Great, now I can jab rusty nails in my feet!

seal
When choosing between sex and death, conservative religious nuts will choose death every time — so long as it’s women and girls they’re killing.

Bill Maher gets on my nerves for a lot of reasons — his blatant sexism, for one — but when he’s right, he’s right (even if he can’t help himself from making the requisite hot-chicks-in-a-hot-tub and wives-don’t-put-out jokes). His op/ed about the HPV vaccine calls “pro-family” groups out on their hypocrisy in valuing their daughter’s hymens more than their lives:

Now for the bad news: Not everyone is pleased with this vaccine. That prevents cancer. Christian parent groups and churches nationwide are fighting it. Bridget Maher — no relation, and none planned — of the Family Research Council says giving girls the vaccine is bad, because the girls “may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex.”

Which is really a stretch. People don’t get the vaccine for typhoid and say, “Great, now I can drink the sewer water in Bombay.” It’s like saying if you give a kid a tetanus shot she’ll want to jab rusty nails in her feet. It’s like being against a cure for blindness because it’ll encourage masturbation. It’s like being for salmonella poisoning in peanut butter because it’ll discourage weirdos from spreading it on their ass and calling the dog.

Of course, as Bill knows, the right-wing anti-vaccine logic is entirely divorced from reality — and the wingnuts making that argument don’t care. Because it’s not really about protecting girls. It’s about punishing them:

But let’s be frank: These Christian groups aren’t just against the HPV shot; they’re against family planning and condoms and morning after pills — they want to make sure sex is as dangerous as possible, so that kids know, if they sleep around and get an STD, that’s God teaching them a lesson. And the lesson is, you should never have tried out for “American Idol” in the first place.

Bill uses gender-neutral terms, but the fact is that far-right religious organizations aren’t interested in hurting “kids,” they’re interested in hurting women and girls — and gay men, who, in their estimation, are pretty much the same thing.

Now, there are legitimate criticisms to be made of Big Pharma and Merck’s push to mandate the vaccine, especially after Vioxx. But this is hardly the concern of “family” organizations. Their emphasis is on “protecting” girls by letting them contract diseases, become unintentionally pregnant (and then legally compelling them to give birth), and die of cancer.

That’s wingnut morality for ya. Kind of like how saying “fuck” should get you fired from your job, but spending hundreds of billions of dollars to kill 165,000 people (and counting) is totally applause-worthy. Fuck that.


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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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48 Responses to Great, now I can jab rusty nails in my feet!

  1. RenegadeEvolution says:

    That is what struck me the most about this whole HPV blow out…some people would rather have their children ill and dying than having sex. It just blows my mind.

  2. ako says:

    Wait, a tetanus shot doesn’t mean you’re supposed to stick rusty nails in your feet?

  3. Joe Carter says:

    but when he’s right, he’s right

    Um, but he’s not right. In fact, he completely misrepresents the position of FRC:

    Clarification of 2005 Family Research Council Media Remarks on HPV Vaccine

    In response to initial media inquiries regarding the HPV vaccine in early 2005, an FRC spokesman raised the question of whether a vaccine for a sexually-transmitted disease like HPV could give its recipients a false sense of security and thus make them less cautious about their sexual behavior. The theory that reducing one of the risks of a behavior might make that behavior more common is hardly illogical. There is even a scientific term for this, which is “sexual disinhibition.” In our meetings with Merck regarding the vaccine later that year, they indicated that they were quite aware of the potential for sexual disinhibition, and that they had examined that issue in the course of their clinical trials for the HPV vaccine. They assured us that they had found no evidence for any increase in sexual disinhibition in connection with the vaccine. We had no basis for doubting that claim, but encouraged them to continue to study that issue after approval of the vaccine for general use.

