Douchebag Decree: Michele Bachmann and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad HPV Vaccine

"ye olde douchebag decree" in blue letters with a light blue hand-drawn douchebag in the background, and "BITCH HEREBY DECLARES THE FOLLOWING PERSON A TOTAL DOUCHEBAG" in small letters in red underneath.

Sometimes it seems futile to try and separate the wheat from the douche from week to week in politics. You just want to give up. I mean why even bother? But persevere, everyone, because this week we really got one. We found someone who’s douchetastic, factually inaccurate intrusion into women’s health actually made Rick Perry look reasonable. Her flagrant douchery even inspired an auxiliary wave of Internet slut-shaming. That’s right, it’s Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann lambasted Texas governor Rick Perry over his support of Texas’ administering the HPV vaccine to middle-school aged women during the debates on Monday. Following the debate on CNN, Bachmann spoke with Fox News about the HPV vaccine, which can help prevent cervical cancer, among other things. Bachmann related a story from after the debate where a mother spoke of her daughter’s mental retardation resulting from the HPV vaccine. The Republican candidate went to great lengths to remind the interviewer of the “very dangerous side effects.” To make sure everyone heard her loud and clear, she went on the Today Show and noted “there is no second chance for these little girls if there’s any dangerous consequences to their bodies.”

The dangerous consequences like cervical cancer? Because that’s what can happen to a woman infected with HPV. Oh, and mental retardation? The vaccine doesn’t cause it. According to whom? Just about everybody. Even Bachmann’s former adviser is hanging her out to dry.

Suggesting that women risk the chance of contracting cervical cancer because of an ages-old vaccine scare story is dangerous. Perpetuating these myths causes women, and more crucially, parents and their daughters, to hesitate to protect themselves from an easily preventable disease. Spreading misinformation in such a bullheaded manner endangers those prone to believe Bachmann. Twelve thousand women contract cervical cancer every year, and HPV lies at the root of almost every instance. Not to mention the thousands of women that develop other HPV-related cancers.

This is not what Bachmann calls “crony capitalism.” The HPV shot isn’t the “sex shot” it’s been labeled by the mainstream discourse, though Bachmann has yet to realize it. The HPV vaccine doesn’t spontaneously make kids think it’s okay to go have sex everywhere now. The sex-vaccine connection is just about as tenuous as the retardation-vaccine connection. Yet Twitter and some in the blogosphere, highlighted in this Feministe article, seem to feel like shame is the natural way to feel about contracting HPV. Novelist Ayalet Waldman tweeted about her experience of her husband passing HPV to her from a former partner, prompting a Twitter backlash along the lines of “gross, sex, stop!” HPV is a preventable virus in many cases, and we should be educating people on how to stop it (vaccine) and what the risks are (not much, if you get the vaccine).

This is what it all boils down to, here: Know your facts, kids. The HPV vaccine is not dangerous. Michele Bachmann thinks she can scare everyone away from protecting themselves. That’s why she is a douchebag.

Previously: Douchebag Decree: Billy Corgan Decides Transphobia Is the Only Way to Get Attention, Douchebag Decree: Bad Mothering Lawsuit

by Mac Pogue
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12 Comments Have Been Posted

Bachmann declared the HPV vaccine took away choices?

Not only is she a douchebag, she is also the queen of anti-choice irony.

She claims the HPV vaccine takes away choices, when she herself would deny a rape victim the right to choose?

The HPV vaccine doesn't take away girl's choices, politicians like Michelle Bachmann takes away girls choices.

WTF? I thought the debate is

WTF? I thought the debate is about whether the vaccine should be MANDATORY in the state of Texas because of the heavy influence of drug companies, like Merck? It should be a parents' decision or that of the person being vaccinated, not a politician. (Ps. I am not a Bachman supporter, but I don't support *mandatory* vaccines for anyone.)

HPV Irony

I linked this story from my Facebook page, and directly above Bitch Magazine's post was this article ( from a friend of mine. Not trying to perpetuate any misinformation here, I just thought the whole thing was kinda strange...

Actually, it IS crony

Actually, it IS crony capitalism. Perry's friend and former chief of staff, Mike Toomey, was a lobbyist for Merck --the maker of the vaccination. Merck has contributed a significant amount of money to Rick Perry and various groups associated with him over the years.

