Michele Bachmann, anti-vax ignoramus

Michele Bachmann chooses STD's - watch more funny videos

Michele Bachmann went on national TV this week to tell the world that the HPV vaccine could render women "retarded." Here's Funny or Die's response, which is apt, because while it's funny that Bachmann is such an ignoramus, women who get cancer because they believe her might die. Get it? Funny or die.

Michele Bachmann moves to the left (on crazy conspiracy theories) (via Respectful Insolence)


  1. Anybody know if its true that the Texas bill only had young women legally obligated to get the vaccine and not young men too?  To me, that, rather than potential for adverse risks, would make it far more subject to criticism.  Then again, this is Texas so who knows…..

    1. bklynchris, 

      Yes, it applied only to young females. At the time, the vaccine had not been approved yet for males. Moreover, at the time, the  evidence for HPV causing cancer was only definitive for females not males. It was only later that the evidence for it causing cancer in males became stronger and that it was approved as a vaccine for use in men. 

      1. Thanks for the information.

        I think that the practical point of having males vaccinated, even if they were not at increased risk of  cancer, is that they wouldn’t transmit the disease so readily to their un-vaccinated (there always will be more of them than we’d think) female partners.

          1. Female and male humans are called women and men, or possibly ladies and gentlemen, or boys and girls, depending on context.

          2. I found this side argument rather perturbing.

            Should you just say “the vaccine was not approved for use in boys”? That’s probably the “correct” answer, but it’s ambiguous – was it approved for the use in men, but not boys? Though technically “men” may include “boys” as a subset, in common use there is a clear distinction.

            So, Joshua used “males” as an all-encompassing term, and from context it’s beyond obvious he meant “male humans”. Are we really saying that usage isn’t acceptable?

          3. Well, in this particular case, it does really make it sound like he’s talking about rhesus monkeys rather than people.  It’s one thing to refer to people as males or females with colleagues, but it sounds a bit dehumanizing outside the lab.

            In the hospital it was horribly common to refer to patients by diagnosis, so Mr. Jones and Mrs. Smith would be referred to as my penectomy and my labial cyst.

    2. Anybody know if its true that the Texas bill only had young women legally obligated to get the vaccine and not young men too?  To me, that, rather than potential for adverse risks, would make it far more subject to criticism.

      Texas only required the vaccine for girls (though their parents could opt them out, an oft-overlooked fact in this debate). The question of whether or not young men should get the vaccine too is a tricky one for medical ethicists since the virus poses no known risk to men and the risk of any vaccine, while negligible, is still non-zero.

      1. From what I’ve read, the vaccine isn’t particularly effective either. It’s effective against the varieties of HPV that are targeted, but according to the CDC, about 30% of cancers are not prevented by the vaccine:
        “What does the vaccine not protect against?

        The vaccines do not protect against all HPV types— so they will
        not prevent all cases of cervical cancer. About 30% of cervical cancers
        will not be prevented by the vaccines, so it will be important for
        women to continue getting screened for cervical cancer (regular Pap

        So there’s a bit of cost-benefit analysis missing here. Even ignoring the minimal but non-zero health risks of the vaccine, what justifies paying the high cost of a patent-protected vaccine for something that only improves your odds by a bit more than 2 in 3? I suspect the reason that the manufacturer is lobbying so hard now is because there is a broad spectrum vaccine in the pipeline and they want their money while they can get it.

        1. Even ignoring the minimal but non-zero health risks of the vaccine, what justifies paying the high cost of a patent-protected vaccine for something that only improves your odds by a bit more than 2 in 3?

          How about the thousands and thousands of women who WON’T die of a horrible disease every year if they get the vaccine?If you think a vaccine is expensive then you’ve clearly never seen what end-of-life treatment for someone dying of cancer is like. Even if you’re completely immune to the suffering of others, a vaccine that prevents cancer just makes good economic sense.