    After extensive study of the vaccine and discussion with medical experts, we concluded that the public health benefits of developing and distributing such a vaccine far outweighed any potential, hypothetical concerns about its impact on sexual behavior. Therefore, we announced in October of 2005 that we would enthusiastically support the development of the vaccine and federal approval of its use, including its addition to the list of vaccines recommended to physicians and of those made available to lower-income families through the Vaccines for Children program. Virtually all pro-family public policy organizations have announced similar support for the vaccine itself.

    Maher is not above lying to make people he disagrees with look bad. Hopefully, though, you have more respect for the fact than he does. ; )

  4. zuzu says:

    an FRC spokesman raised the question of whether a vaccine for a sexually-transmitted disease like HPV could give its recipients a false sense of security and thus make them less cautious about their sexual behavior.

    And how does this show Maher was wrong? This is “virginity or death” couched in warmer, fuzzier language.

    I had a lot of shots when I was a kid. I don’t recall my parents telling me what they were for most of the time.* Why tell your kid that the vaccine has anything to do with sex?

    *Tetanus shots were an exception. Mostly because you got them after you’d broken the skin. But also because my father had had lockjaw as a kid and described it gruesome detail. Oddly enough, the shots didn’t make me feel invincible around rusty nails.

  5. Joe Carter says:

    And how does this show Maher was wrong? This is “virginity or death” couched in warmer, fuzzier language.

    It shows that Maher doesn’t even understand that sexual inhibition is a legitimate medical concern. And are you really saying that Merck advocates a “virginity or death” stance since they tested for sexual inhibition?

    Why tell your kid that the vaccine has anything to do with sex?

    The issue isn’t what you tell girls at 9, it’s what they think at 18. That idiot Maher seemed to think that the vaccine eradicated HPV. If he is already so misled, why wouldn’t a teenage girl get the same impression? What’s wrong with actually telling women the truth? Why should we mislead them in order to maintain some politically-correct view about sex?

  6. LS says:

    And cervical cancer, on the list of “things girls worry about before having sex” is about number… oh, 200, or so. If we eliminate social worries (does he really like me? will the sex be any good?) and stick solely to health, it might jump as high as 40. Cancer is something old people, smokers, and sad little kids get, in the mind of your average teen. I’d be willing to bet that most girls don’t know that HPV = STD = (maybe) cancer. If it was covered in Health Ed, it got lost among the more gruesome stuff like herpes and crabs and all of the other nasty gross-out slides Health Ed teachers show to scare the kids.

    Trust me, fear of HPV/cancer is not stopping even one young woman from having sex.

  7. Anyone else notice the juxtaposition with the next thread? They don’t want the HPV vaccine, they don’t want to fund women’s health…when did it become fair game to threaten our lives?

    I wouldn’t be a big blogwhore like this if I hadn’t just written out a whole post (hat tippily citing y’all, of course) on this.

    And while I’m thinking of it, yay! re: the shirt printer switch. Jill, you rock :)

  8. Jrod says:

    It shows that Maher doesn’t even understand that sexual inhibition is a legitimate medical concern.

    No it isn’t. Some PR shrill pretended it was legitimate to try to appease the idiots who’ve been blocking the vaccine for months.

    Anyone who thinks getting a shot at age 9 will have an effect on promiscuity is full of shit.

    The issue isn’t what you tell girls at 9, it’s what they think at 18. That idiot Maher seemed to think that the vaccine eradicated HPV. If he is already so misled, why wouldn’t a teenage girl get the same impression?

    That idiot, how dare he not make it clear that the vaccine only drastically reduces HPV. But, granting that our hypothetical girl mistakenly believes she’s immune to HPV, um, so? HIV, herpes, clap, crabs, and, pregnancy, to name a few, are still around to keep our kids terrified of sex.

    By the way, believe it or not, almost all girls will eventually have sex. Maybe with only one man, after their wedding day… a man who could be a carrier for HPV without realizing it. It’s sad that pointing this out even matters though. I would think any decent human would be in favor of reducing cancer rates, even for sluts.

  9. schmutzie says:

    What seriously chaps my ass is that if this were a vaccine that would prevent thousands and thousands of men from getting cancer of the penis, every boy would have been innoculated for the last twenty-five years already.

