HPV Vaccines for Boys, Not Girls: Why We Refuse to Save Girls’ Lives

Now that Michele Bachmann is out of the race, we can look at some of the effects she had on national discourse. One of her most memorable moments was when she said — with no proof, on national TV — that HPV vaccines cause mental retardation.

Then, recently, NPR had a story on how the HPV vaccine for boys seems to have been better received than it was for girls.

The damage done by Bachmann’s statements is difficult to gauge. But the fact that the same vaccine that is so controversial for girls might be acceptable for boys of the same age is, at the very least, disturbing.

When we hear about lethal gender discrimination, we think of countries like Ethiopia, where, as NYT’s columnist Nicholas Kristof retells, when resources are low, girls are starved in favor of their brothers. But the same is happening here, where parents are so disturbed by the notion of their daughters having sex, that they rather they get cancer (or any other STD for that matter), than have them vaccinated. How crazy is this?

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