Bachmann's Vaccine Panic

Baseless fear-mongering from the Minnesota conservative


Cancer treatment has made great progress in recent decades, but the tragedy is that so much of our effort to combat this scourge is just that: treatment. Once a disease appears, there is only so much that can be done. It would be far cheaper, more effective, and less traumatic to prevent it.

A vaccine for cancer would be a triumph for public health. Did I say "would be"? Actually, it is. Such a vaccine exists for one of the biggest killers of women. But Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is against it, and she's not alone.

Two different vaccines block transmission of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes 70 percent of all cervical cancer in this country, as well as most anal cancers and some cancers of the throat, vagina, and penis.

Each year, says the National Cancer Institute, more than 12,000 American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer alone, and some 4,000 will die of it. That's not counting the genital warts HPV can cause.

It's a nasty but very common bug that the world would be better off without. Universal inoculation would be a huge step toward eradicating it and the suffering it causes.

But there is a big impediment to its use: HPV is sexually transmitted, which makes the vaccine controversial—especially because to achieve maximum effectiveness, it has to be administered before the recipient becomes sexually active. And in this country, 6 percent of youngsters have sex by the age of 13.

So the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that females get the vaccine no later than age 12. As governor of Texas, Rick Perry required that girls be immunized.

He defended then the mandate as "responsible health and fiscal policy that has the potential to significantly reduce cases of cervical cancer and mitigate future medical costs." Bad for cancer, boon for the budget. What's not to like? But Perry has retreated under attack from fellow conservatives.

One allegation is that he made the decision to repay drug maker Merck, a longtime campaign contributor. That might explain his unusual willingness to mandate the vaccine even though public health groups were not in favor of compulsion.

But Bachmann also accuses him of heartless cruelty. "To have innocent 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat-out wrong," said Bachmann.

Oh? Children are routinely subjected to "government injections" when they get compulsory inoculations for polio, diphtheria, measles, and other illnesses. Most states require kids to be immunized against hepatitis B, which is commonly contracted sexually. What's cruel about being protected from cancer?

Bachmann insists the vaccine is "a very dangerous drug." After the debate, she reported, she met a woman whose daughter developed mental retardation in reaction to the shot.

Would she believe someone who told her the vaccine came from space aliens? The head of the American Academy of Pediatrics, made up of physicians who devote their lives to protecting innocent children, said of Bachmann's claim, "There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement." It notes that the vaccine has "an excellent safety record."

Social conservatives also fear that the inoculation condones and encourages adolescent sex. But if the danger of pregnancy, AIDS, and other diseases is not enough to deter a teenager, we can assume HPV will not be a deal-breaker.

Bachmann and others detest the mandate as an invasion of parental rights. But we don't leave it to parents to decide whether to inoculate against other diseases. We require immunization to protect children (and everyone else) from the consequences of bad parental choices. As early as 1905, the Supreme Court has rejected the notion that anyone has a constitutional right not to be vaccinated.

Parents are entitled to preach, demand, and enforce chastity for their children. But if a child spurns that option, the penalty should not be a deadly, avoidable disease. Besides, even abstinent youngsters can be infected—through sexual assault.

The mandate is hardly beyond criticism. When Perry signed his order, I faulted him for taking the compulsory approach, not because it was an outrageous violation of liberty, but because voluntary efforts had not been given time to succeed and the mandate might provoke resistance. That fear turned out to be accurate, but it doesn't make him a Big Government bully.

Perry was overzealous in combating a real danger. Bachmann is overzealous in hyping phony ones.



NEXT: Whip Inflation Now

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  1. Yay, another libertarians shit on other libertarians thread!

    1. The word “libertarian” doesn’t mean what you think it means, heller.

      1. Wait, what?

        1. That’s what I was wondering.

          1. How about, “Yay, another libertarian shits on other libertarians’ thread!”
            Clumsy, but at least it makes sense.
            Also, don’t comment when drunk, kids.

            1. Studies show ‘not drinking’ causes blind rage whenever Obama is on TV.

              1. Do does breathing.

                1. So

                  1. Too late.

                    Hey, where’s “heller” today? Did somebody finally succeed in pushing him in front of a bus?

                    Or did nothing else happen?

            2. …don’t comment when drunk, kids.

              Damn it…

        2. Rather, it’s probably more humorous to let you go on making a fool of yourself without warning you, but I will anyway. That sentence makes perfect sense. If you can’t understand “subject-verb-object” then I suggest you move from special ed back to kindergarten.

    2. Are you putting Michele Bachmann and Libertarian in the same sentence? ROFL, OK

  2. Steve come on. Let’s not fall into the trap of defending the compulsory status quo please. Liberty first.

    1. here’s to you getting some of that anal cancer

      1. Lay off ole heller. His narcissism is bad enough without anal cancer.

        1. Heller has been taking it on the chin lately.

  3. . We require immunization to protect children (and everyone else) from the consequences of bad parental choices.


    1. Do we want a government that basically says: “Here get vaccinated, it allows you to have all the unprotected sex you want.”

      1. Just like the chicken pox vaccine. “Here get vaccinated, it allows you to have all the sex with chickens you want.”

        1. Seems to me there’s a difference between chicken pox and HPV. Chicken pox is communicable through the air, doorknobs and the like, and you’re contagious long before you show symptoms. If a kid is going to be in a public school, requiring immunization for casually communicable diseases seems reasonable.

          The herd immunity argument is the only reason I’ve heard for requiring HPV vaccine. I wish politicians would point out this reasoning instead of just claiming “it’s for the chi-i-i-ldrun!”

      2. I don’t. Its up to the individual and their parents if underage to decide what’s best, not daddy government

        If we’re not free to take risks are we really free?

        1. HERD IMMUNITY! Your risks affect everyone, especially those who can’t get the vaccines.

          If your kid (who you chose not to vaccinate) gets measles and gives it to a baby that hasn’t been vaccinated because they are too young then you are responsible.

          1. Damn straight!

            Also, if your kid gets chicken pox and then gets varicella pneumonia and ends up spending a month in a $10K/day PICU, you are responsible for the total bill in cash, no discounts. Not the insurance pool you belong to. Not “society”. Not “the millionaires and billionaires”. YOU!

            You should also be responsible for the costs of that happening to some other kid, your kid infects (and yes, they can track the DNA polymorphisms and track where the virus comes from.)

          2. HPV is sexually transmitted, dumb shit. Get a new analogy.

            1. So substitute cancer and genital warts for varicella pneumonia. Basic concept still works.

              Libertarians won’t ever be seen as anything more than adolescent crackpots until they become less libertarian and more responsibilitarian. Lets talk less about your right to not let your daughter be protected against cancer and more about your ability to pay the freight for your decision.

              1. Crackpots will never be seen as responsible until they can understand why centrally planned economies don’t work.

              2. And let me guess. “Responsible” would be to give the government authority to stick a needle in my prepubescent daughter at the threat of jail or worse?

                You should seek mental help.. The kind with needles.

                1. No, just own the costs and try to recognize when your choice stops being something you pay for, and starts being something someone else does. Your liberty ends when it deprives someone else of theirs.

                  In this case, you are free to get the vaccine or not. If you don’t, you have an avoidable cancer risk. You have the costs, and you pay the tab.

                  If you prevent kids from getting the vaccine, they have an avoidable cancer risk. They have to pay the tab.

                  You simply don’t have the right to force them to accept that risk and to do so at an age when they are least capable of fighting for their own rights.

                  By making it mandatory, you force medicaid and the insurance companies to pony up. You get it done at time when it is most likely to help people. You get the biggest bang for society’s buck. Perry was right in doing it and he should have had the balls to step up for it. Now Obama will beat him up over this if he wins the nomination.