  10. Hawise says:

    Solution- just tell the 9 year olds that they have to do it and march all the boys and girls through a nurse’s station. Add a lice check and a dental exam and the kids will be sufficiently irritated that they won’t care why and what for, they will just want to get it over with and earn the pizza treat that is offered.

    This is NOT about what the children will think and how they will react to being protected from a disease that they have never seen or heard of- most haven’t seen mumps, measles or chicken pox and they still get inoculated against them. This IS about parents who are reacting to hysteria brought about by ‘concerned’ groups who are paid to scare them. These groups make money by scaring people, they wrap themselves in high-faluting language and morality code words and it is all about the money. Anyone who think that only Big Pharma is after money is fooling themselves.

  11. BlackBloc says:

    It should be remembered that some of the most far gone fundie sects oppose any and all vaccination on principle, because they reject the germs theory of illness. God made you sick, so you should be praying for his forgiveness, not getting needles from secular humanist satanist doctors (probably filled with drugs!)

    Given that some of these ‘family’ groups will accept any crackpot for the Lord as long as they’re dedicated enough to ‘the Cause’, it might just be that a few of their leaders subscribe to these beliefs.

  12. A couple of weeks ago, I caught the end of that stupid game show 1 vs. 100. It was sort of like Millionaire in a way. A dude was being asked the $100,000 question.

    If you are an actress trying out in a Shakesperean Play, what part do you have the least chance of getting?

    a. Ophelia b. Desdemona c. Rubella

    I nearly had an anneurism watching this dumb cluck call up one of his ‘lifelines’ (or whatever they call it) to get the answer pared down to C. While the host (Bob Sagat, quality!) was drumming up suspense for the audience, he was asking the guy “Do you have kids?” and he was going on about how he has two children (like, four or something) and finally they tell him that yes, C was right — that Rubella was the German Measles and he wins the money hooray.

    But it really drove home to me — that not only do the kids not know what they’re getting (because the R in MMR shots — required to attend school — is for Rubella), but the parents don’t know either. It just pisses me off the whole “this will encourage promiscuity” because it’s total bullshit.

  13. BlackBloc says:

    Anyone who think that only Big Pharma is after money is fooling themselves.

    Big Pharma is only after money but at least they have to jump through FDA hoops. ‘Natural’ cures don’t have any oversight, so even if you believe they work (which I don’t, but I’ll pretend here), what makes you think the guy is really slipping essence of X in that pill instead of selling you diluted jism (though I’m sure diluted jism is supposed to cure *something*)?

    I mean, if I was after money I’d bottle water and sell it as ‘oxygenated hydrogen’ or some such tripe. Even better, sell a book documenting all the ‘cures’ that you can come up off the top of your head with and sell that for massive amounts of dollar (I’m looking at you, Kevin Trudeau).

  14. Frumious B says:

    What seriously chaps my ass is that if this were a vaccine that would prevent thousands and thousands of men from getting cancer of the penis, every boy would have been innoculated for the last twenty-five years already.

    Actually, it would. Penile cancer is also linked to HPV, and it has about the same rate in uncircumcised men as cervical cancer does in women. I asked a group of health professionals why the vaccince wasn’t tested on boys, and one of them told me that it didn’t have benefits for boys. However, my own research at the NIH and CDC showed he was wrong. So why is it that even doctors don’t think penile cancer is a public health concern? My opinion is that there is much more anxiety around women’s parts than around men’s parts. Women’s parts are dirty, mysterious, and tricky, and must be carefully monitored, but The Penis is robust. Men’s health suffers in this respect. You can’t even find an andrologist outside a research hospital.

    Another thing about this vaccine which chaps my ass is that it was only tested on girls and women 9-26. Why is that? It’s not because girls older than 26 already have the virus and won’t benefit, b/c according to recently released statistics on HPV incidence by age and marital status, a substantial percentage of women younger than 26 already have the virus.

