Earlier this week, Congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann turned up the heat on fellow-candidate Gov. Rick Perry over his 2007 executive order requiring young girls in Texas to be vaccinated for HPV or human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer. Today, two Minnesota professors turned the heat and the attention back on Bachmann, offering a $10,000 reward for anyone who can provide proof of Bachmann's claims regarding the HPV vaccine.
To back up a bit, Bachmann not only slammed Perry for his Texas mandate during Monday's GOP debate, but she continued discussing the topic with reporters and in a fundraising letter after the debate. "There’s a woman that came up crying to me tonight after the debate,” Bachmann told Fox News on Monday night. “She said her daughter was given that vaccine. She said her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result of that vaccine.” Bachmann repeated these comments the next morning on NBC's "Today" show.
These comments have landed Bachmann in some hot water, particularly with those in the medical community who feel she is stoking unfounded fears about the vaccine. Two bioethics professors are apparently so outraged by Bachmann's claims that they are offering $10,000 for proof of that the HPV vaccine victim exists. Specifically, Art Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics, offered this challenge to Bachmann on Twitter:
No word yet on whether or not Bachmann will respond to the challenge.