Leave it to the Philippines, a country where one of the largest daily newspapers keeps a medium on the payroll, where psychic surgery is still a thing, and where, for a disturbingly large part of the population, dripping candle wax into a bowl of water is considered a legitimate diagnosis technique, to issue a license to practice actual medicine to a scientific train-wreck like Dr. Eleanor de Borja-Palabyab. “Dr.” (that will be in quotes for the remainder of this post, for reasons that will shortly become obvious) de Borja-Palabyab is the current President of Doctors for Life Philippines (DLPh), a Catholic Church-backed organization dedicated to encouraging the practice of medicine in accordance with the beliefs and edicts of the Pauline Cult. If “Dr.” de Borja-Palabyab’s opinions, expressed in a rambling lecture to a meeting of about 300 people (in a church, natch) in Gubat, Sorsogon on March 22, are any indication, that perspective represents a level of medical sophistication that hasn’t been seen since the era of the Black Death.
Blithely citing conclusions that were soundly refuted nearly 10 years ago and later revealed to be not just mistakes but intentional fraud, “Dr.” de Borja-Palabyab warned her audience that vaccines not only contain harmful mercury and formalin, but are also a cause of autism, according to a report published by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and absolutely no one else. Just in case all that wasn’t sufficiently horrifying for her audience, “Dr.” de Borja-Palabyab also “revealed” (citing a “Vatican paper” as her source) that aborted human fetuses are used to produce vaccines, casually adding that “They are also used in the preparation of food ingredients in countries where abortion is legal.”
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Interestingly enough, the “Doctor’s” “revelation” (which is not really news, having been SOP for, oh, only about the last 50 years or so) about the source of some vaccines was not completely over the horizon from the truth. Because viruses targeted by vaccines infect humans, human cells are the most effective medium in which to produce the deactivated viruses that are the main ingredients in vaccines; the original source of the cells used for this were two aborted fetuses in the early 1960s. Since then, however, the cells have been regenerated thousands of times in laboratories in different parts of the world, completely eliminating the need for any fresh tissue. While that still might make some people a little squeamish (one reason intense research has been going on for years to try to find effective alternative methods of creating vaccines), the “Doctor’s” implication that babies are being aborted for the purpose is, to put it kindly, a grossly malicious lie. The “Doctor’s” tangential assertion that babies are being aborted for food is just gross.
Having done her part to contribute to a worldwide resurgence of preventable diseases like measles and pertussis, “Dr.” de Borja-Palabyab moved on to the topic of contraceptives, which, predictably, were described as evil and dangerous. The “Doctor’s” harangue was apparently the pretty standard fare – reproductive health as understood by repressed, elderly Italian men – except for this little value-added flair: Condoms, apparently, can give you HIV. According to de Borja-Palabyab, condoms have microscopic holes in them ranging in size from 5 to 70 microns; the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, on the other hand, has a diameter of only 0.1 micron.
Here again, de Borja-Palabyab has apparently spent more time crafting lectures to enhance the public’s ignorance than in keeping her own medical knowledge even remotely current. A battery of tests conducted by several government and university research departments between 1992 and 1994 found that latex condoms provide an essentially impermeable barrier to particles the size of HIV as well as other sexually-transmitted pathogens, even in live-action tests involving infected and uninfected partners. Of course, the usual warnings that condoms must be used consistently and correctly are offered, and they are still are not (and will never be) as infallible as keeping one’s tingly bits away from everyone else’s, but the difference in risk factors for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases between having sex using a condom or not is enormous – a factor of about 10,000, according to a 1992 Food and Drug Administration study.
For “Dr.” de Borja-Palabyab to abuse her position as an authority figure (she is supposedly trained as a gynecologist, as alarming as that may be) endorsed by the Catholic Church to sow misinformation and encourage potentially destructive behavior among an audience that is easily influenced by credentials and ecclesiastical oversight is maliciously reckless and a mockery of the medical profession. And at least a few intrepid members of the public are trying to stop her; a petition launched on change.org on Friday is calling for the Professional Regulation Commission to investigate “Dr.” de Borja-Palabyab. Unfortunately, the recent Supreme Court ruling which gutted the Reproductive Health Law may protect her right to be an ignorant ass on religious grounds, as it struck down a provision which would have prevented physicians from being “conscientious objectors” to providing RH services if they felt doing so would violate their religious beliefs. After all, encouraging people to have unprotected sex and then gamble with the health of the unwanted product thereof is probably not actually the worst thing anyone’s ever done in the name of their various gods.