  15. Hawise says:

    Big Pharma is only after money but at least they have to jump through FDA hoops.

    Yes and you can doublecheck their results. What gets me are the charitable organizations that don’t/won’t do their research and promote quack medical cures to desperate people. The problem with reasonably safe vaccination programs is that they reduce the number of desperate people. Afterall, anti-polio programs must have been really hard on the iron lung industry but I don’t see alot of people crying about it. Do we need to be cautious about new cures? Sure but the hysteria instituted by some media outlets and the charities that feed them unverified press releases is not a good way to plan public policy.

  16. zuzu says:

    And are you really saying that Merck advocates a “virginity or death” stance since they tested for sexual inhibition?

    The part I quoted was from the FRC, not Merck. However, given that the virus is rampant in the sexually-active population, testing for “sexual inhibition” makes good medical/scientific sense, because you want to be sure that your test subjects haven’t already been exposed.

    The issue isn’t what you tell girls at 9, it’s what they think at 18.

    You know an 18-year-old is an adult, right?

  17. adm says:

    Hey, they can still keep sex-ed out of schools, though, that’ll keep em! Remember that time when we taught kids about slavery, and all of a sudden we had a slave trade again? Or how teaching WWII history results in a rash of Asian murders each year?

    Me neither.

  18. Jivin J says:

    Maher says, “Christian parent groups and churches nationwide are fighting it. ”

    His evidence for this assertion? One quote from one lady who doesn’t happen to even work for that organization anymore and that organization’s official stance happens to be “enthusiastically support the development of the vaccine and federal approval of its use.”

    Maybe Maher is too stupid to understand that because some people don’t want the vaccine to be mandatory doesn’t mean people are “anti-vaccine.” Or maybe he’s too lazy to even research this subject enough to know that (whether to make the vaccine mandatory or not) is the actual issue.

    He claims Tom Coburn is “anti-vaccine” and then provides no evidence for this statement. I could find nothing on Coburn’s web site which says he is opposed to the vaccine. A couple of google searches also left me wondering where the evidence is that Coburn is “anti-vaccine.”

    Maher knows so little about the vaccine, he claims “it could wipe out HPV” when the vaccine only affects a small percentage of HPV strains.

    When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. I think this blog has attempted to beat the Christian-right-hates-the-HPV-vaccine strawman down a few too many times.

  19. Dianne says:

    So why is it that even doctors don’t think penile cancer is a public health concern?

    While I think that your answer to this question is partly right, I think there is another, simpler answer that also contributes: Men see their penises on a daily basis and would notice something growing there much more quickly than a woman would notice anything odd going on in her cervix. On the other hand, I’m not sure how easily you could get a man to go to a doctor with a condition that he knew might lead to getting part of his penis chopped off. In short, it’s time to do the HPV study on men too, prove it safe, and expand the recommendation to both genders.

  20. Thomas says:

    I’m happy to see that the right is frankly saying that “sexual disinhibition” is a concern. It is medical phrasing, but what it really means is “the proper function of sexually transmitted disease is to scare people into not having sex, and we’re concerned about anything that alleviates that fear.”

  21. johanna says:

    Jivin J, as someone whose blog regularly rolls on prolifeblogs.com, I’m surprised you’ve missed Jill Stanek’s repeated pearl-clutching at the thought of vaccinating young women with Garasil (oh, and WTF, I’ll be a big blogwhore, too).

    It’s not just one woman. People toeing the same line were given equal time with medical doctors on the Today show a few weeks ago.

  22. Jivin J says:

    Hi Johanna,
    I could be mistaken but I’ve seen Jill oppose mandating the vaccine not oppose giving people the choice whether to use the vaccine or not.

    If I’m not mistaken, I saw that Today Show segment – was it about Texas and the HPV vaccine? – if so, again that had to do with mandating the vaccine not whether the vaccine itself is horrible.