                  1. By making it mandatory, you force medicaid and the insurance companies to pony up. You get it done at time when it is most likely to help people.

                    By forcing insurance companies to cover it (which they do in Texas), premiums will become yet more expensive. Mandating this shit is wrong.

                    1. The cost of a vaccine pales in comparison to the cost of treating cervical cancer…

          3. Really? Herd immunity? You realize Hedrich invented that theory on -natural- immunity, right?

            You’re no less vulnerable to a disease simply because the population is vaccinated. Unless you want to bring statistics and risk factors into it, which is pointless because all of the risk factors for this specific disease are entirely controllable.

      3. Since when did anyone seek government permission before having sex?

      4. What kind of prude are you? Your honestly suggesting we shouldn’t vaccinate against HPV, because people might have sex? You do realize this vaccine protects against the most common form of cervical cancer…

        Please tell me your just trolling

      5. What kind of prude are you? Your honestly suggesting we shouldn’t vaccinate against HPV, because people might have sex? You do realize this vaccine protects against the most common form of cervical cancer…

        Please tell me your just trolling

    2. I think of the children everyday.

      1. We’re peaceful anarchists!

    3. Damn right! I’d gladly give away ALL MY RIGHTS if I could look a child on the street in the eye and not see cancer, whooping cough and measles.

    4. This isn’t exactly a bad argument; think smallpox vaccinations.

      I’m not saying the argument is valid when considering individual liberty, but I can easily see how people would accept the argument without critically examining it.

      1. not a bad argument? It is a terrible argument. Having a vaccine that may prevent a condition is a far cry from FORCING people to get the vaccine. Smallpox shots are a requirement because one kid getting it means the entire school may have to shut down because the disease will spread. But while bad, cervical cancer is not contagious.

        If Perry wanted to help, publicizing the vaccination would have been a good start. Make it available to people who want it; give them info on the risks/benefits; explain the rationale for recommending it. But, do not sign some order making it compulsory and then posture as a small govt guy.

  4. “Government knows what’s best for your children you stupid Science Deniers !

  5. So why did Perry make the executive order? He’s admitted he should have done it differently, yes, but I’m still left wondering why he felt compelled to go the dictatorial route.

    If there’s a legitimate reason, fine. If not then he comes across as just another “Constitution, meet my ass!” types.

    1. Sorry, but there is never a legitimate reason to force a needle on anyone. Don’t want to get sick? Move the fuck away. Did they intentionally infect you? Take them to court and sue for damages and hospital bills.
      A vaccine might make you immune to a particular strain, but as fast as most germs mutate, it’s pretty pointless. You’re going to get sick, with or without mandated vaccinations.

      1. You really don’t understand the difference between a seasonal flu shot and vaccines for things like polio, measles, chickpox, and HPV…

        Its possible it could mutate and a new vaccine would be needed, but there’s no reason to assume it will.

  6. I myself think that an HPV vaccination is a great idea, but I can certainly see where the resisting parents are coming from.

    The reason many parents are skeptical is not that they think their kids will develop autist, but that they’re distrustful of the public-health establishment. Parents keep hearing what you might call the “anyway doctrine” to justify all sorts of policies – like explicit “sex education” which conveys the message, “don’t do it, and here’s how.”

    So they see the HPV vaccinations in that frame. To some parents, the HPV stuff sounds like, “Your kids are going to have irresponsible sex, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so you may as well give them this injection.”

    If this message came from trustworthy sources – people committed to chastity – maybe these parents would listen. But to hear this message from the same people who think traditional sexual values are oppressive and silly . . . that tends to promote skepticism.

    1. The problem with HPV is its significantly more contagious then HIV… if you aren’t having unprotected anal sex your chance of getting HIV are miniscule… the chances of getting HPV are almost 50/50…it is extremely common …

      Google “hpv prevalence rates”

      Most people get t and never have an outbreak of warts, because a healthy immune system usually keeps the virus at bay… if you’ve had sex with someone else

  7. They claimed G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate was safe, but look what happened.

    1. It was supposed to calm the public…and it worked…they stopped doing anything worthwhile and started watching Woody Allen movies on loop…however a tenth of a percent had the opposite reaction…well they’ve killed most of us and are obsessed with Sean Hannity…oh god…what have we done…die FOX NEWS!!!

    2. You can’t stop the signal.

      1. Apparently you can- with a sword.

      2. Shiny

    3. What’s a few Reavers, when the common good is at stake!

    4. I’m a leaf on the wind, watch me soar

  8. You can “opt out” of the government ban on raw milk too! Just jump through the hoops.

    1. Nah it’s easier to bitch about it.


    1. Good Morning, STEVE SMITH!

      Glad you’ve decided to keep commenting!

      1. How could SS resist a thread about injecting things into other people against their will?

        1. +1 😉

  10. So the other day I was talking to someone who claimed that NOBODY was really opposed to the vaccine because they actively wanted women to get cervical cancer as punishment for having sex – that what people were REALLY upset about was that Perry had used an executive order to make the vaccine compulsory with an opt-out.

    But 11 posts into this thead Eduard and Jerry have already gone that route.

    It’s annoying to me that when I oppose Perry’s high-handed and liberty-denying (and legislative-power denying) action, I have to be on the side of people who think vaccines cause mental retardation (because they’re too stupid to keep their false vaccine hysteria justifications straight and confuse the HPV vaccine for the MMR vaccine) and people who don’t want medical science to take on sexually transmitted diseases because they think sexually transmitted diseases serve a useful purpose.

    1. I think you missed the part of my post (the very beginning) where I said: “I myself think that an HPV vaccination is a great idea.”

      I simply said, and I repeat, that the message of vaccination might be more credible coming from someone who actually thinks chastity is a good idea. Parents of public-school kids don’t always get that impression, given the sex-ed wars and the “anyway doctrine” – “kids are going to have sex anyway, so why not teach them how to do it safely?”

      Strangely, the “anyway doctrine” isn’t used (for instance) to teach safe smoking (“always use those new smokeless cigarettes!”), safe motorcycle-riding (“always use a helmet!”), or safe handling of firearms (“always use both hands – practice gun control!”). Obviously, the difference is that public schools actually think smoking, motorcycle-riding, and gun use are bad, and don’t want to do anything to suggest otherwise, not even in the name of safety – even though the “anyway doctrine” certainly applies to tobacco and motorcycles (“your adorable kids are going to smoke and drive motorbikes whether you are willing to admit it or not, so they should at least do it safely!”).

      I’m simply saying that the HPV message needs to come from people who aren’t tainted with this sort of thing. If such a credible source can’t be found, many parents will group the HPV thing in with the “anyway doctrine” crowd.

      1. Obviously, the difference is that public schools actually think smoking, motorcycle-riding, and gun use are bad, and don’t want to do anything to suggest otherwise

        I’m pro-smoking, pro-no-helmet-motorcycle-riding, and pro-gun, but it would never occur to me to teach about any of those things in school either.

        So I guess your claim that the absence of all of those imaginary courses is due to opposition to those activities is invalidated right there on its face.

        Until you just mentioned it, it would never have occurred to me to place “My kid might ride a motorcycle with no helmet” in the same category of risk as “My kid might get genital warts.” Where’s the little motherfucker going to hide the motorcycle? If he stashes one in the shed out back I think I’ll see it. Skanks are easier to conceal from your dad than a motorcycle.

        1. I believe I understand your point (though cigarettes can be concealed, too – my grandmother was able to sneak smokes as a kid – and a kid can always use someone else’s morotcycle, or if she’s a skank, she can ride behind some boy on *his* motorcycle).

          It’s great that you’re “pro-smoking, pro-no-helmet-motorcycle-riding, and pro-gun,” but the public schools are not. If they were, they would have no problem teaching about smokeless cigarettes and motorcycle helmets as well as teaching about condoms.

