Conservatism, Health, And Common Sense


The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Sc. I
I am a tainted wether of the flock,
Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground.

True Love Often Overlooks Previous Indiscretions,

Conservatives traditionally resist government intrusion into the home and personal lives of American citizens: Liberals tend to welcome the guiding hand of government into every facet of modern life. This is one of the fundamental differences between Liberalism and Conservatism. During the GOP Debate, Rep. Bachman called Governor Perry on his issuance of an executive order in 2007, requiring all girls in Texas to receive Gardasil, unless a waiver was signed by her parents. Gardasil by Merck, prevents infection of the more common strains of human papilloma virus. These particular viruses, once established, can initiate genital warts, as well as cervical, anal, vulvar, and vaginal cancers. The vaccine Gardasil prevents the infection and consequently prevents the associated diseases.

Texas lawmakers blocked the EO, arguing that the vaccine was too new to be considered safe, others argued that the order preempted parental rights and that the vaccine would encourage young girls to become sexually promiscuous at an early because of a false sense of security provided by the Gardasil.

The Flirtatious and Promiscuous Scarlet Has A Difficult Time Choosing From Her Many Suitors

Michelle Bachman provided an example of personal anecdotal evidence to stress the risk of injecting the vaccine into young girls. Apparently a young mother told her that her daughter suffered mental retardation after being injected with the vaccine. Thus this is more than enough proof for Bachman to refute the scientific studies of over 20,000 women and girls who were injected with the vaccine prior to FDA approval.

The studies concluded that the vaccine was 100% effective, an almost unprecedented result. The most serious side effect was redness, soreness, and swelling of the injection site.

Gardasil may be considered one of the most extraordinary risk-benefit ratios of all pharmaceuticals.

We have government intrusion in our lives; we are now required to wear seat belts and motorcycle helmets. People accept the fact that seat belts make crashes more survivable, as do motorcycle helmets, but the helmets interfere with the image of a bad ass on a motorcycle. Therein lies part of the conflict; much of our choice of transportation is based on an image. An image that we subscribe to and emulate within our own psyche and an image that we want to cultivate in the minds of those who view us. Yet the motorcycle road racer would never consider running down the track at speeds approaching two hundred miles an hour without a helmet, but if helmets save lives in motorcycle wrecks by lessening head trauma, how many lives could be saved if drivers and passengers of cars and trucks were required to wear a helmet. Surely head trauma is a major cause of death on the highway.

Since nearly all people engage in sexual activity, all of us are exposed to the papilloma virus. A rarely discussed fact is that certain men are carriers of the infection. Although they suffer no ill-effects, if they have multiple partners, they can spread the infection to many others, bringing misery and death as an unseemly gift of their sexual prowess.

The public would be enraged, Conservatives particularly, if these carriers of this often lethal infection were identified on the internet so that potential partners could have a choice in avoiding the infection of Don Juan types intent on serial infection of vulnerable maidens. Consequently, we allow carriers to continue to spread untold misery and death among females as a cost of our Constitutional freedoms.

A woman may only have one partner in her sexual life, but if that partner is a carrier of the infection, she will more than likely suffer through one or more of the associated diseases and death as a result.

Will we Conservatives be able to face our daughters and granddaughters if they have contracted one of the dreaded diseases and tell them that it is only collateral damage and a cost of our freedom; she may die secure in the knowledge that she contracted the disease as a free woman and she may now die a free woman, she can also take solace in the fact that the man who infected her will be free to infect many more women and their other partners as well, all in the name of freedom.

We may all rest assured that scientific minds like Michelle Bachman’s can recognize a potential problem when a woman complains that her twelve year old daughter suffered mental retardation after being injected with Gardasil.

As a Conservative, I realize that strict adherence to any ideology leads to fanaticism; common sense must be injected into the mix to keep the ideas and goals viable, but interposing uninformed personal opinions and ignorance into any situation is counter productive and nearly as offensive as falsifying data under the premise of science.

Hypnos and Thanatos (God of death) carrying dead Sarpedon, while Hermes watches.
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The whole hubbub overlooks the fact that Perry wanted an opt-out clause for any parents who chose NOT to have their kids vaccinated. He wasn’t planning on “forcing” anyone. Participation was supposed to be strictly voluntary.
The only question I have about it is the question of whether it was ethical to have the government funding such inoculations with tax dollars. It could be argued as a question of public health… but then again this isn’t the chicken pox here, it’s a SEXUALLY transmitted disease, which makes it a personal moral and ethical responsibility. Is it the government’s job to protect individuals from the consequences of their own immoral decisions? If it is ethical to make the vaccine optional, then shouldn’t it be treated like the flu vaccine and made available to the public for a fee instead?

Effectiveness is no excuse for totalitarianism. If “opt out” makes it “OK” then why not leave it as “opt in”?

This was a colossal blunder by Perry and exposes his big government tenancies, just as the TTC did. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times; you can’t be for limited government if you want to use government to promote your agenda. As I understand it, one of his aides got a cush gig with Merck after this, as to crony capitalism, I have little doubt Perry benefited from this.

I live in TX and have for 20 years, and the conservatives I know here don’t trust Rick Perry. . . at all.

Oh how the lefties hate Michele Bachmann. In N Dakota this little gal is practically worshiped and adored. Its too bad that a higher profile Perry will grab most of her base vote and some of the Tea Party vote because she belongs out there, debasing and insulting the likes of leg tingly Matthews and blowhard Keef Dolbermann. Some useful idiots in the MSM say that she’s too well prepared for all debates. Which is it- dumb as a rock or too sharp a cookie? She’s responsible for outing most of the Obamacare and Pigford scandals. She’s huge on Fox and Talk Radio. She’s not afraid of the corrupt media and usually leaves a mark when she’s done with them. In a way, she debates like Liz Cheney. She’s cabinet material and would do well putting the IRS back in its cave. A beer, a joint, and some popcorn- fun to watch.

