue or have ulterior motives and don't care what the consequences of their pontifications may be is terrifying to me. A couple of decades ago the meme on what passed for social media in those days was that HIV did not cause AIDS. It did and does, and we knew it did.
People didn’t believe it. People ignored the warnings. People deliberately infected themselves. People died needlessly. Many “progressive health” sites are pushing the meme that Zika doesn’t cause severe neural damage incompatible with life. It does. People battling the evil chemical giant Monsanto (and I am being serious, not snarky. They are evil, they do put profits ahead of common sense and rational decision making) are claiming their pesticides are really responsible for microcephaly. They state with great authority that such and such an expert claims Zika hasn’t been proven to cause this or that problem and that cases of microcephaly don’t correlate with cases of Zika. These people are twisting the tenets of scientific method to confuse and distort the reality and they are doing it intentionally to promote their pet cause. consequences be damned. There is much we don’t know, but we do know this virus causes horrific fetal brain damage when encountered during the first trimester of pregnancy. We do know that you don’t want to be exposed to it or to anyone who has been exposed to it if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or could possibly become pregnant. This virus is the first ever found that is transmitted both by insects and by intercourse. It is unknown how long the virus can live in the human body after exposure, but at a minimum it can last and be transmitted, for months. This is a serious and real danger. I want to see Monsanto reined in as much as anyone. But those who are pushing their anti-Monsanto agenda by spreading lies about this virus are doing a horrible disservice to their fellow humans and especially to women, whose genuine and serious health concerns are once again being used to score political points by both sides. Don’t believe it, and please, for women's sake, don’t spread it around.