Not the whole story

I completely agree with you that Bachmann's arguments are way off base. However there are some very legitimate concerns about the vaccine's safety as well as how its approval was fast-tracked and about the impact of Merck's lobbying and financial largesse on those who, like Rick Perry have been promoting it. I have written about this extensively and just posted a piece highlighting those issues on the Feminist Peace Network Blog,

There's always more to it.

<p>There's always more to it. You clearly point out Perry and the rest of the discourse are deflecting the issue that <em>maybe this drug isn't really that important at all</em>. Merck stands to make a lot of money off of this drug, so, if anything, the raised awarness (and pretty unilateral public refutation of Bachmann's claims) just shift the decimal point further to the right on their checks. Thanks for posting this, few (if any) people are bringing up the points you did.</p>

gov. perry is the true douchebag....

I agree Bachman says some nutty things and I do not agree with anything that she is saying about the HPV vaccine, but the real concern here is that Perry signed an executive order that required girls in TX to be administered the HPV vaccine. It is one thing if a parent chooses to have their child vaccinated or if as an adult I chose to obtain the vaccine (which I did shortly after it was available). However, the government should not be forcing parents to vaccinate their daughters for HPV. This is straight up fascism...Its denying people their rights while a large business benefits greatly as a result of a government mandate.

Don't get me wrong, HPV is a widely spread STD, both me and two of my close friends have been affected by it. I wish that the vaccine had been available when we were younger so that this could have been prevented. However, people must be able to choose to make these decisions, not to have it forced upon them by their government.

Gov. Perry is the true douchebag if you ask me....check his record on this and on abortion rights....If you ask me, he is much more of a concern politically since he appears to be leading in the polls and has some frightening ideas about politics.

Wrong answer, Mac. It's not

Wrong answer, Mac. It's not about "the HPV vaccine being safe." It's about the ability to be able to choose whether or not to vaccinate, something the socialist pig government would like to take away from everyone. It's as bad as the government madating Hepatitus B vaccines in children because the parents obviously can't be trusted to know whether or not they have an STD, everyone is automatically deemed as sluts by their standards. We have a right to be informed. The people that get uppity about those of us that choose not to get certain vaxes are the ones that would blindly follow through with what they are told because their doctor told them it was ok. There is plenty, PLENTY of information out there proving that the HPV vaccine is not safe at all, for those that wish to look for it. And since the CDC has been known to cover up the true numbers of women who experience issues like infertility and misscarriages due to being vaccinated with the crap H1N1 vaccine, what is to stop them from covering up the ill effects of Gardasil?


While I think you're right to be skeptical of the government's role in this, please be careful with the language you use in these threads. Referring to a "socialist pig government" and insinuating that people who might want the HPV vaccine are "sluts" are not insults we care to host here.

Mountains & Molehills?

Wow ... I'm so surprised that the HPV vaccine has become such a contentious issue in the US. Here in the UK I was part of the first wave of girls having the vaccine (aged 16 and 17) and there was very little debate - we just went ahead and had it. And of the 900 girls at my school who would have received the vaccine at the same time as me, I don't believe there were any side effects above the level of achey arm ...

I chose HPV vaccine

I just wanted to thank the Planned Parenthood doctors who helped me get Gardasil in Illinois and Washington state. I chose to be vaccinated in my 20s due to a history of cancer in my family. My sisters have also been vaccinated and it did NOT make any of us retarded or sluts. Even an abstinent person might want to protect her health, not knowing what her future partners have been exposed to. I was exposed to HPV and tested negative last year. I wish Michelle Bachman respected my right to life and my own medical choices.

Be health conscious

Being health conscious is a must to keep ourselves away from too much expenses. A healthy person can live normally as well. No doctor's prescribed medicine, food, and activities. He's free! The Republican candidate controversy on Sept. 12 raised several questions regarding possible presidential prospects. Michelle Bachmann's statements about the HPV vaccine have raised the ire of medical experts and public-health supports alike. One healthcare professional believes that candidate Michelle Bachmann's statements are entirely factually wrong. In fact, he has set a $10,000 gamble available, daring her to prove him incorrect. It looks like the HPV vaccine is going to get a huge <a title="Even with bad credit, get installment loans online" href="">installment loans</a> from the man.

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