          In contrast to your enlightened views, the public schools oppose smoking, etc. – oppose them to an extent they don’t oppose teenage sex.

          That’s one reason why many parents tend to distrust sex-related messages from government schools.

          When an actual good policy comes along – like HPV vaccinations, which I endorse – then the public schools and sex-ed establishment have credibility problems. Parents need to hear the vaccination message from people not linked with the “anyway doctrine” – reputable physicians and ministers, for instance.

          1. I think this is exactly correct. Anyone who denies that the public schools do not have an agenda hasn’t been looking very closely.

            1. …which is why the homeschooling movement is growing by leaps and bounds.

              1. In realated news…. socially awkward kids grow by leaps and bounds.. send your kids to private school if you want, but no one benefits from spending 24 hours a day with their mothers… give your kids some freedom for God sakes… my only hope is your not also a religious fundamentalist.

                1. James, did you ever go to school? They’re torture chambers, especially for socially awkward kids who inevitably get bullied, sometimes pretty badly. It scars them for life. If a parent wants to spare their kid that, they should be encouraged.

                  I would much rather have been homeschooled, or taught by a private tutor with maybe a few other kids, than gone to traditional school. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option.

                  Homeschooled kids don’t spend 24 hours a day with their mothers – they have friends, they participate in sports and activities just like kids in private and public schools.

                  And public schools, even at the secondary level, do not give kids much freedom. At my high school, everything I did was regulated – where I ate, when I could go to the bathroom, how I could spend my “free” time, etc. Public schools teach conformity, not independent thinking. Private schools aren’t much better.

                  Our school system is run for the benefit of the administrators, not the students. They treat all kids identically (with a few exceptions, like special ed). Very bright kids are stuck in classes well below their level doing pointless busywork b/c even honors classes are boring for them. Stupid kids (I’m sorry, “intellectually challenged”) are humiliated in classes with average kids, expected to do coursework far beyond their ability, because they’re not technically mentally retarded and don’t qualify for special ed. Kids who are mechanically inclined are discouraged from pursuing a technical or vocational track because “everyone needs to be prepared for college”. Kids who can’t stand sitting in a classroom all day learning things they have no interest in, are forced to do so year after year. No one gets to choose what they want to study – everyone takes pretty much the same classes, with a few electives. Public schools (and to a lesser extent private schools) stifle creativity and quash a young person’s natural curiosity.

                  And we are told we have to give public education more money every year, because “it’s for the children.” If it were up to me, I would drastically cut funding for public education. It would save a fortune, and it’s not like it would make much of a difference in test scores (or however we decide to measure how much kids learn).

                  I realize this post is long and unrelated to the original article, but comments about how awesome the American school system is get me fired up.

            2. I’ve never really understood how free love is supposed to contribute to a worldwide socialist revolution, personally.

              I don’t actually see public schools teaching kids they should fuck a lot. I do see them pushing various socialist agendas … unions, anti-capitalism, regulatory environmentalism, hatred of modern western industrial civilization, single payer healthcare. But it’s not the 60s anymore, and I don’t think anyone thinks that getting hids to have more sex is going to start a revolution.

          2. Except Texas teaches abstinence only cause of those same retarded as parents. The problem with your “anyway doctrine” is that kids, in fact, ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO FUCK! Some may stay virgins till they are in there twenty’s or even thirty’s, but almost everybody is going to fuck at some point in their lives. However, not everybody will smoke cigarettes (or other things), drive a motorcycle, or use a gun. That’s why they aren’t taught in school.

            1. When they reach their 20s or 30s, they’re not going to rely on memories of their sex-ed class to figure out what to do. “Let’s see, Miss Hoover told me to put…wait, let me get out my notes…”

              Limiting our consideration to teenagers, I suspect you will find a great deal of sex as well as a great deal of smoking. Not everyone will be doing it, but a large number. Also drinking and riding motorcycles.

              And assuming the smoking rate has gone down, that just might have something to do with educational campaigns, in the media, the schools, etc., which focus on teaching total abstinence from tobacco.

              1. If the majority imposes abstinence education on the public schools, then the enlightened minority of parents can supplement their kids’ education with the necessary information about condoms and other necessary equipment.

                1. So you’re okay with majoritarian rule then?

                  1. It was a sarcastic rephrasing of the argument that “parents can teach their kids this abstinence crap at home, just keep it out of the public schools!”

                    Did your school teach either safe sex or safe smoking? (I suppose the current term is *safer,* not *safe*).

                2. But if abstinence education is already the policy of Texas, doesn’t that kind of make your claim that the Texas public schools aren’t “credible” on the issue a little absurd?

                  “Damn you, Texas! Until you start teaching abstinence, you have no credibility to tell people that this vaccine is a good idea!” – Eduard, years after Texas had started teaching abstinence

                  1. Re Texas – you got me. I was speaking about the country generally. I was trying to explain why parents might be skeptical of the HPV thing *without* being toothless, snake-handling, tinfoil-hat wearing yokels.

                    1. and if I recall correctly, Texas adopted its abstinence curriculum over the horrified shrieks of the standard sex-ed folks.

                      disclaimer – best not to have public schools at all, since that model has failed to produce the promised results.

                    2. Just stop… its painful to have to see “fluffy” gently refute your every statement… maybe best for you to go back to the glen Beck message board.

                    3. Yeah, that’s right, James. Because no one but a crazy right-wing Glenn Beck supporter would resent having messages about sex/smoking/drinking/whatever, that they find offensive, shoved down their kids’ throats in a mandatory “health” class.

                      I agree with Eduard – it’s best not to have public schools teaching this stuff in the first place. Or better yet, get rid of public schools all together.

              2. It’s been a few years since I was in school, or a teenager for that matter, but I don’t remember being taught anything about smoking abstinence. I do remember the pictures of black lung in my health class, along with the pictures of genital warts and herpes.

                I’ll give you the educational campaigns and the media though.

    2. Evolutionary speaking, they of course do by limiting the growth of populations. But that has pretty much come under our own control. But what is the useful purpose of having unprotected sex?

      1. If you have to ask, you’re not doing it correctly.

      2. BTW, if you can vaccinate yourself against STD’s, you aren’t having “unprotected” sex. A vaccination is a protection.

        That’s one of my issues here. The argument for abstinence is instrumental and consequentialist – “You should not have sex because A, B or C might happen.” But the people making that argument are ultimately dishonest, because if I developed a pill you could take that would prevent A, B and C, those people would still oppose sex outside of marriage, despite the fact that the consequentialist reasons for doing so would be gone.

        1. So is visiting a doctor to get tested before you want to go rubberless a protection. But the thrill in having real unprotected sex is in part due to the risks associated with it.

          1. No the thrill is that it feels FUCKING AMAZING.

            1. Exactly. I despise using condoms.

        2. Vaccination isn’t foolproof, and of course there are many STDs out there besides HPV which have no vaccines. Also there’s the risk of unsuitable pregnancy.

  11. think sexually transmitted diseases serve a useful purpose

    My herpes sores are my only friends.

    1. And they’ll stay with you to the end.

      BTW, are you related to that Johnny LongTorso who used to post here?

        1. “Oh-Tay!”

          1. I got as far as, Gentlemen, we can

            1. Dead or alive, you’re reading my posts w/ me.

              1. I got as far as, Dead or

  12. [HPV] causes 70 percent of all cervical cancer in this country, as well as most anal cancers and some cancers of the throat, vagina, and penis.

    Trust the evidence is better than that indicating second-hand smoke causes heart disease.

    The government should have a War On HPV.

  13. “anal” cancer? Or does that really refer to colon cancer?

