United Methodist Women Leaders Speak Out on the Dangers of Mercury-Containing Vaccines, Drugs
The Rev. Lisa Sykes of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church prays at a press conference on mercury-containing vaccines and drugs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in early June.
by BARBARA WHEELER*
United Methodist Women leaders shared their concern for the health and safety of children and adults during a press conference on mercury-containing vaccines and drugs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta June 8. The press conference was organized by two grassroots organizations: Moms Against Mercury and the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD).
The press conference followed a "Simpsonwood Remembered Rally" at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDD) earlier the same day. That rally marked the seventh anniversary of closed meetings of the CDC and pharmaceutical companies at Simpsonwood Retreat Center in nearby Norcross, Ga. Those attending those meetings discussed the effects of the mercury-preservative Thimerosal, which is used in vaccines and drugs.
Tonya Murphy, president of United Methodist Women in North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, addresses crowd at press conference on mercury-containing vaccines and drugs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in early June.
"The truth must come to light," Ms. Murphy said. "The truth is coming to light, and having attended 'The Truth is Coming to Light' event really opened my eyes. We must be like the resurrection women at the tomb who made a wonderful discovery and could not contain themselves. Let us cry hard and spare not."
Ms. Murphy said she is a concerned United Methodist Women leader, health-care provider, parent and African American.
"I stand as a Christian leader who must insist that the church be more than the building in the community; the church must actually have the community at heart," Ms. Murphy said. "As the church, we must see with our eyes, ears, minds and hearts, the disparities in our communities and speak truth to power with regard to appropriate care of our people.
"If there is the potential for harm, common practice is to provide informed consent in advance of administering medications or performing a procedure," she said. "I stand fully aware that drug side effects are real and can have varying, long lasting, devastating effects on the vulnerable."
Ms. Dauway explained United Methodist Women's focus on mercury-containing drugs.
Lois M. Dauway, deputy general secretary of the Women’s Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, speaks at a press conference on mercury-containing vaccines and drugs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in early June.
"Our being here and standing together, advocating together, sends a distinct message," Ms. Dauway said. "We are here to speak to the powers that help make decisions that affect all our health and our children's health. We are here to stand especially with parents who believe their children have been adversely affected by mercury-containing vaccines or other drugs. We are here because we are called and moved to action."
Ms. Dauway noted the work of United Methodist Women members on the health and well-being of women and children, including the work of Dr. Clara Swain, the first woman doctor sent as a missionary by the Methodist Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, a predecessor organization to United Methodist Women. Dr. Swain established a hospital in India.
"The tradition of Dr. Clara Swain in India continues today," Ms. Dauway said. "The mission field is different. The medical technology is different. The fact that women, children and youth need an advocate and a voice is the same."
Ms. Dauway noted current concerns coming from India about U.S-exported mercury-containing drugs. Mercury compounds should be removed from drugs that are exported by U.S. pharmaceutical companies, she said.
June 6 and 7, members of United Methodist Women were among participants in "The Truth is Coming to Light," an event sponsored by the Women's Division to raise awareness about mercury-containing vaccines and drugs.
Charlotte Newton, past president of Texas Conference United Methodist Women, attended "The Truth is Coming to Light" event, the rally and the press conference. Members of United Methodist Women need to become informed on this issue because it affects us all, Ms. Newton said.
"We need to begin with women in our local communities and then reach out to the world," she said.
*Barbara Wheeler is an executive secretary for communications for the Women's Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.