Come on, now, Al— the man admitted it was a bad idea in retrospect. And even then, he proposed it as a voluntary option; any parent who objected could opt out.

If he was all that “big government” he would have rammed it through, Pelosi style, and had penalty fees for anyone who refused.

If Perry’s first impulse is that he knows what’s good for us and will therefore make the executive decision without our consent, he is on some level fulfilling the mandate of his office. However, our government is by design, supposed to function with the consent of the governed.
Without a good constitutional conscience, any president, as we have seen, can easily drift into the role of emperor.

@RHJunior: You’re raising some great issues there, RHJunior.
As to using tax dollars, you point out it is a sexually transmitted disease and then ask;
is it the government’s job to protect individuals from the consequences of their own immoral decisions?

The government cannot protect people from all of the consequences of their own immorality.
But very few men who spread sexual disease, like this human papilloma virus, pay for the total cost to their victims.
Multiple infections of STDs often leads females to PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) and the infertility that comes from that.
HIV/AIDS is somewhat treatable but, depending on how well one complies with all of the doctor’s orders you might still quickly progress into full-blown AIDS and death.
What the government can do is limit the damage that results from those few immoral ”Typhoid Marys,” who pass their infections on to others.
Our public schools already pass out free condoms.
Girls can get free birth control without parental knowledge.
Some local governments have needle exchanges, as some so-called sexually transmitted diseases are also spread by shared needles.

You are probably too young to have been at risk for polio.
I’m not.
I had many friends with it, one who I had to start visiting next to her ”iron lung” as a result of how bad her case was.
Others I knew were in wheelchairs, or wore leg braces or carried two canes in classes with me.
Then came the vaccines.
You didn’t have to tell us twice why we were standing in an entire school-long line to get our sugar cube treated dose.
If this human papilloma virus were as immediate and visually obvious as polio was I bet people of all ages would be just as enthusiastic to prevent it.
Historically, many governments have (during wartime) tried unsuccessfully to keep their soldiers in line (sexually) because of the prevalence and invisibility of STDs.

But that’s so rational of you–quite a change from your usual dose of opinion.

Yet, your remark retains its inconsequential irrelevance, lib; we note your posts with consistency, if nothing else.

@RHJunior: He wanted to “ram it through” but couldn’t, he also wanted to “ram through the trans Texas corridor” by taking private land so a Spanish company could build a super highway for Mexican trucks to carry Chicom goods over. He’s proud of instate tuition for illegals, doesn’t want a border fence, etc., etc.

I like what he “says” about social security, but I’m not sure he will act on what he says.

Issues like this are why I left the Republican Party years ago and made the decision to join the Libertarians. So Skook let me get this straight, in your opinion, if Gov. Perry OR Pres. Obama should decide that it is for the best that a particular course of action is required to safeguard the well-being of their constituency and the civilians under their stewardship then it’s okay with you for them to mandate that course of action be followed under penalty of law?

Look my friend I don’t care if any mandate, Obama’s or Perry’s, betters or worsens the living conditions of the people. We are supposed to be a nation governed by law not by the whims of what ever leader currently holds power. We have a process in place to enact law, a bill is proposed, then debated, if found worthy it is then passed into law and if there are unforeseen consequences then the judiciary may overturn that law . To argue that this process is unnecessary and that a chief executive may arbitrarily enact law is to admit that we are ruled by man and not by law. The whole “Executive Order” thing allows the chief executive to circumvent the rule of law and to govern by fiat. THIS MUST STOP!

If the people of Texas wanted this particular vaccination program to become law then they have every right to enact legislation that would have established such a program but for Gov. Perry to do so on his own is not how our system of government was intended to be run. Your defense of Gov. Perry’s actions is very disheartening and I simply cannot agree with your conclusion.

Have you people lost your minds???

We’ve eliminated horrible afflictions due to MANDATORY vaccinations.

Lay off the crazy pills, okay?

This from Michelle Malkin on the quality of Perry’s efforts on behalf of gardasil:

Firstly, the generalization that liberals are more guilty of intrusion into a person’s personal life than are conservatives is unfair. Who supported sodomy laws and who argued/voted against their repeal (hint: does the name Scalia ring a bell)? Who is in favor of criminalizing abortion? Who supported laws banning the sale of condoms?

To address some assertions:

First, some basic medical facts.

Second, some information about the prevalence of HPV infection in men and women.

Now, some considerations:

Of all the reasons for having sex, a reduction (not elimination) of the threat of getting a single STD has to rank at the very bottom. Do you really think that anyone ever actually weighed the risk of contracting HPV in the heat of passion?

By the way, “protection” (i.e. condoms) only offer good protection against the risk of STDs caused by secretions, i.e. HIV, GC. They are less effective in protecting against HPV, HSV, syphillis.

Virtually all cases of both cervical and anal cancer are caused by HPV; HPV has now passed smoking/drinking as the number one cause of oral cancer.

I previously offered the following in support of Governor Perry’s position on Gardasil and on my position that it should be extended to boys, as well:

We aren’t talking about adults taking responsibility for their own behavior. We are talking about children.

For goodness sake, even the daughter of St. Sarah became pregnant as a teenage minor — presumably that means that she was sexually active. How many partners did she have before hooking up with Levi? Did she pass HPV along to Levi, who passed it along to others?

That’s why it’s a public health problem. It’s no different than any other serious, communicable disease. If a parent wants to be irresponsible with respect to the way that he/she raises her child, with regard to poor diet and lack of exercise, that’s not the same as being irresponsible in allowing their child to become a reservoir of infectious disease, that can be and is transmitted to other members of the community.