  14. Fuck off Chapman. I’m no Bachmann fan, but her point , quite correctly was that it’s wrong for government to force people to such things as take the HPV vaccine. In fact she stated that it was a liberty issue, which it is, no go fuck yourself,I’ve read enough of you to know you have no business writing at claims to be a libertarian site.

    You come off as deliberately obtuse to spin her words they you have, and what’s worse defend this punk Perry.

    1. Children have to take all sorts of vaccines. I agree that this one would not be as essential and it should have been opt in, but I’ll not crucify Perry for this (there’s plenty of other things to nail him on).

      1. Ahem. Children in the US almost never *have* to take all sorts of vaccines. They don’t. It’s quite easy to get a religious exemption and you usually aren’t required unless you are in public school (and even if you ARE in public school, you can get a religious exemption form. It’s really, really easy.)

        You won’t crucify an activist governor for abusing his Executive Order abilities? Why not?

    2. She also said that the vaccine caused mental retardation.

      Which makes me wonder what caused her mental retardation.

      There’s a lot of pro-raw-milk material put up here at H&R. And I favor the liberty of people to decide for themselves if they want to drink raw milk. But if Bachmann gets up at the next debate and says that raw milk has to be legalized because the magic unicorns in her garden are happy when you drink raw milk and will shower us all with riches if we drink enough of it, I will have a problem with that.

      It’s possible to reach the right conclusion for the wrong reason. And when your stated reasoning exposes a politician as even more of a flake than I first believed, I think attention has to be called to that.

      1. Here’s the thing about Bachman’s vaccine-autism talk: Every politician is pro-science to the point that their constituents will allow, but no further.

        In the last presidential election, every major candidate refused to swear off the vaccine-autism myth: http://scienceblogs.com/insole…..escend.php

        Parents with special needs kids believe in this horse-shit for understandable emotional reasons. Something about birth defects makes parents feel guilty–“Why did this happen to me? Was it because I smoked/drank/painted the garage prior to pregnancy?”

        It’s not rational at all, but it’s close to universal. The vaccine autism myth gives them a scapegoat. No politician will take away that scape-goat if it costs votes.

      2. Well said. If Bachmann had any real respect for the liberty argument, or any confidence in her ability to win people over with it, she wouldn’t have to resort to making up scary stories.

        1. When someone other than Ron Paul is making a point about the liberty issue, I’ll take it. As I said I’m no Bachmann fan, and will be voting Ron Paul, even if it’s write-in, but Chapman said “what’s not to like” about Perry’s actions, and there is plenty not to like, and particularly that an executive, rather than the legislature is using an executive order for such a thing. That’s clear tyranny and worse than tyranny by lawmakers, because at least there’s debate, and they’re supposed to be “the people’s representatives”.

          The more tyranny jumps from the legislative branch to the executive, the worse things are, IMO.

    3. her point , quite correctly was that it’s wrong for government to force people to such things as take the HPV vaccine.

      That was one of her points.

      The other was that vaccines cause mental retardation. Apparently, even when administered to teenagers.

      1. I am not mentally retarded!

      2. You know, my parents have said that I was super-brilliant as a child. I’m clearly not now, as I have no secret fortress or vast riches. Maybe the vaccines did it?

        Who should I sue?

        1. The fact that you believed them seems to militate against the proposition.

          1. No, see, that was after my brain was damaged by the vaccines.

    4. She can say she opposes it on liberty grounds all she wants but her opposition to it is the same as most Republicans down here in Texas: It makes kids feel they have a free pass to premarital sex.

      Perry was a complete douche nozzle for dictating this shit, but no one should be fooled by that harpy’s liberty speak. For science sake, she signed that Family Vow thing.

  15. If the government can force you to take the HPV vaccine, what’s next? Could they force you to, say, buy health insurance?

    1. YES!

      1. Could the government force you to build a house so strong it could never be destroyed?

        1. Only if you were forced to use union labor.

    2. At least, there was an opt-out. If only there was an opt-out for ObamaCare.

      For the second straight year my health insurance premiums have skyrocketed.

      1. If only there was an opt-out for ObamaCare.

        Die. Granted, it’s not an optimal solution.

    3. If the purchase of health insurance could like, prevent disease and trauma (the physical kind not the emotional kind), then statist would have more of a leg to stand on.

      Not saying either should be forced, but they aren’t even remotely the same thing.

  16. Also –

    Does anyone know if Bachmann opposes


    compulsory vaccinations for school-age children, or just this one?

    1. We’re working like maniacs to gin up a response that will fly.

  17. Bachmann makes Christine O’Donnell look like a good witch.

  18. Steve Chapman– you are an idiot if you can’t see the unconstitutionality of requiring HPV vaccines for public school entry. A vaccine should not be required unless the disease it is intended to prevent is 1) spread through casual contact and 2) capable of causing permanent disability or death. What kind of libertarian are you??

    1. Ummmm…the two sentences of your post don’t go together.

      If it’s unconstitutional to require vaccination for school entry, what does your second sentence have to do with that?

      Unless you’re making up your own “strict scrutiny” standard on the fly, in which case your outrage about constitutionality is a bit misplaced. “Perry should only violate the Constitution when I think he has a good enough reason to do so,” is not much of a libertarian or constitutionalist argument, either.

      1. I’m with Fluffy on this one.

        I think legitimate public health issues (relating to actual communicable diseases, not the lifestyle horseshit that passes as “public health” these days) pose real dilemmas for libertarians.

        1. The problem in this instance is, of course, the government school system. Private schools could require vaccines, hygiene, and togas.

          1. … or admit the unvaccinated and enjoy the frequent closings for disease outbreaks.

            1. It could be useful in competitive sports. The football team carrying the plague or typhoid would likely win, as their opponents would fear contact.

        2. It comes down to whether there is such a thing as a common good and how you go about defining it. I think that there are some areas (national defense, combating plagues) that fall into that category. Sadly, in Libertopia people are still dying from smallpox en masse and the iron lung industry is vibrant.

          1. Or in Libertopia, our advanced science and technology have made diseases a thing of the past 🙂

            1. So you’ve read the Probability Broach have you?

              1. I might have, once, but vaccines erased any memory of it.

  19. So Steve’s argument is that because the Nanny makes us innoculate our kids already, then what’s the problem? Very establishment republican/democrat of you, Steve…

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Justification fail.

  20. Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Resigns Over Global Warming

    The global warming theory left him out in the cold.

    Dr. Ivar Giaever, a former professor with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the 1973 winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday, Sept. 13, from the premier physics society in disgust over its officially stated policy that “global warming is occurring.”

    The official position of the American Physical Society (APS) supports the theory that man’s actions have inexorably led to the warming of the planet, through increased emissions of carbon dioxide.


    1. This makes the second world renowned scientist to resign a prestigious position in disgust over this bullcrap. I can’t remember the name of the first offhand, but I could probably find it with some research.

  21. Facts about Gardasil:

    Bachmann’s claim from the lady that said the drug caused her daughter to become retarded is, well, just retarded. As a lawyer, she should know that this type of statement is hearsay and is simply not admissible. She was way over the top and has probably done irreparable harm to her campaign.

    1. You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  22. NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The former chief financial officer of a Knoxville nonprofit group that promotes energy from renewable sources has pleaded guilty to skimming federal funds.

    Cameron J. Potter worked for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Dale told U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips on Tuesday that Potter concocted a scheme in 2006 to skim $400,000 in Department of Energy grant money by creating phony invoices – a plot that he carried out for three years.


    1. See? See? Bush administration!
      So Solyndra Green is no big deal

  23. I think big Pharma is the single most dangerous entity in existence in this country today. Thanks to the way they do business it is almost impossible to make a safe and sane decision about whether or not to vaccinate. Their hench men in the FDA are just plain dangerous so very hard to know who to believe anymore.

