The first vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer, came out five years ago. But now it's become a hot political topic, thanks to a Republican presidential debate in which candidate Michelle Bachmann inveighed against "innocent little 12-year-old girls" being "forced to have a government injection."
Behind the political fireworks is a quieter backlash against a public health strategy that's won powerful advocates in the medical and public health community.
Parents used to think that once their kids were out of elementary school, they were done with vaccines. But the rules are changing.
In California, middle schoolers and high schoolers now have to prove that they're immunized against pertussis, or whooping cough, in order to attend school. It's one of dozens of states that have recently passed laws requiring vaccines for teens and tweens.
In 1948, President Truman endorsed the creation of an Israeli state. Nearly three decades later, before finalizing the Camp David accords, Jimmy Carter became the first U.S. president to call for the creation of a Palestinian "homeland." Presidents have put their own spins on that effort ever since. Here's a sampling:
March 16, 1977 — Carter, at a town hall meeting in Massachusetts, said that after Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist, "There has to be a homeland provided for the Palestinian refugees who have suffered for many, many years."
AMC's Mad Men is one of the big favorites at Sunday night's Emmy Awards — and this past season's most memorable character may have been Don Draper's new secretary, Miss Ida Blankenship.
Played by Randee Heller, Miss Blankenship was a departure from the attractive, attentive young girls that usually wait on Draper. She stole every scene she was in, even in death. Her passing was both shocking and comical and became one of the most talked-about moments of the TV season.
Former President Jimmy Carter urges the United States to not veto the Security Council vote for Palestinian statehood anticipated to take place next week.
"If I were president, I'd be very glad to see the Palestinians have a nation recognized by the United Nations," Carter tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered. "There's no downside to it."
Carter admits that for President Obama, failure to veto "would have some adverse effects perhaps on his political future."
The Big 12, an athletic conference composed of 10 colleges from the Central U.S., may soon need to rebrand itself as the Big 8. The possible departure of two of its members — Texas A&M and the University of Oklahoma — may destabilize not only the Big 12, but also the college football landscape.
The Republican presidential hopefuls will meet in Orlando on Thursday for their next debate. It's an additional opportunity for the candidates to try to set themselves apart in a crowded field. It's also a chance to take stock of the debate moderators.
NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik has this tip for the moderators: Don't get distracted.
He tells Weekend Edition host Audie Cornish that the "theatricality" of some debates can make people forget their purpose.
With unemployment at 9.1 percent and the economy as the top issue of the 2012 presidential race, the president faces a tough fight for re-election. Still, he might find some encouragement in the history books. Host Audie Cornish chats with presidential historian Michael Beschloss about Obama's odds for re-election.
On Monday, President Obama will lay out his new plan for reducing the federal deficit. His proposal will also include specific recommendations to the bipartisan deficit Super Committee on how to offset the cost of his $447 billion jobs plan. Host Audie Cornish talks with NPR's Mara Liasson.