    3. Well I think it’s for HPV, which has been linked to cervical cancer (there’s bit more to the story, as the vaccination doesn’t cover all strains for the virus, so the risk remains). That’s why only the laydeez get the vaccination. NVM, just read an update below. Please ignore this.

  2. If people believe her and die then it’s just evolution at work.   Let them believe her. Maybe Michele Bachmann is god’s way of killing off the stupid people.

    1. Yep. It might be higher evolution at it’s finest: dumb folk not willing to believe and accept that they might have to change the way they live for the better of themselves, everyone around them, their country and the planet, turning to some major dumbass preaching dumb.

      I’m from Europe and we definitely have our fair share of ignorant politicians here, but Bachmann is from an entirely different league. The stuff she’s getting away with – lying, treating homosexuals and others as less-than-equal-people and now this – it’s really unheard of. 

      She’s essentially appealing to the part of the US that would rather lie to themselves and have the fifties back, than deal with reality and know their place.

      It’s just awful.

    2. The problem is that natural selection only works if it kills things off before they procreate. Not if it’s because of something they got while already (potentially) procreating.

  3. Crap, Salon is right, that IS a liberal myth.  It never occurred to me to think of it in those terms.  See, this is why I hate the false portrayal of political opinion as a binary or continuum between two poles.  It is worth pointing out that there are plenty of anti-science twits on both sides of the “spectrum,” because there is no spectrum.  Just clumps.

    Oh, also I heart Erin Gibson from her time on infoMania. I miss infoMania!

  4. I often cringe and or face-palm when I see the leaders we have here in Australia.
    But then you Americans come along with this kind of thing, and, well, I just feel so much better.

    Our Prime Minister talks to us as if we’re 2yr olds, but at least she isn’t making wild scientific accusations with no basis. And, most importantly, they don’t incite the power of ‘God”.

    1.  Your Prime Minister may not be a godbot, but with public funded Xian chaplains in public schools, she doesn’t have to be.

      And please remember that Michele Bachmann is only one of over 400 congressional representatives who has little chance of actually becoming president.

      1. They’ve actually just changed the ‘chaplain’ program to allow any qualified counselor to fill the role, Hopefully they’re going to change it so you actually have to have qualifications to do the job. Our Chaplain (I work at a High School) is a nice guy, but seriously, part of his routine was showing kids funny YouTube vids. A start, sure, but when the Ed Dept changed all accounts of people who aren’t Ed Dept employees to cut off YouTube, it was a serious blow to his methodology.

        We need trained and qualified counselors looking after kids with serious problems, not someone whose primary solution is “pray about it.”

         I’ve been counseled by people whose primary solution was “pray, trust in your God” and people who didn’t Have a primary solution, they had a huge range of solutions, and after a lot of digging into who I was, helped me choose a few. No prizes for guessing which one actually helps those of us with serious problems to deal with, rather than just putting it off.

        Yes, some people just need someone to talk to, but when it comes to limited Gov funding, we need to spend it on what’s been proven to work, and that’s people with serious experience and qualifications in looking after troubled kids properly

    2. I often cringe and or face-palm when I see the leaders we have here in Australia. But then you Americans come along with this kind of thing, and, well, I just feel so much better.

      I was living in Australia when Pauline Hanson was at the height of her power and influence. Trust me, they’re pretty much the same all over.

      1. I am So glad we (eventually) came to our senses on that front, One Nation is dead and buried for all intents and purposes, will be very interesting to see how Bob Katter’s “Australian” party will go. I Loved it when the (of Chinese heritage) Sydney MP told her to stop trying to come there and steal other people’s jobs (Hanson was a ‘foreignors are coming to steal our jobs’ reactionary, amongst other stupid things).

        1. I’d just like to say that it makes my day to see someone actually write “intents and purposes” instead of “intensive purposes”.

  5. I don’t think the issue is the vaccine as much as it is the government forcing you to have the vaccine, which scares me a little.  What is the next thing the government is going to force on you?  This is what is confusing me about the Boing Boing community right now.  Normally the government forcing you to do something would have you all up in arms, but because it involves your dislike of Bachmann, you think it is OK.