    1. I think big Pharma is the single most dangerous entity in existence in this country today.

      Nah. Not even in the same league as the Total State.

    2. Oh yeah it’s so horrible we don’t have bigger and better government to protect us from private companies…really infringes on our liberty…

  24. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/…..;=&ccode;=

    Jobless Claims Post Surprise Rise

    The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose unexpectedly to 428,000 in the week ending September10, the Labor Department said on Thursday.


    Since this is now the morning links thread.

    1. They never expect me.

  25. President Obama’s Tax On Soup Kitchens

    Yesterday, it was announced that an astounding 1 in 6 Americans are living in poverty. President Obama’s response? To demand a tax on donations to soup kitchens and other charities that help people desperately in need. The President’s proposal will impact approximately 40% of all the tax deductible contributions, and essentially penalize soup kitchens, hospitals, and churches that provide essential services to those who need them most. It’s no wonder this tax hike has been rejected on both sides of the aisle.


    1. Fucking competition. Those poor people should be receiving those services from The Government. Goddamn revenue-sapping “charities.”

      1. I lol’d

      2. Funny. Sad though about how many libs actually think that the Govt does better than the churches.

  26. As usual everyone is missing the point and has focused the debate on the advantages and disadvantages of the HPV vaccine. The issue is Rick Perry’s use of an executive order to circumvent the legislative branch of government to create a law. Bush and Obama have used executive orders to rule as if they were kings. We don’t need anymore royalty in the Oval Office.

    1. THere’s two issues here, JT:

      (1) Is Perry a quasi-authoritarian corpocrat?

      (2) Is Bachmann a paranoid idiot?

    2. Sadly, I don’t know my Texas Constitution as well as I know the U.S. one so I’m hazy on if he really overstepped his boundaries here.

    1. You know, I bet he has a crazy life in general.

      1. One awesome thing about Nick Cage is that whenever something like this happens, he gets to say “I must to protect Kal-El from this threat!”

        1. Naming his son Kal-El was either stupid, brilliant, or both.

            1. I wonder if Nick has plans to launch him into space?

    2. “A Fudgesicle is a frozen, ice cream-like snack.”

      I’m glad they cleared that up. I had no idea what they were talking about.

    3. Not quite as horrifying, but I was shaken awake in the middle of the night by a man (who apparently had my room key) who asked if I wanted “a woman”. I guess sleeping peacefully under a mosquito net behind a locked door has a different meaning in China

  27. Actually, my kids’ pediatrician recommended against the vaccine for all but – oh, let’s be blunt – sleezy girls and incestuous families. She did not vaccinate her daughter. She has seen too many side effects, such as headaches that do not go away, to give the shots to anyone who doesn’t need it. She expects the vaccine will improve eventually, but right now, it’s too flawed.

    1. Well I guess there are a shitload of sleazy girls and incestuous families around, because the vast majority of sexually active Americans will contract HPV at some point in their lifetime.

      My own doctor, before I reached the age at which insurance no longer covers the vaccine (because they assume by the time you’re 27 or 28 that it’s too late and you almost definitely have HPV already), told me to get it unless I was 100% sure my boyfriend was “the one” and I would not be seeing anyone else for the rest of my life. Since, you know, 80% of dudes have it too.

    2. Because, as we all know, only loose girls and incestuous family members are having sex as and with teenagers.

      As BRM notes below, even if my niece only ever has sex with one guy and that guy only had sex with one girl before her, but the girl he was with had been the town bicycle, my niece would still be at risk.

  28. This is not one of the better articles at Reason. The purpose of mandatory vaccinations in schools is to protect the health of the children and staff from easily communicable diseases. If 12 year olds are having sex in school we have a larger problem. Secondly, the assertion that if a child spurns the option of chastity the HPV vaccine wont save them from 30 percent of cervical cancers, HPV, or a variety of other nasty bugs. The vaccine costs about 600 dollars per child and must be administered in several injections over a six month period. This choice should be left to the parents and they should pay for it.

    1. Make than HIV.

    2. The reason 12 year olds are vaccinated is because a vaccine only works if you get it before you get the disease, i.e., before they start having sex.

      And it’s difficult to reconcile preaching about personal responsibility while leaving children’s future health at the whims of their possibly ignorant parents.

      1. But the whole point here is how far do you take concern for welfare of children that are not your own, and how — quite frankly — dumb or uncaring do you think most parents are? I don’t believe most parents hate their kids or don’t care about them, or are dumb enough not to trust peer-reviewed and extensively tested vaccines. I guess you think most people are idiots.

        1. or, to be fair, enough people are idiots to prevent herd immunity.

        2. I think a lot more parents become a lot dumber when it’s a question of LITTLE GIRLS and SEX. I’m never in favor of the state requiring anything but as a kid libber I don’t think the parents have any business making this decision either. 12-year-old girls are old enough to decide whether to get a vaccine. And even if you don’t think they are, 14-, 15-, 16-, and 17-year-old girls definitely are.

          1. I completely agree with you Nicole. It should be the kids who have the final say, or at least get to decide affirmatively they want the vaccine and override their parent’s opposition to it (not sure about the other way around).

        3. I very much think most people are idiots. And to the extent that you value personal responsibility, I don’t think it’s fair to force children to suffer the consequences of their parents’ ignorance, at least not beyond a certain baseline of protection. Sure most parents care about their children and want to do what’s best for them, but expecting all parents to know what’s best, especially with ignorant demagogues confusing them, is going to be as successful as expecting all teenagers to be responsible about sex.

          Besides, we’re only talking about one side of things. You could be a perfectly rational and responsible parent, and get your daughter vaccinated, but who’s to say her first sex partners had equally reasonable parents?

          1. uhh, if your daughter’s vaccinated she’s not going to get sick no matter who she screws. That’s the whole point of the vaccine. And see above, I’m totally in favor of free range kids being able to override their parents’ opposition to the vaccine. Parents should NEVER be able to prevent their children from doing something the child thinks is making them safer and is actually proven to make them safe.

          2. So I should have qualified my statement above — I totally support letting KIDS OR parents decide about the vaccine, with kids having the final say (unless perhaps they choose not to get the vacc, in which case the parents might be able to override that…not sure about that scenario, it’s a toughie).

  29. Well..let’s look at this article in a calm, logical light..While we are protecting all of these boys and girls from HPV..and giving them the uneducated..who are numerous, the notion that this vaccine protects them..what happens when they acquire a different STD..or encounter a pregnancy from having unprotected sex. By the way..you’re going to have to show me the stats where the vaccine protects against 70%..read a lot about it..but that is a new claim. What I have read said it covers a very few out of maybe a hundred or so viruses..Think that whole sales pitch is flawed..

    1. Any time I see anything with ‘Myths vs. Facts’ in the title I know I’m in for some desperate spin.

  30. Mandatory health care insurance no, mandatory health care, si!

    Where did I read that? Oh, yeah, my favorite author.


    And, by the way, I’m sure Damon Root would be fascinated to know that if the Supreme Court says something is constitutional, then it’s constitutional. Because it wouldn’t leave him much to write about.

    1. Don’t miss: Sherlock Holmes and the Vaccine of Death!

      1. Is that anything like The Seven-Percent Solution?

        1. Sort of, but they don’t put in any cocaine.

    2. Wait. Are you saying the Supreme Court never gets constitutionality wrong?

      1. It’s not that simple, anyway. The branches all have exactly equal rights to interpret the constitutionality of any government action or law. If the president deems something unconstitutional, it’s within his power to refuse to enforce it (or to veto a bill). Yes, he can be impeached, possibly, but that’s just another check on his power. In theory, any branch can take action independently of the others to kill an unconstitutional activity, and it only takes one acting alone to do so.

