Friday, August 28, 2015

Abstinence Only or Cancer -- The Republicans' False Dichotomy

There was a very interesting special on NOVA, PBS, last night dealing with vaccinations in America; their history, development, and some of the controversy that’s plagued them. We all know about the fraudulent Wakefield study and how it caused a lot of parents to avoid getting their children the MMR vaccination and all the problems that caused (and continues to cause, because some idiots still believe vaccinations cause autism -- see for example, 'Health Impact News').

I didn’t know that the vaccination to prevent the Human PapillomaVirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer was so controversial. The physician discussing it on the Nature special said (and I’m quoting from memory), “We’ve all wanted some way to prevent cancer, now we have an incredible scientific breakthrough that prevents cervical cancer, why wouldn’t we use it?” Good question.

Then we switch to a video of a female physician discussing the HPV vaccination with a woman and her pre-teen daughter. The mother and daughter are facing away from the camera so we don’t see their faces. The physician explains the dangers of HPV and the efficacy and reliability of the vaccine and recommends the mother have her daughter vaccinated. The mother declines to do so. The physician asks if the woman has any fears about the vaccine harming her daughter. The mother says no, she isn’t going to have her daughter vaccinated because she, the mother, believes in “chastity.”

There is some back and forth on this, with the mother explaining that she expects her daughter to refrain from sex until she’s married, and the physician explaining that the blushing bride could still get HPV from the groom, or even through “deep kissing,” should she ever have a boyfriend in her poor unfortunate life living with this deeply disturbed mother.

But the mother says that having her daughter vaccinated against HPV will encourage her to have premarital sex. She is adamant. She will not approve the vaccination! So the physician says, “Well, let’s just do the flu shot today and we can talk more about the HPV vaccination another time” (little did the physician know that there are those that claim the flu vaccination is "the most dangerous vaccine is the U.S." -- see again, Health Impacts News, whose Managing Editor and Founder, Brian Shilhavy, has a “BA in Bible and Greek from Moody Bible Institute, and an MA in Applied Linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University.”).

Well, this mother must be an outlier, right? Unfortunately, no. Mrs. ‘Tightlips’ is part of a conservative ‘abstinence-only’ movement that apparently would rather see their daughters (or sons -- men can get cancer from HPV) die from cancer than have pre-marital sex (it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women).
I should have remembered this outbreak of anti-science, because Rick Perry kept apologizing during the 2008 Republican presidential debates for signing an executive order making the vaccine mandatory in Texas for all sixth-grade girls. “I made a mistake,” he said -- oops! And who could forget Michele Bachmann claiming on Fox and ‘Today’ that the vaccine caused mental retardation. Was she talking about herself? Did she get vaccinated? I doubt it. There must be another explanation.
As of July 30, 2015, 4 out of 10 adolescent girls and 6 out of 10 adolescent boys have not started the recommended HPV vaccine series, leaving them vulnerable to cancers caused by HPV infections.

1 comment:

Lenora Good said...

Obviously, children are not that important to these idiots.