    The statement by Maher that “Christian parent groups and churches nationwide are fighting it” is simply wrong. Some parents groups and Christian groups are opposed to making the vaccine mandatory (as is the chairman to the CDC) but that doesn’t mean they are opposed to the vaccine.

  23. Mnemosyne says:

    Maher knows so little about the vaccine, he claims “it could wipe out HPV” when the vaccine only affects a small percentage of HPV strains.

    Yes — it affects the cancer-causing strains, which make up only a small percentage of HPV strains. Most strains of HPV are merely annoying, not life-threatening.

    Are you this stupid every day, or is today a special occasion?

  24. zuzu says:

    I could be mistaken but I’ve seen Jill oppose mandating the vaccine not oppose giving people the choice whether to use the vaccine or not.

    The effect of not making the vaccine mandatory is not being able to force insurance companies and Medicaid to cover it. Leading to a whole lot fewer vaccinations.

    Stanek’s against the vaccine, no question. She’s just smart enough to know that if she comes right out and opposes it, she’ll be rightly labeled pro-cancer.

  25. Jill says:

    Maher knows so little about the vaccine, he claims “it could wipe out HPV” when the vaccine only affects a small percentage of HPV strains.

    Yes — it affects the cancer-causing strains, which make up only a small percentage of HPV strains. Most strains of HPV are merely annoying, not life-threatening.

    I’ll clarify further. There are more than a hundred strands of HPV, most of which are harmless. About 30 are sexually transmitted. The HPV vaccine covers four. However, those four are responsible for at least 90 percent of genital warts cases and 70 percent of cervical cancers. And those are extremely conservative estimates — some studies show that the vaccine may prevent 100% of both.

    So the whole “but it only prevents four strains out of hundreds!” is a really silly argument.

  26. Jill says:

    And Jivin, your argument that conservatives only oppose mandating the vaccine is problematic. Star Parker, for example, argues against mandating it because:

    But this is a free country. Remember? Unless there is a compelling reason to use government to mandate, Soviet-style, use of a particular product, then medicines, like all products, should be sold on the free market. Consumers can buy them if they want them.

    Interestingly, I can’t find any other columns of Parker’s where she goes after any other mandated vaccine. I wonder why that could be? Oh, right:

    But the HPV virus, which may lead to cervical cancer, is spread through sexual contact. It is, as Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, aptly put it, a “lifestyle disease.”

    Where are we going as a country when we start mandating vaccines against diseases resulting from behavior we choose?

    It is entirely about teh sex. Parker knows as well as you and I that any mandatory vaccination will allow parents to opt out of having their children vaccinated. She knows that mandating the vaccine is important because it’s the only way to insure that people from all income levels will have access to it. But she’s rather slut-shame and punish girls who have sex. It’s sick.

  27. Jrod says:

    BTW, what’s really annoying about Maher is that he just can’t avoid laughing at his own jokes, including the lame ones. Which, during his opening monologues, is most of them. Fortunately the rest of the show is good.

  28. Jivin J says:

    Mnemosyne,
    I’m stupid because I point out that Maher doesn’t seem to understand the vaccine only affects a couple strains of HPV (that therefore won’t wipe out HPV as he claimed) which don’t even account for all strains that cause cervical cancer. OK……

    Zuzu,
    Way to make up someone motivations for them with no actual proof.

    Jill,
    I’m not saying the vaccine is bad or useless because it only prevents a small percentage of HPV strains – I’m pointing out how ignorant Maher obviously is. He doesn’t know the first thing about this vaccine.

    So you can play Zuzu’s game of creating motives for someone too?

    I guess you ladies don’t need real arguments or evidence when you have your crystal balls which tell you that people (wait- not all people – just the conservative Christians) who are opposed mandating the vaccine are really just sexophobes who want girls to die from cancer. It must be nice to live in a world where you can ignore every argument you don’t like by presuming/imagining anti-sex, anti-women intentions.

    Are you certain that mandating the vaccine is the only way all girls and young women could have access to it? Is there really no other conceivable way?