    1. We’re not a bunch of anarchists. If the government forces its citizens to do something that has obvious benefits, no downside, and is completely based in reality and science, then I have no problem with that.

      1. If the government forces its citizens to do something that has obvious benefits, no downside, and is completely based in reality and science, then I have no problem with that.

        More to the point, when it’s something that benefits everyone, and the benefit to society as a whole increases with the number of people who are vaccinated, government has a legitimate reason to require it.  If it’s something that literally affects only you, prohibition is much harder to justify.  Hence the liberal tendency to simultaneously support banning smoking in public places and legalization of marijuana.

      2. So you’re for banning alcohol then right? Because the negative health effects are clearly defined and understood.

        Your freedom sounds like a prison.

      3. Yes, but you were not being required by law (or in order to attend public school) to be vaccinated for HPV, only women were.

    2. The argument in the case of vaccines of all kinds is that it’s inherently a public issue – you’re not just preventing yourself from getting the disease, you’re also preventing yourself from spreading it to others. It’s further complicated by the fact that getting vaccinated is generally not a choice people make for themselves, but which they make for their children, which is a frequent flaw in overly simplistic libertarian ideals – children cannot simply take responsibility for their own well-being.

      Nevertheless, I do partly agree with you. I’m not fully convinced this is a situation where just allowing people to be stupid is not the best solution.

      1. To add to Moriarty’s comment in the case of children:
        Children also do not have the required social awareness to understand the societal effect of something like mass vaccination, and therefore cannot make this kind of decision.

        Of course, the same seems to be true of the majority of people, which is why it has to be put into law and enforced by government.

    3. Yeah, the Govt’s really bad, forcing young girls to have injections wich will probably prevent them from developing cancer in later life.  Try cracking a science book once in a while.  Let me know when you get there, I’ll be waiting.

    4. This would be one among several vaccines that are required to attend school, college, work in healthcare or the military… nothing new here.  And by golly, I kinda like my MMR… 

    5. This is what is confusing me about the Boing Boing community right now.  Normally the government forcing you to do something would have you all up in arms, but because it involves your dislike of Bachmann, you think it is OK.

      redwing196, Boing Boing has a long and extensive history of being pro-science when it comes to vaccination issues and it has had nothing to do with a “dislike of Bachmann” as you claim.Please at least attempt a modicum of research and base your accusations upon facts.History/Facts/Sources that you should have researched before making said accusation:http://www.google.com/search?n…And more specifically:http://boingboing.net/2009/10/

  6. “Vax” is nonstandard, “vac” is fine to use here and the preferred usage, if you really feel the urge to abbrv.

  7. I don’t really blame Bachmann, she is hardly responsible for being not very bright. But the fact that a major political party has so little respect for the intelligence of the electorate that they would allow such a person to be put forth as a serious candidate for their party, combined with the fact that the republicans’ electoral base actually seems to be seriously considering backing this reason impaired individual is causing me to have palm shaped bruises all over my face. USA! USA! USA!

  8. If only a sane and reasonable female candidate would appear…someone along the lines of the late Barbara Jordan, Kathleen Sebelius, Nancy Kassebaum Baker, or even a more experienced Michelle Obama, I’d be the first one in line to vote for her. Bachmann and Palin wouldn’t have stood a chance.

    Personally, I still think Hillary Clinton was just a little too “snap-judgment” for me to have felt comfortable voting for her.

  9. I think it is worth noting Perry’s apparently uncharacteristic support for good, sensible legislation can be attributed to the significant campaign donations of  the vaccine’s manufacturer.

    1. True.  Especially considering his state’s miraculous economy has the highest percentage of unisured in the US, and the hissy fit he gets when someone mentions the Affordable Care Act.

  10. Worth noting that candidates don’t have to be bright – the planners and campaign managers do.  They’ve (perhaps erroneously) decided that pushing this button will result in more votes, by splintering public opinion and causing some imaginary possible swing.