Regarding Bachmann’s “mental retardation” claim —

it’s ludicrous. Totally ludicrous.

The “mental retardation” argument is a rehash of the thoroughly discredited notion that vaccines containing thimerosal caused a rapid increase in diagnosed autism cases. That started with a badly-botched report in Lancet that allowed one researcher to manipulate a ridiculously small sample of twelve cases in order to reach far-sweeping conclusions about thimerasol. That preservative hasn’t been included in vaccines for years, at least not in the US, and the rate of autism diagnoses remain unchanged.

The most charitable analysis that can be offered in this case for Bachmann is that she got duped into repeating a vaccine-scare urban legend on national television. It looks more like Bachmann sensed that she had won a point and wanted to go in for the kill, didn’t bother to check the facts, and didn’t care that she was stoking an anti-vaccination paranoid conspiracy theory, either. Neither shines a particularly favorable light on Bachmann.

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

Since Perry’s executive order had an ”opt out,” how could there have been a penalty for not getting vaccinated?
People here are sliding two issues into one.

It is ObamaCare that penalizes people for not getting the coverage he approves.
We (oldsters both beyond childbearing years) MUST both (male and female) pay for abortion coverage.
Because ObamaCare requires it be included in the total care package for everyone.
The penalty is added on your taxes if you disobey.

BTW, Larry, was Huntington Beach involved in the power outage the other day?

Hi Nan. No, the dividing line in the power outage was South Laguna Beach. My brother, who lives there, had power. Across the street and at all points South, they didn’t.

However, I did go and buy a 5000 watt Toshiba portable generator for the lab, in case the next one hits us. (Does anyone know where I can buy/order a 100 foot 240V extension cord?).

I’d stick with Amazon, but they are running low.

Glad you were not affected.
But, as you are seeing, better to be safe than sorry. Best thing to do there Larry is go to your local electrical supply store and buy a 100′ role of 10-3 or 8-3 (depending on your load) double insulated wire and the connectors you need and build your own. If you don’t know how to wire up the connectors they will be happy to show you how to PROPERLY do it.

Hi Nan, looked it up. It’s a standard 120V. I need a 240V. I couldn’t find anything longer than 25′ and I need a 100′ run.

Hi Poppa: Thanks! Huge help. I’ll do it.


@Nan G: there can be a penalty because many school nurses will not tell parents that there is an “opt-out” option. I’m sure that by now most people have heard multiple commercials telling parents to make sure that their kids have been immunized “IT’S THE LAW”. Louisiana (my state) has an opt out for medical reasons or if you have religious prohibitions and is one of 20 states that allow us to opt out for philosophical reasons. But that fact is not advertised, you must know to ask for the form.

I’m not here to argue whether or not vaccines are good or not, it’s how this program was implemented, by executive order, that I disagree with. If the Governor had thought this program was so vital to the interests and health of the people of Texas why not submit a bill to the legislature?

The way Perry tried to put the HPV program into action is what really bothers me about him. Give me the option, let me make an informed decision concerning the welfare of my children, but don’t tell me I have to do this because YOU think it’s what I need to do. Obama/Perry they both think that they know what is best, and both seem to have no qualms about forcing us to bend to their will.

Once again “THE PURPOSE OF THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT TO PROTECT ME” it’s purpose is to protect my RIGHTS!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Hi Poppa:

Once again “THE PURPOSE OF THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT TO PROTECT ME” it’s purpose is to protect my RIGHTS!

It’s really more complicated than that. This isn’t one of those nanny state things where the government is forcing you to do something for your own good (or even for your children’s own good).

The (long accepted) argument for mandatory vaccination (in schools, as a condition for employment, etc.) is that an unvaccinated person puts not only himself at risk but puts others at risk, as well, by potentially serving as a disease reservoir.

Parents may be able to control a lot of things, but the sexual activity of their kids is something which they can’t control. I believe that Sarah Palin is a completely moral and responsible person, but not only could she not control her own daughter, she also couldn’t control herself, when she was a very young woman, if the Glenn Rice tale is to be believed. No knock on Sarah, from a cast the first stone perspective.

HPV is no different from whooping cough or polio, from the standpoint of rationale for mandatory vaccination.


P.S. Perry strikes back:

That was and is a tough topic with no easy answers. And every answer will have those people who disagree with it. I like the one with the option with the choice. But is that the right one? Look at the number of people walking around with HIV/Aids and who do not care who they give it too. Some of them at least. As a matter of fact some of them are extremely angry that they got the walking dead disease, (as some call it)and more than happy to share it with others. Is that ethical, and moral? No. Is it ethical and moral that 12-year-old girls are having sex and babies. No. Yet the State will always try to impose their version of morals and or lack of morals on their citizens. Look at smoking and all the laws and all the discrimination towards smokers, yet people still smoke, look at the enormous cost to societies of obesity, and the individual yet our society encourages people to eat till they drop. Do laws make people good? No. They only make people do good when someone is looking. Sometimes. And common sense? The State has done and is doing everything in its power to eliminate common sense and anything to do with it. I bet Perry wished he had never touched that topic years ago.

No Sir I must disagree, if this plan is so essential to the health of the citizens why is it not in place in the other 49 States, why did Texas repeal the regulation, and why not pass a LAW in the first place instead of mandating it by executive fiat?

Hi Poppa:

No Sir I must disagree, if this plan is so essential to the health of the citizens why is it not in place in the other 49 States, why did Texas repeal the regulation, and why not pass a LAW in the first place instead of mandating it by executive fiat?

Perry was ahead of the curve on this one. I give him credit for being on the right side of history. As to why HPV isn’t currently mandatory elsewhere, the way that pertussis and polio vaccines are mandatory, it’s all politics, and not medical science. On one hand, you have the hysterical vaccines-are-deadly crowd and, on the other hand, you have the “this will just encourage immoral behavior” crowd (with a lot of overlap between these two “crowds”).