        We typically avoid constitutional crises, but they are possible in our system if the branches are vehemently opposed to the actions of another branch.

        Besides, the Court can and does act outside of the Constitution. If that’s not the case, then segregation is okay, right? As is interring American citizens? The courts are part of the government and generally support the growth of government, regardless of the Constitution.

  31. I’m so confused. Since when did Reason stop caring about the cause of liberty and start following an establishment mentality?

    1. Sometime after my brain was damaged by vaccines, I think. Really, you shouldn’t go by what I say, because my brain was damaged by vaccines. Sometime before Reason became all establishment, I think.

      1. Maybe they added the cocaine to your batch of vaccine.

  32. Even though the argument for this mandate may be “hey, this time its a good thing”, isn’t it fair to be wary of allowing the executive branch to take such a privilege because history shows that it won’t give it back and will only use that encroachment as a stepping stone for more encroachments. While this vaccination may be the future for this type of cancer research and I have no problem getting my girls vaccinated with it, my concern is that even though it may be a noble cause now…what happens when its not a noble cause and because we were complacent and allowed this mandate we are unable to stop future less noble mandates…Penn said it best, the reason anyone of all ideologies should be afraid of giving their guy that much power is because they aren’t going to be in office forever, and so four to eight (or longer depending on Gubernatorial term limits) when that Executive is gone, the power remains, and the next guy can then wield that power to a less altruistic end. An end which doesn’t justify the means.

    1. Well said. This vaccine is beyond reproach, but what if the next time Perry uses an executive order it’s for a drug or vaccine that isn’t as well tested or does have adverse effects? Isn’t it better to simply say “hey, we’re offering this vaccine, we strongly recommend you get it, please show up and we’ll vaccinate you for free?” There’s the additional point that the more you try to mandate people to do things, even healthy things, the more they may resist. It’s like a parent trying to keep a teenager away from drugs or alcohol…sometimes it’s best not to be too much of a blowhard. And if you think teens are surly, try telling a 30 year old man or woman how to run their lives or their children’s lives — not too hard to discern that could be taken as an insult.

  33. OK. From the top.

    The 70% figure comes from the connection that 70% of all cervical cancer is linked to the two strains of HPV. The other two strains in Gardasil protect against warts and other HPV disease.

    The reason to make it mandatory is that this is a virus that often has no symptoms other than either warts or cancer. So it is possible to contract the virus and spread it to your other partners unkowningly.

    Kids have sex in a pattern that differs from that seen in later life. Sociology research has shown that the image of the “town pump” and the “randy andy” slutty girls and boys is real. That there are a lot of schools or other groups of teens where 1 girl may have sex with 1 boy, but the boy may have had sex with 1 other girl who previously had sex with 20 other guys and maybe a few girls. The outcome of this is that even if your daughter only has sex with one guy on senior prom night, she is really having sex with all the other exposures in his past.

    Thus the rationale for getting the vaccine early. Even if Girl X is a modest, well behaved girl, once she has sex, she is at risk given the sexual clustering seen in adolescence.

    To make it mandatory means that insurance companies MUST pay for it. This is a huge problem as they will frequently refuse even minor things like this to save money in the short term, not counting that there will be not only a reduction of cervical cancer, but even in cervicitis and other non-malignant conditions caused by the virus in the future.

    To make it mandatory, means that kids must get it. Even if they are the spawn of waterheaded morons who can’t see a good thing when it is right in front of them. Thus protecting them from being lifelong victims of their parents idiocy or their “sincerely held beliefs”. The whole problem with the “sincerely held belief” exemption is that these beliefs tend to go right out the door as soon as the first abnormal PAP smear shows up. Mommy and Daddy get to have their “sincerely held belief” and their daughter gets pay for those beliefs by having a hysterectomy at age 27. Yeah, I would take that deal.

    If you are a guy, think about the phone call you get to make to your parents who love your wife like a daughter. Think about how you would tell them that she has cancer and is going to have to have a hysterectomy at age 27.

    The vaccine is a good one. It does not cause autism or retardation. It has a well documented safety profile.

    It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC.

    If making it mandatory means medicaid will cover it, more kids can get it.

    Perry was right to sign the order and a pussy for backing away from it in the debate.

    1. I agree. Well said.

      1. BRM,
        How dare you be so realistic when it comes to adolescent sexual habits? Next thing you’ll be saying cancer of the penis is a bad thing!

  34. “The mandate is hardly beyond criticism. When Perry signed his order, I faulted him for taking the compulsory approach, not because it was an outrageous violation of liberty, but because voluntary efforts had not been given time to succeed and the mandate might provoke resistance. That fear turned out to be accurate, but it doesn’t make him a Big Government bully.”

    Well put. Bachmann is really taking this issue way too far and she’s going to regret it. I thought Ron Paul and even Rick Santorum (surprisingly) had much more reasonable, measured responses to the situation, while still disagreeing with Rick Perry’s methods. But of course the media is going to focus on Bachmann and pretend all Republicans agree with her.

  35. What is so damn hard to understand about the differences between highly contagious diseases like Rubella, Smallpox, Hepatitus, Meningitus, and Diphtheria and a virus like HPV that is transmitted not through casual contact in public, but through sexual activity?

    Isn’t the Libertarian position to have Government protect us from each other, not from ourselves? Until HPV is transmitted through casual public contact, Government has no role in forcing it.

    1. Government has a responsibility to be aware that not everyone is going to be a prissy pants Jesus-loving prude. People have sex. It happens. By making STD vaccines different in this way you’re saying you’re OK with higher instances of STDs, for no reason other than to punish sinners as far as I can tell.

      1. That’s absolutely not what he’s saying. Some vaccines might be passed through other non-sexual, yet still non-contagious ways. For example if someone eats dirt they might get a particular virus that’s only contracted through eating dirt. Or there’s a particular (though very rare) amoeba in the south that’s only contracted by getting stale fresh water up your nose. A far cry from breathing the same air someone else sneezes into.

      2. Mike’s point is that having sex is a much more voluntary act than breathing air. It’s not a value judgement one way or another on the act of sex. I’m a pretty sex-positive person myself, but there are undeniable risks to unprotected sex. Some people like to bungee jump or parachute. I have no problem with that at all — it’s not immoral, but you should know the risks.

        Now of course there is the case of rape, and it is true that rapes are underreported and a serious issue. Some might say it’s almost inevitable that a certain percentage of young girls are going to be raped at some point (a very tragic fact, BTW). But to mitigate that I might suggest making it possible for a rapist to be additionally charged with more assault counts or even murder if he transmits an STD.

        1. If you factor in the fact that most people begin having sex before society judges them responsible enough to vote, it becomes more like casual contact than a conscious risk. I’m just not sure the difference matters that much with respect to treating a common issue like communicable disease. The most irresponsible choice involved here is not getting vaccinated. We should be pointing the finger of blame at ignorant demagogues like Michelle Bachmann, who is a fully grown adult, before we point it at kids who might make poor decisions.

          1. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone! Kids get sex ed very early these days and I strongly support full, condom-based (with abstinence also mentioned since it’s the only completely foolproof method) sexual education courses in school cirriculums.

            1. I guess I just don’t see what the important difference is between polio and cervical cancer that makes one more acceptable for society to tolerate in greater numbers by making vaccination optional–not only optional, but subject to demagoguery from the likes of fools like Bachmann. Talking about how much choice involved seems beside the point, and likely results from an overoptimistic idea of how much young people’s sex lives can be controlled.

      3. @ Tony, a “prissy pants Jesus-loving prude” Thanks for being clueless.

        Thanks also to Matt for actually putting some thought into what I was saying. It’s much easier to take the Tony approach.