    I don’t know – when you explain to people the surgical requirements for dealing with Stage 3 cancer cells subsequent to HPV infection, I think a lot of them would leap on the needle themselves.  and yes men should be vaccinated.

    What is this ‘god’ she speaks of?

    1. Worth noting that candidates don’t have to be bright –

      Obviously a true statement considering recent history, but all else being equal, having an intelligent president is preferable to the alternative, isn’t it?

  11. In europe, she could have access to a permanent disability pension ( a good one), she must have any kind of mental illness.

  12. Sorry on which planet is being against vaccines *left* wing? I thought lefties were supposed to be in favour of socialised medicine and mass vaccination as a scientifically proven public health measure that benefits everyone. I know the right wing like to spin black as white so often that it looks like you put everything in the washing machine at once but that’s 1984 newspeak for you. Let’s reclaim our memes for our own and stop accepting whatever the right want to label as left or socialist today and then claim as theirs tomorrow.

    1. A lot of my very left-wing family is also deeply, deeply, anti-Western Medicine. They go to every chiropractor and acupuncturist they can find before going to a hospital.
      People like Dr. Mercola, the alternative medicine guru, are anti-vaccine and very popular with the hippie-dippy newage population.
      Child-killer Jenny McCarthy is a good example of this.

    2. Dave, you nailed it.  I don’t know what’s up with that (clearly retarded :-) ) Salon writer, but wacko anti-gov’t theories certainly are not part of liberalism.   And even less a part of Socialism, which seems to be the current whipping-boy of the teabaggers.

      1. There are numbskull’s in every political camp. Saying all left-wing people are hippies is a pretty gigantic straw-man.. 

  13. Rick Perry’s executive order on HPV vaccinations “mandated” that all girls be protected. But there was an opt-out

    “Rick Perry claims that his executive order allowed parents to opt-out by
    filling out an affidavit objecting to the vaccine for religious or
    philosophical reasons.”

  14. It’s safe to ignore Bachmann, there’s no way she’ll be elected. She’s not a serious candidate, and if nominated her only role will be to give Obama his re-election.

      1. Bull. Even Obama would tear her a new one in the campaign. Likely she and Perry are triangulating an opening for Jeb Bush.

  15. Shouldn’t we be celebrating Michele Bachmann finally supporting a woman’s right to choose?

    Okay, she’s fully behind a woman’s right to choose to get a particularly nasty type of cancer, but it’s progress of a kind.

  16. redwing196 15 minutes ago”So women have control over their own bodies in the abortion debate, but they can be forced to have a vaccine injected….interesting…”those two are not even remotely the same thing

  17. What you people don’t understand is, vaccines killed Jesus and caused global warming. The rise in vaccination has led to a rise in atheism which has caused a decrease in pirates which has led to an increase in global temperatures!

  18. If the federal government had made the vaccine mandatory Perry would still be howling about the intrusiveness of our socialist federal government.  See, there is government and then there is his government. I’m amazed none of the other candidates jumped on that gift, Bachman’s stupidity aside.

  19. It’s clear the GOP is now the pro-cancer party.
    Corporate deregulation and elimination of the EPA will go a long way toward its goal of skyrocketing cancer rates. Hey, if those deaths cut down on Medicare and Social Security spending before those programs are eliminated, all the better.
    There’s a case to be made why the HPV vaccine might not be a good idea (see http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20928-we-need-to-talk-about-hpv-vaccination–seriously.html) but those arguments are lost in the grade-school-level public debate.

  20. If Bachmann really was an ignoramus, this would be a depressing story.  Since she’s not an ignoramus, it’s more than a little frightening that someone so clearly mentally unstable is actually as popular in national politics as she is.

  21. Who hijacked the Republican party?  When did it happen?  Thirty years ago goofballs like Bachman weren’t allowed before a microphone.  Jon Stewart has it so damn easy.