I have no doubt, that, down the road, the HPV vaccine will go the way of pertussis, polio, and other vaccines.

The most recent analogy is the hepatitis vaccine. In the beginning, it wasn’t mandatory anywhere. By 2005, it was mandatory in a majority of states, i.e.

I don’t have the latest data, but I’m sure it’s currently approaching universality.

HPV will go the same way; it’s only a matter of how many needless cases of cancer will have been generated through the spread of the virus by unvaccinated people until rationality prevails over emotionalism.

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

I have been working; consequently, I have missed the pumpkin rolling contests.

I suggest you read the title, “Conservatism, Health, And Common Sense” and/or the article again if you feel I am not a Conservative or a fan of Obama’s EOs or Rick Perry’s for that matter. I have neither condoned or condemned Perry’s actions. I have taken exception to Bachman’s grievous error of using anecdotal evidence to refute scientific study.

We as Conservatives are refuting the anecdotal evidence of Al Gore and the fraudulent scientific evidence of East Anglia; this is not the time for presidential candidates to grasp anecdotal evidence to score political points. In my opinion this was above and beyond stupid and I have supported Bachman in the past, but she, like Obama, lacks the pretense of a scientific or critical mind. Probably most of the legislators in DC lack the most elementary scientific training, it is hardly an incriminating factor of exclusion; however, if you don’t know or lack the ability to engage in critical analysis, consult someone before you make a fool of yourself.

This sentence is one that I would have changed if I had been using my “critical analysis”: “Since nearly all people engage in sexual activity, all of us are exposed to the papilloma virus.” It should read from the comma on, “all of us are at risk of exposure to the papilloma virus.”

Asking Conservatives to observe “Common Sense” in regard to health is a far stretch from endorsing EOs. Let’s suppose that the Bubonic Plague was once again ravishing the world and killing one-third of the population. Let’s say there is a vaccine that is 100% effective with no side effects, but people are reluctant to be vaccinated because the disease is only infecting one-third of the population. The people are not using common sense. The Papilloma Virus could well reach these same statistics if they haven’t already. Now I am asking you, are we employing common sense or are we victims of paranoia and ignorance?

I have not endorsed governmental control: I have endorsed the contrary concept in the extreme, I am asking for a measure of common sense and intelligence. My Conservative views are probably regarded by some as being in the realm of extreme. That may be, but they don’t endorse stupidity, paranoia, superstition, and anecdotal bull shit substituting for science.

It is horrible to watch people dying from cancers that can be avoided with a measure of common sense. Perhaps a woman made a mistake or her husband made a mistake years ago; now, she must pay with her life for someone’s indiscretion. The financial costs are astronomical, but the costs in human misery are incalculable; but finally, we have cancers that can be avoided, but we are being asked to employ common sense and that seems to be a bridge too far.

One has to be innoculated from various diseases before they can go to schools and all states require kids to go to school. I even got small pox shots even though small pox doesn’t exist in the wild, just in labs. That’s a far cry from cervical cancer which infects 11,000 women in the U.S. each year and kills 4,000 in the U.S. each year. Annually, there are 473,000 cases of cervical cancer world wide resulting in 253,500 deaths each year. Most of those cases come from the third world, like from where those that hop the boarder into Texas come from. The retail cost of the vaccine is about $300 to $500 for three shots. The same vaccine also fights genital warts. Let’s say somebody gets cervical cancer, the cost if treated early averages $13,340.

Perry was betting that he was saving lives and cutting costs to taxpayers. Bush Jr. did the same thing with body armor for the troops. Those signing up knew they could get shot at but Bush Jr. got enough complaints that it would be better to give the troops body armor and force them to use the armor . $2.5 billion was spent on over 44,000 vests yet 80% of the Marines in Iraq that got shot in the upper chest died because those vests were defective.

I believe Perry and Bush Jr. were both showing leadership in making calls and making adjustments. What Obama shows is having other people make the call and Obama taking credit when it works and blaming others when it fails. Fine comment, Larry, on an outstanding essay by Skookum. Well researched, cogently argued, and elegantly written, it’s easily the best thing I’ve read on this site so far. As a physician, I’m biased in favor of Skookum’s position, but that doesn’t mean he’s incorrect. Interesting links. To be honest, I never heard of HPV until Perry began contemplating throwing his hat in the ring and it became an issue. I imagine a lot of other people are just as ignorant of it as I was so it is a good thing this has surfaced on the national stage. Perhaps it’ll draw more attention to it. The first link you cited stated 20 million Americans are infected with it. That number in itself is large but when you consider those who are too young or too old to be sexually active, it’s even more astounding.

I had been unaware that Perry’s proposal included an opt-out clause. Such are the problems with getting your information from those with their own agenda. That being the case, I have to change my opinion of Perry’s action here (I still have plenty of other reasons to dislike him 🙂 ).
Still some bones to pick with the article and comments, though:
Skook writes: ‘The studies concluded that the vaccine was 100% effective…’
You’re misremembering. Check out Larry’s links, above. Looks more like 60-70%, and that’s only against the targeted strains (which are supposed to be the important ones when it comes to cancer). Ironically, a 100% effective vaccine removes most of the moral dilemma: at that point, only the unvaccinated can get the disease. Normally, even the vaccinated have some risk of infection, so that infected people are still a risk to those who have taken the vaccine. Were it not so, the argument for personal responsibility and consequences would be much stronger.
And also: ‘The most serious side effect was redness, soreness, and swelling of the injection site.’
No, hardly. Check out (go to the second page) for a more complete list. You are describing the most common side effects and claiming that’s all she wrote. It is also worth noting that twenty girls have died after getting the vaccine (of many millions vaccinated). Proponents claim that there is no evidence of a causal link, which is broadly true. I will have to look at the stats on just how many teenage girls (of a similar sized sample) normally just die of sudden illness to see whether the statistics actually bear this out.
Greg@25: you’re playing a bit fast and loose, conflating HPV, warts, and cancer (ignoring the fact that most HPV goes away by itself, most of the rest doesn’t cause warts, and only a small minority of those cases eventually turn to cancer). Luckily for your argument, the cost of the vaccine is probably *not* as high as you suggest, because if it were it would be a bad deal for most people. The odds of getting cancer from HPV are likely as low as one in several thousand, and more to the point the extent of HPV exposure varies considerably depending on personal behavior. At $400, most people would be better off investing the money. But I would expect state subsidies in a case like this. If it’s really a public health issue, it’s poor policy to expect the highest-risk populations (poor people without much thought for the future) to pony up for something they likely can ill afford.

