Friday, March 03, 2006

American Taliban

What kind of a parent puts the life and health of their child at risk rather than accept that they may be or may become sexually active? This story is from Sojourners Online - an organization of progressive Christians for peace and justice, you can find the link on my side bar. I'm not sure if this story is linkable or if you need to subscribe to see the content, but here are some excerpts.

When it comes to teen sex, all parents hope and pray that their children make wise choices. Children as young as 12 or 13 weigh decisions with consequences that could impact the rest of their lives in a dramatic way.

Parental anxiety therefore is unavoidable, all the more so because they realize that the ultimate choices their teens make about sex are beyond their control. That begs a question: If a child violates the moral code that parents set, are those parents willing to put their child's life in mortal danger? Tragically, some Christians are willing to answer, "Yes."

A little-known debate is smoldering at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that may burst soon into a major fire. Two pharmaceutical companies - Merck and GlaxoSmithKline - have designed a cervical cancer vaccine. In clinical trials the Merck drug, Gardasil, is proving to be up to 100% effective in fighting the dominant strain of the virus causing cervical cancer. The pharmaceutical companies and a growing movement of public health advocates want all girls to be inoculated with the vaccine as they presently are for other high-risk viruses.

The Family Research Council is leading a charge of Religious Right groups to halt any such national inoculation program. The human papilloma virus (HPV) that generates cervical cancer is most typically passed along through genital contact with others. The Religious Right bloc concludes that offering a vaccine for HPV would undercut their promotion of sexual abstinence for adolescents.

So the logic of the religious right goes - I would rather my daughter risk cancer than have her vaccinated and have a conversation with her about reproductive choice and the risks of sexually transmitted diseases.


audacious said...

makes ya wonder what makes people tick ... geeze ...
good post.

Saskboy said...

It bothers me that the vaccine is at all described as a "cervical cancer vaccine". It's a vaccine against certain strains of HPV a virus that is known in some cases to cause cervical cancer. For all we know, it is behind other cancers too, such as prostate. If it were being marketed as an aid for male health too, then the aging and prodominantly male government in the states would make sure the medicine was widely dispersed.

CoteGauche said...

The other thing that makes this such a ridiculous issue is that when you are inoculating 12 year olds, how many kids know the difference between Human Papiloma Virus, Diptheria and whooping cough? I mean, if you really, really want to really want to treat your children like idiots and obscure the whole transmission vector issue, it is possible. Or you could be up front with them and tell them that it will protect them against virus that causes cervical cancer, that the virus is spread by sexual contact, and then have a discussion about healthy and/or morale reproductive choices. But the protection is there in case they become sexually active in the furture.

Additionally, it concerns me from a public health perspective, there is a small chance that like the polio virus, this virus could be irradicated through widespread innoculation. That means that choices that these idiots make affect the whole population.