Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Pro-Life, Pro-Guns... And Now Pro-Cancer

I ran across this right after I put up my last post talking about how far out of the mainstream conservatives are straying. They are crossing the Rubicon into absurdity and even plain old maliciousness of conscious.

Conservatives are now attacking the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccination that is 100% effective and prevents cervical cancer. This vaccination would save the lives of thousands of American women each and every year, but the conservative are against it.

They believe that it will encourage promiscuity in teenagers. Forget that it may save the life of their daughters some day, they are more concerned about sex. Forget about the fact that you can still contract HPV after she is married if her husband has it.

Maybe we should remove seatbelts from cars because we might be more cautious on the roads.

Trust me. If HIV, pregnancy, and the whole host of other STDs does dissuade your daughter from having pre-marital sex, the fear of contracting HPV isn't going to do it either. Get a life people!... or should I say save a life people!

Debate rages on use of cervical cancer vaccine
While almost 100% effective, some contend use condones teen sex

Washington -- A new vaccine that protects against cervical cancer has set up a clash between health advocates who want to use the shots aggressively to prevent thousands of malignancies and social conservatives who say immunizing teen-agers could encourage sexual activity.

Although the vaccine will not become available until next year at the earliest, activists on both sides have begun maneuvering to influence how widely the immunizations will be employed.

Groups working to reduce the toll of the cancer are eagerly awaiting the vaccine and want it to become part of the standard roster of shots that children, especially girls, receive just before puberty.

Because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted virus, many conservatives oppose making it mandatory, citing fears that it could send a subtle message condoning sexual activity before marriage. Several leading groups that promote abstinence are meeting this week to formulate official policies on the vaccine.

The jockeying reflects the growing influence social conservatives, who had long felt overlooked by Washington, have gained on a broad spectrum of policy issues under the Bush administration. In this case, a former member of the conservative group Focus on the Family serves on the federal panel that is playing a pivotal role in deciding how the vaccine is used.

"What the Bush administration has done has taken this coterie of people and put them into very influential positions in Washington," said James Morone Jr., a professor of political science at Brown University. "And it's having an effect in debates like this."

(Full Story)

Update: Tommy legitimately asked in the comment section why vaccinations should be mandatory and not optional. Well, unfortunately, the answer is here - 5 Cases of Polio in Amish Group Raise New Fears - Vaccination is not only to protect your own children, but other children as well. Polio has almost been wiped off the face of the earth, but just a few people breaking the social contract can affect everyone.


tommy said...

Conservative groups say they welcome the vaccine as an important public health tool but oppose making it mandatory.

Why not use that quote? When trying to teach your children one of the things that helps is to be consistent. Preaching abstinence, and then providing a vacination because you expect they aren't listening, isn't consistent. It might be realistic, but that decision belongs to the parents and no one else.

I like the vaccine. I don't like the idea of it being mandatory.

Dingo said...

a) because you can still get it even after you are married. Marriage is not some kind of shield against infectious disease. Doesn't stop spouses from getting HIV. Additionally, there is no need of transmission of fluids. Skin to skin contact can transmit it. Even "pure" kids are not always that "pure."

b) because when you don't make it mandatory it doesn't work. There is a reason that you vaccinate an entire population. That is the only way to eradicate a disease. it is not only for the safety of the individual, but for the good society as a whole. It is the same reason we make other vaccines mandatory. Focus on the big picture. This is another disease that could be wiped off the face of the planet in 3-4 generations.

I don't know how any parent could not get this vaccine for their daughter.

tommy said...

I don't think these are related at all. Unless of course you are trying to say that polio is sexually transmitted.

There is already a proven method of avoiding STD, not having sex. So there is an effective option (the consistent practice of that option is debatable, but I still think that is the parents grounds, not the state's).

As far as I know, polio is different in that you can't decide to change your behavior in such a manner as to not be at risk. For me, I would vaccinate, but I don't think the state belongs in this decision.

Dingo said...

Lets be realistic here. If the only reason that your kid starts having pre-marital sex is due to receiving an HPV vaccination, there is something wrong in the communication process between parent and child. Additionally, as I said, you don't need to have sex to transmit it. Only skin to skin contact is needed

And, in reality, polio and HPV are not very different. Both can be carried undetected in an individual and spread it to others long after it is contracted.

There are many things that the state requires of us, not only to protect ourselves, but to protect society as a whole. If the state has to choose between saving the lives of thousands of women per year and the parents fear that it might make their kid have sex, I am on the side of public health.

Also, look at this way - We know that only about 45% of the kids that profess abstinence to their parents actually practice abstinence. If a girl was not being abstinent but could not approach her parents about the issue, she would not be able to get the protection that she needs. She would have to admit that she is having sex in order to get the vaccination. Not only are you protecting the kids we know are having sex, but the ones that are not admitting to it out of fear of telling their parents. By making it mandatory you: a) address a public health issue that is societal as much as individual; b) provide cover to women who cannot approach their parents about it; c) provide protection to the women who do stay abstinent until marriage but who have spouses who were not, or who do not remain faithful during marriage.

Dingo said...

Oh, yes - it can also be passed from mother to baby during birth.

Aldon Hynes said...

Let me take a slightly different view on this and see if I can offend everyone. I believe we need to keep government out of the practice of medicine.

Reproductive issues should be between a doctor and a woman and the government should not be involved.

Likewise, the choice of vacinations should be made by individuals (or their guardians). They should be informed by discussions with their doctors and on information provided by the government, but vacinations should not be required.

Of course the other side of it is whether or not a person by not being vaccinated is going to put others at risk. In these cases, it makes sense to require that people be vaccinated if they are going to be in places, like public schools, where they would put people at risk. I believe that is the rationale behind requiring various vaccines before entering public schools.

So, is the question about the vaccine a question about a woman's reproductive rights, or question about not putting other people at risk?