Right now, Gov. Jerry Brown has legislation waiting for his signature that would allow twelve-old-girls to get the Gardasil vaccine without a parent’s permission (after efforts for a mandate failed in 2007).

AB 499 would allow children as young as 12 years old to decide by themselves — without their parents’ involvement — to get vaccines to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

California minor girls can already bypass their parents to get abortions.

At least with the Texas mandate there was the opt-out option.
As the California legislation stands, it would simply push parents out of the decision.

Story here:

Working on the road with just a phone.

People should realize that Hepatitis B is a disease which is most often transmitted by “immoral” activity, to wit, intravenous drug use and sexual activity. Yet Hepatitis B vaccine is mandatory in California, Texas, and virtually every other state. There is no moral or medical difference between the rationale and implications for hepatitis B vaccine, on one hand, and HPV vaccine, on the other hand. HPV vaccination should be mandatory, first and foremost to reduce the reservoir of disease in the community.

A parent may or may not have the right to be irresponsible with their own child, but, should they opt out of having their child vaccinated, they cannot guarantee anyone that their child won’t eventually infect other people’s children. Bristol Palin had sex while an underage child. We don’t know how many partners Bristol had before she hooked up with Levi. We don’t know to whom Bristol may have transmitted HPV. Parents can’t control the sexual activity of their children. They never have been able to do this and they never will.

It’s purely a public health issue. If you disagree, kindly explain how HPV is any different than Hepatitis B.

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

@Larry: It’s purely a public health issue. If you disagree, kindly explain how HPV is any different than Hepatitis B.

HPV differs from Hep B because it is transmitted solely thru genital skin via sexual activity, Larry. It cannot be transmitted via body fluids or blood.

On the other hand, Hep B can be a horizontal transmission via contact with the sores or body fluids. Rather silly to have to explain this to you, don’t you think? My guess is you knew the answer, but you chose to ask it anyway.

However you prefaced your analogy with the observation that Hep B was a “.. disease which is most often transmitted by “immoral” activity”. There are countless types of viruses that you can get thru sexual activity… but you can also get them just by airborne contact transmission as well. i.e. water faucets, papers… anything that someone who hasn’t washed their hands thorough can transmit if there is a bit of body fluid or blood on a shared item. So what’s your point?

I don’t disagree with vaccinations. Even when I was a child, public schools required vaccines against infectious diseases prior to entry. There were opt outs for religious or personal beliefs even then.

However I don’t put infectious diseases that are transmitted via airborne particles or contact with body fluids, which can be inadvertently shared, in the same classification as a disease that is transmitted by behavioral choices. Certainly it should be made available, but it should also be a choice… not a mandate. Otherwise where are the limits for government mandates?

The morning after pill, for example? Even tho the vertical transmission of HPV is rare and low in percentile, it certainly exists. So would that be another domino logic effect of such mandated “protection” against chosen behavior? How about a pregnant teen, infected with HIV or aids… a disease that easily spreads thru vertical transmission. Should there be abortion mandates to prevent one who enters the world, born with the ability to spread AIDs? Are they not a “public health” risk?

Oh the slippery slopes that open up when you allow government to assume the parental role.

Even the CDC respects the parents rights to know.

INRE Perry’s actions on the HPV vaccine… I don’t fault him for wanting to bring this up as an option in the public schools. But, like Poppa T, I’m not happy with this done by executive fiat. Most are implemented by enacted legislation in the individual states., and not EO regulatory actions.

Were my kids still of this age, I’d want to know about the risks and side effects, doing my own research. But I’d likely support them receiving the vaccine. I would *not*, however, relinquish that parental authority to a government entity at any level.

Hi Mata, below is similar to my response on the other thread.

Here are the facts. There has only been a single study in North America in which all the cases of hepatitis B were studied within a single geographic region and each and every person was interviewed by trained public health investigators, in order to determine the route of transmission. I’ll describe these findings further on down, but first I’d like to put my discussion in some context.

Earlier this year, I was an expert witness in a hepatitis B legal case (a bench hearing which lasted for more than 6 months and which generated thousands of pages of public domain transcripts). I was on the stand for a day and a half, and I testified under oath. My entire testimony appears in the public domain verbatim transcripts.

The details of the case and witness testimony (including mine) were summarized in the comprehensive opinion of the Administrative Law Judge who presided over the hearing.

My sworn testimony included what I am now about to explain to you:

Your general quotes from Hepatitis info org (quoted on the other thread) concerning the mode of Hepatitis B transmission vis a vis HPV transmission are very misleading. Most of the papers on hepatitis transmission are derived from collections of cases from a relative handful of major hepatitis referral centers. Patients referred to such centers tend to have very serious disease — quite often referred for liver transplants. Patients referred to such centers are interviewed by hepatitis specialists to determine the probable mode of transmission. Eventually, someone writes a paper. Then someone writes a review. Then someone running a so-called authoritative web site reads the review and produces the sort of misleading information you quote.

