Mother who lost baby to whooping cough slams politician for anti-vaccination comments
Catherine Hughes, an Australian mother who lost her infant son to whooping cough, is speaking out against a conservative politician Pauline Hanson for questioning the science around vaccination.
Hughes' post came in response to the political leader's comments in an interview Sunday with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, in which she urged parents to conduct their own research to decide whether or not vaccinations are a safe choice for their children.
"Make an informed decision. What I don't like about it is the blackmailing that's happening with the government. Don't do that to people. That's a dictatorship. I think people have a right to investigate themselves," Hanson said.
Twitter weighs in on Hanson's comments
But Hughes, who lost her son to a disease she says he might never have caught if not for a decrease in immunizations, called those comments a "disgrace."
She told Buzzfeed News that she decided to become an advocate for immunizations in efforts to educate parents on how to avoid preventable deaths like baby Riley's.
"I don't know who is providing [Hanson with] advice about immunization, but she needs to consider having a chat with some real experts," Hughes said. "The advice she is offering parents is not just thoughtless, it's dangerous."
Hughes also told the outlet that she is concerned about the influence politicians like Hanson have to spread what she feels is misinformation.
"They use Pauline's clout as a politician to add more weight to their anti-vaccination arguments, and it is really troubling," she said.
"At the end of the day, it seems like Pauline is another parent who has been hoodwinked by vaccine conspiracy theories. I just wish she had less influence over vulnerable parents who may believe her misinformation."
Hanson is an Australian politician, who has made headlines for controversial views and statements on issues like Australia being "in danger of being swamped by Asians," has been likened by some as the country's female version of President Trump.
Also a former fish and chip shop owner, Hansen has defended her controversial views that have been known to strike a chord with the Australian public, attributing the backlash to her "ability to ask the difficult questions has helped her to gain fame and popularity with the Australian community."