    1. Who hijacked the Republican party? When did it happen? Thirty years ago goofballs like Bachman weren’t allowed before a microphone.

      Once it became obvious that you could get someone with early Alzheimer’s into the White House for eight years, all bets were off. Another eight years of a developmentally delayed crackhead didn’t help. Bush Sr. is the only Republican president since 1976 who was at or above normal adult cognitive functioning.

      To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: Putting one mentally disabled person in the White House looks like misfortune; two looks deliberate.

      1. And don’t forget the Koch bros and their ilk. The dumber the puppet (*cough* Scott Walker), the easier it is to pull its strings.

  22. Don’t worry (at least in California), the State just passed Bill AB499 which allows minors 12 years and older to give consent on vaccines.  It’s specifically aimed at getting kids to get the HPV vaccine.

    1. It’s against our comment policy to hijack a thread to a controversial topic (as if the anti-vaccine subject matter isn’t controversial enough).  That’s why your comment was deleted.

  23. Bachmann and her ilk make me want to believe in the Illuminati, because I can’t imagine they’d let someone as stupid as her hold the nuclear football.

  24. It’s regrettable that she is stupid and irresponsible and thinks a national campaign is an appropriate venue for some free association, conspiracy mongering and “I’m only asking the question” type nonsense.

    But what really perplexes me my about this whole issue is Perry’s response.

    Far be it from me to defend the man (who to my eye looks like GWB minus the qualities you never realised GWB had until you saw Perry – his evil twin), but on a normal planet the correct response would have been. “As Governor of Texas I mandated the HPV vaccine as I believed it would save countless lives and prevent cancer. I fully understood the deeply felt reservations some parents had about the vaccine, and I allowed those who wished to the choice to opt out. I did not however wish to structure the programme on an opt in basis, as I felt this was a serious issue and I did not want lazyness or hysteria to cost a young woman her life. I stand by that decision.”

    Why was that not his reply?

    Why is the very mention of the word “mandate” automatically checkmate in any debate, just as is “tsar” or “socialism”? These Republican debates have become less about discussing policy and more about looking for the first opportunity to label you opponents with one of these tea-party magic words.

    The most vehement of these tea partiers, to whom the candidates were pandering, are completely uninformed, don’t watch the news, and generally receive whatever information they have from Rush, Laura or chain emails, and therefore perceive the whole political realm in terms of these words. Mandate, Tsar, Obamacare, Socialism, Teleprompters are as deep as conservative political thought in the US goes these days. The words themselves have become a shorthand and have supplanted any actual understanding or critical thinking.  Any proposal is dismissed out of hand if an opponent can label it with one of these anti-shibboleths.

    I’m less worried about a single stupid candidate, I’m more concerned about the fact that gross stupidity is suddenly unassailable.

    1. Perry is a gifted politician, Morman Nailer, the type our system both cultivates and loathes. I wager he saw the future while signing the mandate . . . (fast forward) . . . Bachman implodes her own campaign while trying to skewer Perry and, in the process, makes Perry look kindhearted. By limiting his apology to procedure Perry silently affirms his concern for women’s health.  After all, Perry came down on the side of good science, right?  Brilliant.

  25. ohhhh it’s a parody of her, since I don’t follow American politics closely, I thought it was her for a bit, I was like ‘Is she serious!?’

    I guess it seems obvious now that it was a parody…

  26. Republicans refuse to understand science, Democrats refuse to understand economics, Libertarians refuse to say anything that doesn’t piss people off, and Green’s refuse to put down the weed long enough to even understand that they have a political party.

    America’s screwed.

    1. Well nobody in the mainstream sense understands economics, as they assume properties that can not exist in a real life system (such as equilibrium).