The other type of situation where the mode of transmission in a number of patients is reported is in an “outbreak.” In an “outbreak” there is a cluster of cases, traceable to an identifiable source. These tend to be, most often, infections caused by an infected health care worker with open sores or else an improperly maintained medical device.

None of the aforementioned types of studies/publications actually addresses the issue of how most hepatitis B infections are actually acquired, within a community.

The only study in North America in which the origin of community-acquired infections was studied in detail was a very important British Columbia Health Department study, published in 2009.

I quoted this study in my sworn testimony. You’ll need a medical library affiliation to download the full text of the above study, but allow me to excerpt the relevant information.

The public health agency conducting the study is responsible for surveying all regions of British Columbia outside of Vancouver. Thus, it does not include so-called inner city/urban populations. They proceeded to investigate every single case of acute hepatitis B (a reportable disease) diagnosed between 2001-2005. It should also be noted that many cases of hepatitis B are relatively mild and go undiagnosed. Again, there is a bias for reported cases to include heavy hepatitis B inoculums, e.g. from intravenous drug users and from men having sex with men, as there is a severe bias for the cases in the major hepatitis centers to have the most severe disease, also from the heaviest inoculums. So these data are, if anything, skewed for identifying cases of hepatitis B identified through mechanisms other than so-called lower risk heterosexual activity.

None-the-less, here’s what the investigators found and reported:

70 cases of acute hepatitis B (from a population of 3.3 million people, during a 4 year period).

47 males 23 females
63% white, 10% East Asian, 9% South Asian, 9% Aboriginal, 10% “other” (i.e. minimal black representation)

Identifiable risk factors

Heterosexual activity 53
Intravenous drug use 20
Incarceration (perhaps a “marker” for either IV drug use or male on male sex) 15

It adds up to be more than 70, because 18 people obviously had more than a single risk factor.

Now, it’s abundantly clear that the number one risk factor for contracting hepatitis in a non-large-urban population is heterosexual activity. Less common risk factors are intravenous drug use and incarceration.

Yes, Hepatitis B is transmitted by blood to blood contact. HPV is transmitted by skin to skin contact. But the number one mechanism through which BOTH are transmitted is heterosexual sexual activity.

Vaccination for Hepatitis B is mandatory for school children in virtually every state in the country (for good reason). This is every bit as much state intrusion into parental control of their offspring as would be mandatory HPV vaccination. The HPV vaccine is every bit as safe as the Hepatitis B vaccine. The idea that HPV vaccination would promote “immoral” activity is no more or less valid than the idea that Hepatitis B vaccination promotes “immoral” activity.

If you disagree with any of the above points, kindly explain.

The key issue is that the state has an well-established interest in protecting the well being of the community, through control of communicable disease. If an adult wants to put himself/herself at risk (e.g. a 60 year old deciding not to get a flu shot or Herpes zoster/”shingles” vaccination), then that is one thing. If an irresponsible parent wants to put put his/her own child at risk, then that’s something quite different (established precedents including not allowing parents to rely solely on faith healing in the case of serious illness).

But where the rubber really meets the road is on the issue of whether an irresponsible parent ought to be permitted to allow his/her child to be a disease reservoir and therefore a threat for the rest of the community (in this case, the community of public school children). It is the well-established precedent that parents do not have the right to expose other people’s children to the risk of infection transmission by their unvaccinated child.

How many partners did Bristol (an underage minor) have before she hooked up with Levi? I’m not picking on Sarah; simply making an obvious point).

Present and past HPV infection is not rare (conservatively found in 50% of men and 25% of women). This can be dramatically reduced through population vaccination, in the same fashion as polio and other communicable diseases. With this reduction, we’ll see a corresponding decline in cervical, anal, oral, and penile cancer.

Michelle Bachmann has done a huge disservice to public health through her unreasoned hysteria.

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

Larry: Yes, Hepatitis B is transmitted by blood to blood contact. HPV is transmitted by skin to skin contact. But the number one mechanism through which BOTH are transmitted is heterosexual sexual activity.

You miss my point, Larry. HPV is transmitted by genital skin contact. Ergo it is a behavior choice. Hep B is transmitted differently, and is not dependent upon sexual activity… whether your study of 70 cases says so or not. As I said, there are any number of diseases that one can get just by being in the same room breathing airborne particles. HPV is not one of those. Kids that get injured may inadvertently transmit Hep. HPV is not one of those.

You asked how Hep B was different than HPV. I answered and you, actually, confirm. You do not need to engage in sexual activities to be exposed to Hep B. You do need to engage in sexual activity to get HPV. One you can be an innocent bystander. The other you need to be a willing participant.

You have not addressed the cascading effect of demanding mandated vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases. Where does the governmental authority, usurping parental authority, end? And do you believe that the majority of parents in the US are “irresponsible”? Because you seem to believe they exist in large numbers, parental authority should justifiably be seized from responsible parents?

Hi Mata (#34),

You aren’t correct. Hepatitis B is transmitted by casual contact only on a vanishingly rare basis. I challenge you to find so much as a single case of Hepatitis B transmitted between school children or even college kids via a route other than sexual activity or intravenous drug usage, or the freak situation of a patient being infected by a health care worker or other breach of sterile technique in a medical setting. In surveying 3.3 million people for 4 years, not a single case of this was found. I can’t find a single case in the medical literature of transmission from child to child which did not involve sex or i.v. drug use.

