HPV Vaccine: A Litmus Test for Sanity?


If nothing else, Merck’s new HPV vaccine is good fun because it pits sane against insane conservatives. Sally Lieber—a liberal Democrat who caused some to question her sanity when she introduced a bill criminalizing spanking—rang the bout bell in the California legislature when she introduced a bill requiring vaccination for public schoolgirls.

Arnold, a sane if annoying conservative, has said nothing, but included $11.3 million for the program in his 2007-2008 budget.

Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster), apparently coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs, called HPV the result of lifestyle decisions, not contagion. “Is there a more productive way for us to spend the money that may help someone who’s in a health situation that has nothing to do with their personal choices?” he asked, according to the LA Times.

Couldn’t any contagious disease be called the result of personal choices—like swimming in a certain pool, being poor, attending public school, etc.? Fully half of sexually active people contract some form of HPV in their lifetimes—and that’s not unmarried or promiscuous sexually active people, that’s all sexually active people.

The vaccine may or may not be the miracle drug it’s been cracked up to be (largely by maker Merck), but the more conservatives hoot and holler, the more it looks like a reasonable idea.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.