      4. Why take a chance? Maybe God won’t punish them after they die.

  36. The slippery slope issue is the biggest one here. Yes this vaccine was innocuous, but once you establish a precedent for executive power to be used to mandate it, it’s not a giant leap to imagine that a future executive order might be used to mandate a much riskier product as a result of pressure by special interests

    1. That’s not a bad point, but the other slippery slope is when we start telling parents that their poorly informed “freedom” matters more than their kids not getting cancer. Scientific fact should inform the debate before all else, and that says we can decrease the rate of cervical cancer by getting kids vaccinated before they start having sex. These decisions should probably not be made by executive fiat, by but a science-informed technocratic public policy apparatus. Both your fears and mine are realized principally by having ignorant people in public office.

      1. Fair enough, I do acknowledge your points on this, Tony.

        Maybe I’m being too skeptical about government intentions. I’m not denying a mandate may very well achieve herd immunity better than voluntary vaccination. But there’s a lot of factors to weigh here. I’m weighing personal liberty a little bit more in this case since the disease is not quite as communicable as the flu. But I agree it is a thorny issue for both sides, and I think this should be a nuanced, respectful debate.

    2. And there’s every reason to believe that Perry is motivated at least as much by crony capitalism as by public health concerns. That’s why healthcare should not be a for-profit commodity.

      1. Sorry man I’ve gotta disagree with you on that last point.

        Government agencies are just ruthless in pursuing higher budgets and “justifying their existence” than private businesses. Why do you think the Pentagon budget is so bloated? They’ve become experts at stoking public fear to bring home the bacon at the expense of real security. No reason to think a huge Ministry of Medicine wouldn’t act the same way.

        1. “Special interests” can exist within the government just as easily as they can exist outside of it

        2. The Pentagon is a special case in that it has historically been immune to the politics of penny pinching. But surely you’re not suggesting we not have a defense department at all. My feeling is that healthcare should be as much a public concern as national defense, and you can’t get universal healthcare through the private sector. So once you get there you have to apply the same checks and balances and standards that you’d hope would exist for any government agency.

          1. We should have a defense department, but not one that completely crowds out private security firms and contractors.

            You seem to suggest having a behemoth health ministry that completely eclipses the private market.

            1. and by the way the private market will exist regardless of whether government outlaws it.

              Bribes are a de facto market mechanism, and so of course is the black market. And I don’t care if the government tortures bribe-takers or underground marketers on the rack, they’re going to exist. Everyone has a price whether you like that or not. The market is a force of nature, you might as well mandate 2 + 2 equal 5.

              1. I suspect that any universal scheme in the US will not completely destroy the private healthcare sector. It would probably just be the same private provider system we have with government picking up the tab. If we were smart we’d mandate efficiencies and such to save us money. But one thing’s for damn sure: we have the most privatized healthcare system in the civilized world, and it’s also the least efficient and most expensive per capita. So it’s not always the case that government is less efficient than the market.

                1. Well “eliminating the for-profit component” of medicine sounds awfully like outlawing the private sector to me.

                2. Well, the MDs’s labor union (the AMA) might have something to do with that.

      2. This is idiotic.

        You do realize that to achieve this you’d have to not only nationalize direct health care providers like hospitals, but also every company that manufactures anything a hospital uses – not just drugs, vaccines and medical devices, but every damn thing, right down to the floor tiles, soap, bedsheets, thermometers, and body bags?

  37. National SAT reading scores drop to lowest level in nearly 40 years.

    And this in spite of the test being systematically dumbed down. More evidence that pouring more money into the schools hasn’t done anything. Not good to say the least.

  38. Look, I believe strongly that herd immunity is a valid point. And for major, highly contagious plagues mandates are probably justified.

    But this case does not involve that. As much as I believe in women’s rights and as much as I am committed to not berating women or men for having premarital sex, there is a conflict here between liberty and authoritarian control. That’s what this is about. I hate the Christian Bible-thumping “sex bad” mentality as much as anyone. But making executive orders the way to go might mean that a Bible-thumping executive could impose a theocracy in the future. Be careful what you wish for!

  39. Yes thousands of woman get cervical cancer but I read somewhere else that this vaccine only goes after one form of cervical cancer a form that is so rare that in a 20 year period fewer than 300 woman of any age get that form of cervical cancer. Once again making it an over reaction by the government. I don’t remember where I read it but if anybody else knows I’d like confirmation.

    1. I think I read it here on reason.

      1. Based on this Info I’ll retract my earlier statement.

        1. I retract my retraction based on an article today in New Scientist. a very liberal British science magazine


  40. The whole reason morons like Bachmann are bashing the vaccine now is that Perry made a paternalistic decision to impose an executive order. Had Perry perhaps been a bit more nuanced in his approach, maybe there wouldn’t even be this “debate.” Of course morons like Bachmann will always be with us, I just don’t like giving them meat like a vaccine to chew on.

  41. I think I now understand this column. It has nothing to do with vaccines, or the proper role of government, or freedom, or executive vs. legislative authority, or any sort of principles. It is simply an elaborate way to say “I don’t like Michele Bachmann.” Seems like a lot of trouble. I won’t be boting for her either, but I’m not willing to sacrifice priciples just to oppose her.

  42. There’s an opt-out provision for parents. It’s not mandatory vaccination, it’s just a default opt-in. Anyone freaking out about this needs to take a pill and shut the fuck up.

  43. Huh? On the Reason website, a writer is equating being against forced vaccination with being against vaccination, and is saying that because they’re forced to be vaccinated for other things, they should be forced to have this vaccination?

    Aside from the question of whether there should be any forced vaccinations, HPV is different from most other diseases for which people are vaccinated in that it’s impossible to catch it by normal proximity. The one possible ground for compulsory vaccination, that people without it are endangering those around them, simply does not apply here.

    Chapman’s endorsement of forced vaccination is simply senseless. Libertarian principles are not “fear-mongering,” even when uttered by a non-libertarian.

    1. HPV is different from most other diseases for which people are vaccinated in that it’s impossible to catch it by normal proximity.

      Sex is normal proximity. 80% of the population is infected with HPV! This certainly qualifies as a public health concern in my opinion.

      1. 80% of the population is infected with HPV!


        no link, no believe

  44. Since journalists are incapable of doing this, and thus quote misleading stats, I’ll perform a bit of statistical analysis for you:

    Two different vaccines block transmission of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes 70 percent of all cervical cancer in this country, as well as most anal cancers and some cancers of the throat, vagina, and penis.

    Each year, says the National Cancer Institute, more than 12,000 American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer alone, and some 4,000 will die of it.

    Assuming the HPV infection rate is about 10% per year (a high estimate):

    P( death by cc | cerv cancer ) = 1/3
    P( cerv cancer | woman ) = 12000/1.5e7 = 0.0008
    P( HPV | cerv cancer ) = 0.7

    (using Bayes’ Theorem)
    P( cerv cancer | HPV ) = P( HPV | cerv cancer ) * P( cerv cancer ) / ( P( HPV | cerv cancer ) * P( cerv cancer ) + P( HPV | not cerv cancer ) * P( not cerv cancer ) )
    = .7 * .0008 / ( .7 * .0008 + 0.1 * .9992 ) = 0.0056

    P( death by cc | woman ) = 0.0008 * 1/3 = 0.00027

    So basically, the vaccine is designed to prevent an infection that kills .027% of the female population yearly, and causes cervical cancer in .08% of the female population.

    Sorry, but increasing the driving age by three months would dwarf the amount of lives saved by forcible vaccination. It’s not sufficient cause to force vaccinations.

    1. Screwed up, actually HPV would appear to cause cervical cancer in only .056% of the female population. The .08% figure was the prevalence of cervical cancer without regard to cause.