The justification for Hepatitis B vaccination is not that it protects children from incidentally infecting each other through non-sexual, non-IV drug use routes, it’s that it protects children (who will later grow up to be adults) from hepatitis B infection from all routes of transmission, which are overwhelmingly related to sexual activity (which is virtually universal among human beings) and intravenous drug use. Of greatest importance, with regard to public health policy, is removing the vaccinated individual from the pool of potential carriers of the infection. This is the mechanism which has led to the virtual eradication of diseases such as small pox and polio and the marked reduction in remaining diseases for which vaccination of school age children has been mandated.

I’m certain that casual, non-sexual transmission of HPV occurs more often than casual, non-sexual/non i.v. drug transmission of Hepatitis B. Children get non-genital warts and then infect their genitalia. Children can have genital warts which then infect their fingers and then their mouths, and vice versa. Children can spread warts to other children through skin to skin contact not involving sexual activity. Yes, all of the above are very rare situations, but they are less rare than casual, non-sexual, non-i.v. drug transmission of Hepatitis B. This is entirely predicable from common sense. It’s much easier to spread an infection skin to skin as opposed from blood to blood. This is why HPV infection was/is much more common than hepatitis B infection, even before the introduction of mandatory hepatitis B vaccination (rates of hepatitis B infection have been dramatically reduced in the younger age group, since the introduction of mandatory vaccination).

There’s a huge literature on non-sexual, casual transmission of HPV in children. There is not a correspondingly huge literature on non-sexual, non-i.v. drug transmission of hepatitis B in children.

Here’s a truly small sampling of the available literature on casual transmission of HPV. You won’t find a corresponding literature for casual transmission of hepatitis B.;jsessionid=5B01F82B9A1C67E0B97C14D9B35F00CD.tomcat1?fromPage=online&aid=4704716

The rationale, justification, and scientific support for mandatory HPV vaccination is every bit as strong, and involves precisely the same issues relating to nanny statism, public health, and parental autonomy/authority as in the case of mandatory Hepatitis B vaccination.

Michelle Bachmann has done the nation a huge disservice through her uninformed and erroneous scaremongering. I give Governor Perry great credit for his efforts to help rid America of the scourge of cancers of the cervix, oral cavity, anus, vagina, and penis. It’s regrettable that present day American politics is, once again, standing in the way of good governance for the benefit of all Americans.

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA You aren’t correct. Hepatitis B is transmitted by casual contact only on a vanishingly rare basis. I challenge you to find so much as a single case of Hepatitis B transmitted between school children or even college kids via a route other than sexual activity or intravenous drug usage, or the freak situation of a patient being infected by a health care worker or other breach of sterile technique in a medical setting.

I don’t suppose that, with the increasing popularity of tattoos and body piercings… none of which involve sexual activity… you bothered to consider this with today’s youth.

But I find it interesting you “challenge” me to find a case to prove to you that Hep B can be transmitted other than drug use or sexual activity. As I said, look to health care workers, tattoo artists and piercing artists or their clientele. You know very well it doesn’t require sexual activity to be spread. And since the Hep B virus can live outside of the body for a time, family members are always cautioned about using any personal items (i.e. toothbrushes, glasses, etc) where they can contract the virus.

I suggest we flip this around. Why don’t you show me a case of HPV that was contracted without sexual activity? That’s my argument, Larry. You want to lump Hep B with HPV, and they are not the same. One is solely transmitted via sexual activities. The other doesn’t require sexual activities to be infected. Hang, the flu or a common cold can be contracted via sexual activities… shall we mandate flu shots too?

And I see you still dodge my entire opposition for mandates without an opt in/out… i.e. the “slippery slope” syndrome. Just where does government authority, usurping parental authority, end? And why do you believe the majority of responsible parents must be punished for those you deem irresponsible?

BTW, Larry… maybe I, once again, need to reiterate to you that I would like support having my kids receive the vaccine. What I opposed is a government entity, assuming that decision for me as a parent.

This doesn’t relate so much to Perry since he did have an opt out available. But I most definitely have a problem with government mandating injections and drugs for my kids…. or grandkids. Drugging children seems to be all the fashion in the past 3-4 decades…Ritalin, etal. Seniors are also having the same problem. Large article in this latest issue of AARP on that one.

The state is the largest drug pusher the nation has. And I find it appalling they would be allowed to make decisions, not involving a parent. I find it even more appalling that a few of you here support the government being able to override a parent.

Hi Mata, There’s a precedent dating back many decades that the government can mandate vaccination as a condition for public school attendance. You are perfectly free to risk your own health. You may even be free to risk your kid’s health (although, as noted previously, there are established limits to this). But you don’t have the right to increase the risk to other people’s kids by allowing your child to serve as a potential disease reservoir.

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

Larry, I said I could remember having to get polio, TB etal vaccines as a condition I enroll in public school. In that same comment #32 above, I also said I don’t disagree with vaccines.

I do disagree that government can assume the parental role. Thank heavens in most cases, as I pointed out in my CDC link above, they prefer the parents are notified.

However even back then it was still a parental choice with opt outs… whether based on religion or other beliefs. Then there was the option to to send your child to a private school.

I’ll repeat again… I’m not “allowing my child to serve as a potential disease reservoir”, as you so ungraciously put it. I would likely, after researching the vaccines for the sundry side effects that all have, opt to support my child for getting the vaccine. What I resent is some that believe the government should be able to force this on children, without parental consent. A debate that, after three times put to you, you still ignore.

Hi Mata, I missed your earlier comment:

But I find it interesting you “challenge” me to find a case to prove to you that Hep B can be transmitted other than drug use or sexual activity. As I said, look to health care workers, tattoo artists and piercing artists or their clientele. You know very well it doesn’t require sexual activity to be spread. And since the Hep B virus can live outside of the body for a time, family members are always cautioned about using any personal items (i.e. toothbrushes, glasses, etc) where they can contract the virus.

