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Old 11-01-2005, 09:36 AM   #1
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the politicized christian right vs. the cervical cancer vaccine

[Q]

Debate rages on use of cervical cancer vaccine

While almost 100% effective, some contend use condones teen sex

Rob Stein, Washington Post

Monday, October 31, 2005

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.

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

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."

The vaccine protects women against strains of a ubiquitous germ called the human papilloma virus. Although many strains of the virus are innocuous, some can cause cancerous lesions on the cervix (the outer end of the uterus), making them the primary cause of this cancer in the United States. Cervical cancer strikes more than 10,000 U.S. women each year, killing more than 3,700.

The vaccine appears to be virtually 100 percent effective against two of the most common cancer-causing HPV strains. Merck, whose vaccine is further along, plans to ask the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the year for approval to sell the shots.

[...]

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

"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,' " said Reginald Finger, a doctor trained in public health who served as a medical analyst for Focus on the Family before being appointed to the ACIP in 2003.

"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.

"Parents should have the choice. There are those who would say, 'We can provide a better, healthier alternative than the vaccine, and that is to teach abstinence,' " Rudd said.

The council plans to meet Wednesday to discuss the issue. On the same day, the Medical Institute for Sexual Health in Austin, Texas, which advises conservative groups on sexuality and health issues, is convening a one-day meeting to develop a position statement.

Alan Kaye, executive director of the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, likened the vaccine to wearing a seat belt.

"Just because you wear a seat belt doesn't mean you're seeking out an accident," Kaye said.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...JFT1.DTL#story

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Old 11-01-2005, 09:43 AM   #2
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Politicizing and moralizing about CANCER is wrong, wrong, wrong in every possible way

How would some of these people feel to see a woman they loved suffer and die from cervical cancer? It is horrific. But it's more important to believe that it will encourage teenagers to have sex
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Old 11-01-2005, 10:18 AM   #3
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They shouldn't be political about a drug that stops cancer.
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Old 11-01-2005, 10:20 AM   #4
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We have truly stooped to new lows with this.

These people are ostriches.
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Old 11-01-2005, 10:24 AM   #5
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Let me guess . . . everyone one will agree this is wrong.

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Old 11-01-2005, 10:36 AM   #6
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I'm not sure this is a real issue, or one manufactured by the newspaper. The vaccine has nothing to do with sexual promiscuity.

Even one of the quoted "concerned conservatives" said:

Quote:
Rudd said most people change their minds once they learn more, adding he would probably want his children immunized
I guess the mistake was simply asking the question.
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Old 11-01-2005, 10:40 AM   #7
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Sounds like some of these folks have fallen prey to their own poor misguided sexual education programs. How will a shot that doesn't protect against HIV or pregnancy promote sex?

I think they should all be required to take a simple biology class, that way they can identify that that lump growing out of their ass is really their head.
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Old 11-01-2005, 10:49 AM   #8
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You can bet a million dollars that if a men's cancer were linked to sexual activity and a vaccine were to be developed to provide 100% immunity, there would be no conservative debate about making it mandatory.
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Old 11-01-2005, 10:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by stammer476
Let me guess . . . everyone one will agree this is wrong.



but i feel as if it is important to point out that there are political special interest groups, who have the ear of the president and were crucial in forcing Miers to withdraw her nomination to SCOTUS, who would actually put the lives of children at risk for the sake of this ultra-orthadox abstinence-only ideology.

it's less what this group says and more that these groups are taken seriously by people in Washington.
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Old 11-01-2005, 10:57 AM   #10
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and let's broaden our worldview.

what if we got an HIV/AIDS vaccine?

would we see the same response -- that administering the vaccine was a license to have rampant, unprotected sex?
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Old 11-01-2005, 11:31 AM   #11
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Yes. And you'd also probably hear about how this gives license to gay men to go nuts. And other related nonsense like it.

And I have to agree with martha. I tend to believe if we were talking about prostate cancer, this would never even be suggested.
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Old 11-01-2005, 01:05 PM   #12
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Christians suck.

They want people to die.

Blah Blah Blah

Any group who ignorantly opposes this vaccnine represents a miniscule portion of the evangelical community. The article is nothing more than incendiary nonsense.
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Old 11-01-2005, 01:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
You can bet a million dollars that if a men's cancer were linked to sexual activity and a vaccine were to be developed to provide 100% immunity, there would be no conservative debate about making it mandatory.
odds are you are correct

and maybe Bush should just make that Dobson guy the head of the Department Of Health And Human Services

I really don't believe that anyone here believes that Christians "suck" and "want people to die" , but I believe Irvine is correct in saying that some of these conservatives have too much influence w/ the WH. Maybe their influence can override the fact that they are a minsicule minority.

When James Dobson is involved in conference calls w/ Karl Rove or others about a Supreme Court nominee, I don't see how that is not undue influence.
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Old 11-01-2005, 01:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Yes. And you'd also probably hear about how this gives license to gay men to go nuts. And other related nonsense like it.
The AIDS virus did more to advance the gay rights movement than anything else in the 80's and 90's. Read last week's New Republic cover article "The End of Gay Culture" by Andrew Sullivan. A homosexual himself, Sullivan makes a rather convincing arguement illustrating how AIDS put a human face on homosexuality. As gay activists worked with politicians for solutions for handeling AIDS, it opened the door to address issues regarding gay rights.

http://www.tnr.com/thisweek.mhtml?i=20051024

Evangelicals who think that AIDS is the answer to eradicating homosexuality are idiots.
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Old 11-01-2005, 02:25 PM   #15
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This Administration is really out of control. When one pundit wrote that Dubya will go done as the Country's worst President of all time I thought that may be a little harsh, I can see it now.
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