  29. Hawise says:

    Jivin, as a mother of an autistic son, I can guarantee that if the argument was being made by serious anti-vaccine people then the rallying cry is that it was out to turn healthy pre-teen girls into autistics. The fact that they are turning to the ‘oh my God, my teenager will discover sex” argument shows where their brains are at and it is below their navel.
    Mandating vaccines is the only proven way of making access universal and with all diseases, the larger the swathe you cut through the populace the greater the herd protection. I would argue that both sexes need to be vaccinated and that it should be put into a regular schedule. The children will write it off as another stupid adult trick and think no more about it than they do any other school program. I do not think that this particular vaccine is quite ready but vaccination programs save lives and the only reason that we forget that is because they are SO successful.

  30. Jrod says:

    Who really cares if Maher is less than 100% up on his medical journal reading, and thus not the world’s greatest expert on the HPV vaccine? Maher knows that the important part is that this vaccine will save lives. And please, he isn’t just wildly guessing that it’s opponents are agin’ it for anti-sex reasons. The vaccine opponents have stated that flat out.

    Sorry, but thinking that sexual inhibition is an important factor to consider in whether this vaccine is used to save lives makes the anti-sex position quite clear.

    Are you certain that mandating the vaccine is the only way all girls and young women could have access to it? Is there really no other conceivable way?

    Worked ok for smallpox…

  31. zuzu says:

    So you can play Zuzu’s game of creating motives for someone too?

    I guess you ladies don’t need real arguments or evidence when you have your crystal balls which tell you that people (wait- not all people – just the conservative Christians) who are opposed mandating the vaccine are really just sexophobes who want girls to die from cancer. It must be nice to live in a world where you can ignore every argument you don’t like by presuming/imagining anti-sex, anti-women intentions.

    Jivin, we are capable of reading subtext. And also using Google to see how the arguments against the vaccine have changed over time as the counterargument that opponents of the vaccine want girls to have cancer has gained traction.

    And we don’t have to imagine anti-sex motivations. They’re right there.

    Are you certain that mandating the vaccine is the only way all girls and young women could have access to it? Is there really no other conceivable way?

    Without a mandate, insurance companies and Medicaid won’t cover it. Without coverage, many parents will opt not to get the vaccine because they can’t afford it (and it isn’t cheap).

    What I don’t understand is the resistance to, say, Gov. Perry’s plan in Texas, which would mandate it so that insurance would have to pay for it and state funds would be available, but would also provide a procedure for parents to opt out. What’s the problem with being able to opt out?

  32. micheyd says:

    Yeah, Jivin, because it protects against only 90% of cervical-cancer-causing strains. ONLY! Therefore, we shouldn’t use it because it doesn’t wipe out the disease completely. Oh my, what a tasty zero-sum game this is…

  33. micheyd says:

    Ahem, 70 of cancer. 90 of warts. Numbers that are awesomely high, anyways.

  34. Pingback: The Christian Crusade against Loose Women » Bligbi

  35. Mnemosyne says:

    I’m stupid because I point out that Maher doesn’t seem to understand the vaccine only affects a couple strains of HPV (that therefore won’t wipe out HPV as he claimed) which don’t even account for all strains that cause cervical cancer. OK……

    Yes, if a vaccine only wipes out 90% of the incidence of disease, we shouldn’t vaccinate at all. In fact, we need to stop vaccinating for measles, since people still get measles despite vaccination.

    Yes, I’m sorry, but you’re stupid. You don’t seem to understand how vaccination works, or how it’s designed to work. Google “herd immunity,” do some reading, and then come back when you have some clue about what you’re trying to discuss.

  36. Dianne says:

    Since someone brought up smallpox…Unless I’m mistaken, humans are the only disease resevoir for HPV. So vaccinate enough people and the four most common cancer causing strains become the next extinct viruses. But only if 99+% of the population is vaccinated for a couple of generations.

  37. mythago says:

    you ladies

    Ah, people like Jivin always tip their hands.