I suggest we flip this around. Why don’t you show me a case of HPV that was contracted without sexual activity? That’s my argument, Larry. You want to lump Hep B with HPV, and they are not the same. One is solely transmitted via sexual activities. The other doesn’t require sexual activities to be infected. Hang, the flu or a common cold can be contracted via sexual activities… shall we mandate flu shots too?

Hepatitis B is transmitted overwhelmingly through sexual activities and i.v. drug use. These are the garden variety modes of transmission. Things like infected health care workers and tattoo parlors are anecdotal case reports. You are seriously suggesting that hepatitis B vaccine is mandatory to protect children and society from infection from health care workers and tattoo parlors?

Likewise, in HPV, sexual activity is the garden variety mode of transmission. But it can also be spread, anecdotally (and I already provided references — and there are far more such anecdotal references for HPV than for hepatitis B), through non-sexual skin to skin contact (individual scratches anogenital area, gets virus under finger nail, scratches other individual who scratches resulting lesion and then autoinfects self in anogenital and/or oral region. Again, these anecdotal things happen, but they happen more often in the case of HPV than in the case of hepatitis B.

There is no substantive difference whatsoever between the rationale and objections for hepatitis B vaccine, on one hand and HPV vaccine, on the other hand.

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

Larry, I read your links. Not applicable because of the HPV viruses studied. Take, for example, the Wiley abstract for kids and parents. Language used… “provides further confirmation of possible nonsexual transmission of genital HPVs” Or “the mere presence of skin warts in family members does not rule out other sources of infection.” “possible” and “doesn’t rule out”? Sounds like the study of 25 kids – at least six suspected as victims of sexual abuse and three mothers, at least one who was likely to have passed it on at birth since it appeared in the first weeks of life – isn’t exactly a smoking gun.

Here’s another comment from the abstract: “Nonsexual transmission could occur by persons with the lesions taking care of children” Since these are genital warts, I’d wonder exactly why someone was touching their genitals, then touching my child. Wiley didn’t sound that all fired convincing.

Sagepub dealt with vertical transmission. Not a surprise this can be passed on that way. But that’s way before a child is getting vaccines.

Pediatrics Digest is dealing with sexual abuse in children. That is also sexual activity… even as despicable as it is.

But the cincher is that most of the studies you link do not address the highest risk HPVs, such as 16, 18, 31, 45, 33, 35, 39, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 26, 53, 66, 68, 73, and 82. HPV-2 is a common wart. HPV-6 and 11 are common and, according to most research I’ve read, 70% of infections disappear within a year or two in a young person’s body. The high risk, leading to the cervical cancer you are all discussing, are HPV-16, 18, 31, and 45. In fact, most the HPV types that cause genital warts are not the same as those that can potentially increase the risk of genital or anal cancer. Yet these genital warts are the studies you linked to.

This also means the last study from Cambridge, which dealt with HPV-1 thru 4, also isn’t applicable. That would be common, plantar and flat warts. None of these are necessarily high risk for the cervical cancers unless the infection persists.

So I repeat the challenge you decided to pass my way…. tho I don’t suspect it makes the news that a tattoo’ed person, or one with a lot of body piercings, has Hep A, B or C. Not uncommon. However I’m still looking for someone who contracted HPV-16, 18 or the other two major causes of cervical cancer outside of sexual activity. Not all HPVs are the cause of cervical or anal cancers. You simply can’t lump them all into one.

There is no substantive difference whatsoever between the rationale and objections for hepatitis B vaccine, on one hand and HPV vaccine, on the other hand.

I guess I have to keep repeating this, Larry. I have a strong objection to the government… the nation’s #1 drug pusher… mandating my children get a vaccine that is primarily confined to sexual activity. Would I do so? Probably, if I found that the side effects were minimal. Gardasil was only approved in 2006… not exactly a long time to find out long term effects. A second is in development. Cervarix. Gardasil is supposed to provide five years of protection against 6, 11, 16 and 18. However if one has already been exposed to the virus, not so much. It’s so new that, after five years, they don’t know if there will be boosters, or if you have to do the same thing every five years.

Know any one on their second vaccine, Larry? I don’t know about you, but I’m not so much in to providing my children, or grandchildren, as guinea pigs for such a new vaccine.

Like I said… it’s a matter of the parent doing the research, and making the choice for their children. Not the government doing it to provide a wide “condom” type protection against teen sex.


Hi Mata, #39. You are arguing that government should have no right to mandate vaccination as a condition for school attendance. But this battle was fought (and decided) decades ago. Maybe you and Michelle should start a movement to undo the mandatory vaccination programs which have existed in all 50 states for decades.

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

Larry: You are arguing that government should have no right to mandate vaccination as a condition for school attendance.

I did no such thing, Larry. My argument is that the state cannot mandate vaccines without parental consent. Shame on you for distorting my stated opinion because you’re all in a snit, lumping two viruses, transmitted in different ways, as the same.

I’m well aware that state and/or federal can require mandated vaccines of some types as a condition of entry to a public school. However, as even the 2002 John Hopkins study about mandated vaccinations in public schools note, there are exceptions for individual medical, religious, and philosophical objections. At that point, the parent has to decide whether to find a private school that does not implement that mandate, or homeschool.

However parents are those that get the vaccines thru their various doctors prior to enrollment… Hence, parental consent. It is not administered by the school officials.

There have been some exceptions to this… such as schools wanting to administer flu shots or that non-epidemic scare, the H1N1 virus. In Middlesex County, NJ, the school administrators fought against this liability. They decided to leave it up to each school and district, and only if there was a parental consent form.

It was the same in San Antonio, TX, where again parents had to sign a consent form.

My argument is not, nor has never been, that government authorities cannot place mandates. But they cannot do so without parental consent… nor should they be able to do so. It seems that you, and a few others here, argue that parents be damned.. the vaccine should be the government’s choice.