“Some people have raised the issue of whether this vaccine may be sending an overall message to teen-agers that, ‘We expect you to be sexually active.”

–Reginald Finger, former medical analyst for Focus on the Family, appointed to Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

“Just because you wear a seat belt doesn’t mean you’re seeking out an accident.”

— Alan Kaye, executive director of the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, on the vaccine

Cervical cancer strikes more than 10,000 U.S. women each year, killing more than 3,700. Strains of the human papilloma virus can cause cancerous lesions on the cervix, but a vaccine has been developed that is 100% effective — and forces on the Right, with representation on a CDC panel, may decide whether teen girls should get it, worrying it will “condone sexual activity.” (SFGate):

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. Officials from the companies developing the shots — Merck & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline — have been meeting with advocacy groups to try to assuage their concerns.

“I would like to see it that if you don’t have your HPV vaccine, you can’t start high school,” said Juan Carlos Felix of the University of Southern California, who leads the National Cervical Cancer Coalition’s medical advisory panel.

At the ACIP meeting last week, panel members heard presentations about the pros and cons of vaccinating girls at various ages. A survey of 294 pediatricians presented at the meeting found that more than half were worried that parents of female patients might refuse the vaccine, and 11 percent of the doctors said they thought vaccinating against a sexually transmitted disease “may encourage risky sexual behavior in my adolescent patients.”

…”There are people who sense that it could cause people to feel like sexual behaviors are safer if they are vaccinated and may lead to more sexual behavior because they feel safe,” said Finger, emphasizing he does not endorse that position and is withholding judgment until the issue comes before the vaccine policy panel for a formal recommendation.

Conservative medical groups have been fielding calls from concerned parents and organizations, officials said. “I’ve talked to some who have said, ‘This is going to sabotage our abstinence message,’ ” said Gene Rudd, associate executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. But Rudd said most people change their minds once they learn more, adding he would probably want his children immunized. Rudd, however, draws the line at making the vaccine mandatory.

How does protecting women’s health impede on a parent’s ability to teach their children about abstinence? Folks, a lot of these kids are having sex and pretending that abstinence-only education is working is fantasy.

This nonsense is just going to continue to spiral out of control, as we see these Bush bible-beaters appointed to reality-based, science-based institutions flex their muscles. Let’s hope Dr. Finger pays attention to his medical training and not Daddy Dobson.

Also see:
* Abstinence ed is really working: oral sex safe and not really sex, say teens
* Virginity pledge org busted by feds for proselytizing on your dime
* Your tax dollars at work: Texas teens increasingly knocking boots after abstinence program
* Chimpy didn’t secure AbstinenceOnly.com

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding