At this point, it's probably fair to say that Jenny McCarthy is one of the most divisive and controversial media figures in America today. Her advocacy for what many consider vaccination trutherism has earned her more than a little enmity from the medical and scientific communities, but she is not without her defenders, too.
Now, after months of public debate on the issue, McCarthy has decided to write in her own defense, penning an Op-Ed for the Chicago Sun-Times arguing that she is not opposed to vaccinations, just merely concerned about their potentially negative side-effects. She says she's "pro-vaccine" but that she considers the issue to be one where there's a "gray" area between right and wrong.
"I am not 'anti-vaccine,'" McCarthy begins. "This is not a change in my stance nor is it a new position that I have recently adopted. For years, I have repeatedly stated that I am, in fact, 'pro-vaccine' and for years I have been wrongly branded as 'anti-vaccine.'"
After approvingly citing a columnist who argued that the vaccination debate has become overly polarized, McCarthy tries to state clearly where she's coming from. "I believe in the importance of a vaccine program and I believe parents have the right to choose one poke per visit," she writes.
"Should a child with the flu receive six vaccines in one doctor visit?" she continues. "Should a child with a compromised immune system be treated the same way as a robust, healthy child? Shouldn’t a child with a family history of vaccine reactions have a different plan? Or at least the right to ask questions?"
In her conclusion, McCarthy stands by her "gray" position. "I will continue to say what I have always said: 'One size does not fit all,'" she writes. "God help us all if gray is no longer an option."
Despite McCarthy's protestations to the contrary, however, some of her critics don't agree with her self-designation as pro-vaccine. Writing at Slate, Phil Plait argues McCarthy can "claim all she wants that she’s not anti-vax, but her own words show her to be wrong."
"Anti-vax is as anti-vax does," he concludes. "And she does."