  27. It’s culturally weird how to me BB readers are clearly cream of smart+cool people, and I adhere to the majority of the views and understandings expressed here, but when it comes to some subject, like vaccination, I feel like hearing gullible average folks. 
    I don’t mean to be insulting (really!), I just want to express very straightfowardly how it’d sound to me if I’d hear that kind of comments around were I live (Switzerland, as well as France, even if vaccination and healthcare are more controlled and less questionned over there). 
    As this vaccination subject is totally interwined with the Bachmann subject, which I don’t know anything about, I might not get the cleanest picture, but still… I didn’t read the whole thread, but somewhere I saw republican’s don’t get science, democrats don’t get economy. Here though, “vaccination” clearly would not be used as an example of “science”; it’s still experimental, known to have bound immediate risks, potential surprises in the next decades, commercial interests interfering, a history of bent statistics, etc. Vaccination is actually getting more and more controversial.
    It’d be interesting if there was a study on that; the perception about vaccination, about people’s confidence in the health institutions, in different countries…

    1. Vaccination can only be said to be controversial if you listen to less knowledgeable persons like  Jenny McCarthy and Andrew Wakefield. It is very much a science. Claiming otherwise shows a strong bias towards anecdote based science. In other words, not science.. 

      1. Ah yes, doctors are scientists and experts in health so they never make mistakes. One just has to do a little historical research to see how often scientists, especially medical doctors, have been wrong.  Anybody remember Thalidomide and pregnant mothers?  How about asbestos used internally for coronary artery disease?  Even experts make mistakes and blindly accepting the word of experts can result in tragedy.  What harm is there in being cautious?  Vaccines are big money for Big Pharma, why should we blindly trust experts that have a vested interest in these vaccines coming into wide use?  

        1. What harm is there in being cautious? Vaccines are big money for Big Pharma, why should we blindly trust experts that have a vested interest in these vaccines coming into wide use?

          You mean besides the eradication of smallpox? And the near-eradication of polio? And the decrease in morbidity and mortality from measles, etc?

          If Jenny McCarthy had been around fifty years earlier, we would still have rampant polio and smallpox.

          1. Excuse me… before you get too sanctimonious perhaps you ought to do a wee bit of research into the “Lyme’s Disease” vaccine, why it was discontinued and why most doctors that have any stock left will, more or less, refuse to give it to you.  Not every vaccine that comes on the market is “safe and effective”.   I presume you’ve heard of Vioxx as well.  You don’t prove by example you only disprove by example.  So yes… a great many vaccines are safe and effective.  That’s not all of them.

        2. Nobody is claiming that scientists are infallible, that’s pretty much the antithesis to science. Science is mutable and ever changing. But at the moment, vaccines have been proven to be the best weapon we have against horrible, crippling diseases, as Antinous demonstrates. Are those results controversial, in your mind?

    2. per your last statement, right on, I’ve been preaching this for years here and sadly, it is all too often a binary discussion.

  28. I wonder how many people actually saw the clip of Ms Bachmann making the comment. She didn’t say that the HPV vaccine caused retardation.  What she said was that one of her supporters told her about how her daughter got the vaccine and then had a child that turned out to be retarded.  Not the same thing.  But we in this country do have a habit of not fully listening and of twisting words to suite our own beliefs.  Not that I am a supporter of Ms Bachmann, I don’t support her, in fact I am an anarchist and think most politicians are at best corrupt.  I think that we americans are too quick to demonize others that disagree with our positions.  Liberals jumped on Ms. Bachmann’s comments like dogs after a bone. 

    1. So she didn’t say 1 + 1 = 2, she said there was 1, then there was another, and then it was 2. Completely different.

    2. C’mon, Michele Backmann didn’t need to actually say the vaccine caused mental retardation; she only needed to imply it.  Like all good cowards she used inference to imply what she could not say with credibility.  This is exactly the sort of twisted modus operandi we should expect from a woman who owns and operates “Christian Counseling” clinics.

    3. Give it up, she was arguing her point from anecdotal evidence. She was trying to justify her position by playing on our heartstrings and failed miserably. Or at least, with most of us..

  29. I don’t know why everyone is so upset at this politician.
    There is nobody else to blame but the good, salt & earth, folks from Minnesota.

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