SF Talking Points: Boys Should Get HPV Vaccines, Mississippi Could Outlaw The Pill

Boys can (and should!) get HPV vaccines, too: The CDC is now recommending that boys, as well as girls, get the much-debated, and in our opinion downright miraculous, human papillomavirus vaccine. Why this wasn’t the case from the start, we have no idea. HPV causes cervical cancer, yes, but also mouth and anal cancer. It’s transmitted via men, and most sexually active adults — the ones who were over 25 before the vaccine came out, since 25 is the upper age limit for getting it — contract a form of the virus at least once in their lives. The only way men aren’t involved is that, so far, it’s not detectable on men’s private parts the way it is on pap smears. So women who get it go through a rather laborious cycle of more frequent paps (usually every three months until it clears up) along with a colposcopy (an outpatient, but extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient, biopsy of cervical tissue). The HPV vaccine causes all kinds of debate because, um, from what we can tell some people think their kids are going to run out and have sex afterwards, as if the one thing stopping them was a fear of a virus they likely didn’t know about and certainly couldn’t spell. (Rep. Michele Bachmann used Gov. Rick Perry’s HPV vaccine mandate in Texas to score points in a recent Republican debate. She then later spread false information about the vaccine causing mental retardation, an unforgivable gaffe.) In any case, it’s baffling to us that parents wouldn’t be lining up to get their girls and boys vaccinated against this virus. You know how we’re always looking for a cure for cancer? This is as close as we’re getting for the moment.

Cain faces continuing scrutiny over sexual harassment claims: Sometime Republican Presidential Frontrunner Herman Cain is facing lots of questions about some sexual harassment claims brought against him — and then settled, complete with confidentiality agreement — during his time in the 1990s as head of the National Restaurant Association. But the trouble persists: A lawyer for one of the women who brought the suit told NPR that Cain, during his detailed public denials yesterday, may have violated the terms of the confidentiality agreement. That could open the door for the women to come forward and discuss the allegations in more detail, not likely a good sign for his campaign.

Mississippi abortion measure could outlaw The Pill: All the way up until the ’70s, there were states that still banned contraception … and that could happen again if Mississippi passes a ballot initiative next week that defines a person as “every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.” Some of its supporters — clearly aiming their efforts at outlawing abortion — say that any talk of birth control pills being outlawed because of this initiative is simply a “scare tactic.” But a “Personhood movement” spokesman told NPR otherwise, saying that “any birth control that ends the life of a human being will be impacted by this measure.”

America in Primetime celebrates independent ladies: We loved watching PBS’ first America in Primetime documentary segment last night, which followed the highlights of strong womanhood on TV, from Lucy to Mary to Murphy to Roseanne to the ladies of Grey’s Anatomy. (It’s running a bunch more, so set your DVR.). Though Bitch makes a good point: There’s almost no critical discussion of the bazillions of horrible representations of women on TV. Perhaps that’s implied in the celebration of these few examples: They are, alas, still the exceptions to the sexist rules.

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