  45. More and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children against childhood diseases as the risks inherently involved become more and more clear. The government even has a “Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System” for this reason. The American Academy of Pediatrics is not the end-all-be-all in vaccination information. Steve Chapman should do a bit more research before spouting off about what he thinks is a done deal for all parents. While my argument is not the same as Michele Bachman’s for choosing not to vaccinate my daughter against HPV, it is my inherent right to choose not to vaccinate my daughter against any childhood disease.

  46. It’s easy to play Devil’s Advocate (you should pardon the expression) where the Bachmann-Perry vaccine debate is concerned and wonder if Tea Party folks don’t have a point in Perry’s case. That is, while government may have the right to make a vaccine mandatory for public school admissions, Perry violated the separation of powers doctrine by not running the idea through the state legislature. He took the Texas Republicanism of the legislative branch for granted, and that is a no no. I am rethinking my totally negative opinion of Bachmann. At least she made that point. Not that she fully realized it. Perhaps she was right for the wrong reasons.

    1. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum mad the same point you’re mentioning much better than Bachmann, who basically spent most of her time fear-mongering about the vaccine. Paul and Santorum focused on the separation of powers/personal liberty angle.

  47. My daughter got shingles at 2 from the pox shot, and she always left her shot appointments covered in hives. What were we to do? I understand how vaccines work, but have you ever googled vaccine ingredients? Take a look before you judge parents too harshly for not wanting to stick formaldehyde or worse in their kid. I don’t get into the hearsay, but it is compelling. And if we let the gov’t vax our kids without our consent, where does that overreach of power end?

  48. I agree that Bachmann’s demagoguery of the “mental retardation” issue is stupid and wrong. I also agree that those who demonize all vaccines are wrong and mostly basing it on junk science. But isn’t this a libertarian publication? Is the author really defending forced vaccinations by the government? That issue is separate from the issue of the demagoguery of vaccines. You can be pro-vaccine but anti-government compulsion.

  49. The author is not defending forced vaccinations, nor is P. Rick Perry, nor is Michelle Bachman protesting forced vaccination. This is an argument about one specific vaccine, so your opinion on mandatory vaccines is irrelevant to Bachmann’s comments or Perry’s actions.

    Bachmann was saying this specific vaccine should be non-mandatory within a program of mandatory vaccination. One has the right to question her motives for criticizing this one vaccine, while supporting others.

    1. Fat Steve…I am pro-vaccine, but anti-government mandate. Rick Perry issued an executive order that would’ve mandated this vaccine. If that’s not forced vaccinations, then perhaps you and I have a different definition for the word “mandatory.” I agree that Bachmann jumped the shark with her remarks. But to argue that Perry’s move was correct is odd for a libertarian publication.

    2. “The author is not defending forced vaccinations”

      You should read a little better.
      In the meantime, let me help you out.

      Here is what Chapman said:
      “As early as 1905, the Supreme Court has rejected the notion that anyone has a constitutional right not to be vaccinated.”

      Chapman makes no further comment on this, and so obviously he *accepts* the fact that the supreme court has paved the way for forcible innoculation.
      To use this argument, Chapman therefor agrees with it.

      Another thing Chapman said:
      “When Perry signed his order, I faulted him for taking the compulsory approach, *not because it was an outrageous violation of liberty, but because voluntary efforts had not been given time to succeed and the mandate might provoke resistance.* ”

      In other words, Chapman is saying: tsk tsk on Perry for not giving people the opportunity to innoculate voluntarily, BUT if voluntary innoculation wouldn’t have happened, THEN Perry would have a case for forcible innoculation. Chapman’s problem with Perry’s forcible innoculation is clearly NOT that it was “an outrageous violation of liberty”. He admits it freely.

      Chapman clearly doesn’t even get that if forcible innoculation is a ‘last resort’, then innoculation is ALWAYS forcible. It’s like saying: buy health insurance voluntarily, but if you don’t, we’ll have no choice but to force you. That’s not a fucking choice, is it?

      Chapman very obviously *is* defending forcible innoculation. The fact that he’d only like to see it as a last resort makes no difference. If he feels the alternative to the “wrong choice” can be force, then obviously he is not pro-choice, he is pro-force.

  50. I am really shocked to see so many “ends justify the means” comments by supposed libertarians. This is pretty basic libertarian stuff- your right not to be exposed to something you don’t like stops WAY before the point where a needle has penetrated my skin and entered my vein. Vaccines are awesome, vaccine rejectionists often destroy lives, but seriously, you cannot own your own body if you do not have the right to say “Hey, don’t inject me with that.” You cannot be free if the government can force you to inject something into your body. The ends never justify the means. Rick Perry has REPEATEDLY abused his power as governor to make people conform to what he believes is right. Oh ya- and he KILLED a guy to prove, idk, Texas is tough on crime. Just because Bachmann is a loon doesn’t make what Perry did right, and this is a libertarian’s time to shine- you can either prove you believe in freedom no matter what, or you can be just like a liberal/conservative and say “It’s okay to use force to control people in situations where I know what’s best for them.”

  51. As usual, I find myself at odds with your extrapolations. It also surprises me that you would use the Supreme Court as any sort of bell-weather regarding what constitutes Constitutionally lawful and appropriate actions for the government to mandate upon us!
    It occurs to me that you trot out this “resource” only when it is convenient for you to make a point.
    I have no particular attachments to Michelle Bachmann, although some of the issues she supports also agree with my beliefs.
    It is Perry’s mandating of this drug
    for young women that has had many of up in arms.
    I know from personal debates with members of the Alaskan Libertarian Party that the Laissez Faire policy of “live and let live” does not extend to parental rights. Rather, the Libertarian push for the primacy of Children’s rights, even over the rights of those adults who love them, raise them, feed them, clothe, educate, and provide nurture, shelter, and protection.
    This, to me is an absolutely inexcusable, indefensible position to which many Libertarians stubbornly ascribe.
    If parents do not have rights to protect and defend themselves AND their offspring from the intrusions and tyranny of governments; then of what use is the family unit headed by a Mother and Father?
    Perhaps your alternative would be to insist that all children be reared by Mother State (Federal Gov’t, take your pick!), thereby eliminating the pesky, concerned protectiveness of parents regarding what they believe to be in the best interest of their children.
    Does it not bother you in the least that very young children, even infants, are subjected to a barrage of Federal and State mandated inoculations (with some States requiring eight injections for different “protections” simply to attend Day-Care, and then elementary school?
    These youngsters’ immune systems are still in a stage of very early development when they are forced, (their parents along with them!), into a program of injections “for the greater good”.
    Why do you suppose many parents are home-schooling their children; besides the obvious disgust with the “publik edjoocashin” system? I have talked with some parents who say that they are unwilling to risk the health of their children to such injections until their immune systems are more fully developed.
    These parents aren’t anti-vaccine freaks. These are reasonable folks who just want to give their kids a fighting chance to a healthier life by waiting before dosing.
    For a political party which claims to support only a minimalist government with the least amount of intrusion into the lives of its’ citizenry, you surely do a mighty fine imitation of State-ists when it suits your purpose.
    Perry was out of line, and over-extended his reach as Governor to mandate such a drug to young women.
    Medical decisions are to be made by parents for children until the legal age of consent is reached.

  52. Reason should be ashamed that it allows an article making the case for forcible innoculation by government.

    If government “does NOT know best” in other cases, what makes the author think this is an exception? Just because he agrees with it?

    Either you are in favor of government force against innocents “for their own good”, or you aren’t.

    Giving hypocrites like Chapman room on Reason for his inconsistent philosophy makes all of libertarianism look bad.

    Not because it is “wrong” because that could be a matter of debate; but because he applies libertarian principles selectively how it suits him.

    The fact that Bachmann is more right than Chapman is something Chapman should not be taking as a point of pride.

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