    Since parents will have the absolute right to opt out of the use of this vaccine, what’s the problem, Jivin?

    (That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. I know the answer already, which is that people like Jivin aren’t concerned about THEIR OWN kids; they’re concerned that sluts will go unpunished.)

  38. hipparchia says:

    ok, i’ll jump on the blogwhoring bandwagon too, if i may. i’m bothered by this, and i’m not a conservative.

  39. RacyT says:

    Slightly off-topic, but I’ve always gotten the impression that Maher laughs at some of his jokes because they are bad and he knows it. The sexist jokes are a little annoying, yes… but there’s just jokes, so I try to ignore them. When it comes to serious issues, he usually steps up to the plate.

    I bring this up because yesterday I watched an episode of Real Time on Youtube from last week where one of his guests was Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It was a great episode and she is very inspiring. She runs circles around the Repub on the show since she obviously knows more about Islam than he does. I recommend checking it out.

  40. Joe Carter says:

    Mnemosyne Yes — it affects the cancer-causing strains, which make up only a small percentage of HPV strains. Most strains of HPV are merely annoying, not life-threatening.

    No, actually, it doesn’t prevent all cancer-causing strains of HPV. That is where Maher—and you—are wrong. If you care about truth (rather than just “truthiness”) the difference between “all” and “some” is a big distinction.

    Are you this stupid every day, or is today a special occasion?

    You might want to check your facts before you start calling people stupid.

    Jrod Sorry, but thinking that sexual inhibition is an important factor to consider in whether this vaccine is used to save lives makes the anti-sex position quite clear
    So the CDC and Merck—two groups that examined the sexual disinhibition issue—are “anti-sex.”

  41. Mnemosyne says:

    No, actually, it doesn’t prevent all cancer-causing strains of HPV. That is where Maher—and you—are wrong. If you care about truth (rather than just “truthiness”) the difference between “all” and “some” is a big distinction.

    Yes, it’s true. The HPV vaccination only protects against 90% of the cancer-causing strains. Clearly, then, it’s completely useless and shouldn’t be used at all.

    So we need to immediately stop vaccinating kids for measles, right? After all, it doesn’t prevent 100% of vaccinated kids from getting the measles, so why should we do it at all?

    Again, you don’t seem to understand much about how vaccination actually works and so you spend your time playing word games along the lines of what the definition of is is.

  42. mythago says:

    the difference between “all” and “some” is a big distinction.

    So is the difference between “some” and “most”. Wonder why you are spending so much energy to pretend that “not 100%” means “useless”?

  43. Laser Potato says:

    Might as well get rid of the airbags in my car, cuz airbags don’t work perfectly 100% of the time…
    Windshield wipers don’t wipe 100% of the windshield, who needs ’em?
    You can’t eat 100% of a coconut, what good is it?
    Quarters? Pah! Useless! They’re not 100% silver anymore!
    See how silly that argument is?

  44. Chicklet says:

    From the “Good Girls Don’t Need No Vaccine” files:

    http://www.cleveland.com/letters/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/opinion/1172914995144500.xml&coll=2

    So what happens if these sparkling clean chaste vessels marry a man who gives them HPV?

  45. Chicklet, the Powah of the Lawd will protect them. As long as they’ve been good girls, men’s god-given right to sow oats shan’t affect them. It’s like a condom made of purity!

  46. Chicklet says:

    Did you know the HPV risk is overstated? Unless you’re a slut…

    http://www.rep-am.com/story.php?id=20397

  47. Rachel says:

    Chicklet-
    You got that article wrong. It is talking about getting cervical cancer being correlated to “being a slut”. According to the CDC at least 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. There are other risks of HPV besides cervical cancer- like genital warts, penile cancer (for men), vaginal cancer, anal cancer, etc. Also I find the article wierd that it only talks about cases before women are 59 as about 50% of diagnosis of cervical cancer occurs after that age even if they have gotten HPV before that point (from cancer.org).

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