Yo Bachmann: Gardasil Does NOT Cause Mental Retardation

As some of you may have unfortunately witnessed in the most recent GOP debate, Michelle Bachmann has stirred a controversy igniting the creativities of conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers everywhere.

The story basically goes like this:

Governor Rick Perry issued an order in Texas to add HPV vaccines to the mandatory list of vaccinations required for grade school. While the order itself was overturned, Bachmann attempted to sting Perry by claiming that the vaccine is dangerous and could cause mental retardation. She claimed that the reason for Perry’s vaccination order was because Merck (the pharma company that produces Gardasil, the vaccine in question) had contributed to Perry’s campaign.

The facts go like this:

  • HPV, Human Papilloma Virus, or more commonly: genital warts is the most common STD worldwide and is the 2nd largest cause of female cancer (CDC).
  • In 2006, the FDA approved the first ever HPV vaccine which protects against most kinds of cancer-causing strains.
  • Investigations by the AMA, CDC, WHO, and other major health organizations have cleared the vaccine as safe. Of 23 million administered dosages, 772 (that’s .003%) reported serious effects. To be fair, all medications will have serious effects in a statistically insignificant portion of the population.
  • There is no evidence to support Bachmann’s claims. Though she has been asked to produce scientific material on the matter, she remains empty-handed.
  • Boys and girls ages 11-12 should be vaccinated before they are sexually active. The vaccination consists of 3 shots and will go a long way to protect the health of the youth and to combat this viciously contagious STD.
  • In the USA we have had mandatory vaccinations for school kids for decades. Parents have always had the option to refrain from vaccinating their kids. This is not changing.
  • But Bachmann hasn’t gone all wrong; there is reason to believe that Gov. Rick Perry is in the pocket of Merck. Most of our politicians have already been bought by large corporations. While this is alarming, unjust, and anger-inducing, it says nothing about the actual safety of Gardasil.

    In the coming year or two, prepare to hear a lot of bullshit coming out of politicians’ mouths about your sexual health. The bullshit is most often seen fountaining from the mouths of the conservative ones.

    The best weapon we have is knowledge. Research their claims against the claims of scientists and/or related professionals before you believe politicians. Arm yourself with information, and go forth powerfully and in good health.


  • ADVICE: He won’t wear condoms.

    I get email:

    Hi laci. I have been watching your show for a long time and I know you always tell us to protect ourselves. I have been trying, but I have one problem. My boyfriend says that he does not want to wear condoms. He will not get tested either. Last night we had sex without one even though I really did not want to. Do you have any advice? Please help me I know I cant be the only person with this problem. Thank you


    J, good for you for trying! You are definitely NOT the only person with this problem. I can’t tell you how many discussions I have had to initiate after hearing some condom hate from my old high school students.

    The fact of the matter is this: you are doing the right thing in taking care of yourself and you have the right to assert your health needs with your partner. If he can’t respect your health, maybe it’s time to reconsider if he actually respects you.

    So, what to do about this refusal to wear condoms. I would say have him get tested so your risk is minimized without condoms…but it sounds like that didn’t go over very well. What excuses is he giving not to wear condoms? Here are some various responses you can give to things he might say:

    Him You
    It doesn’t feel good. 1. I don’t feel good when I don’t feel safe.
    2. The safer I feel, the wilder I get!
    They don’t fit. 1. There are lots of brands and sizes, lets find one that fits.
    2. If it’s too big for a condom, it’s too big for me.
    It ruins the mood. 1. Don’t we create the mood?
    2. I think safety is sexy.
    Just this once. 1. I have lots of condoms, let’s go more than once!
    2. Once more is one time too many for me.
    You think I’m going to give you something? 1. It’s not about you, I always use condoms to protect my health.
    2. Aren’t you worried about the same thing?

    Lastly J, don’t be afraid to be assertive to get what you need, whether that means “sorry then we can’t have sex”, or further discussion. It may help to talk about this anxiety you are having over the condoms situation. Tell him what you need, why you need it, and how your needs are going unmet. I would suggest bringing it up away from where you have sex when you are alone together. Within this discussion, if you feel comfortable, you might also bring up getting tested together. It can be fun – grab lunch together, go to the clinic, have steamy safer sex together when you’re done. :P

    Remember, it’s your body and your health. While many STIs are not serious, some are, and I don’t want to scare you…but it only takes one time to transmit a serious disease. Condoms don’t eliminate that risk, but they do significantly decrease it when used correctly. You deserve a partner who recognizes this and takes your health into account!

    Best of luck,

    PS: General info about using condoms here!