Last week's news that the FDA approved the HPV Vaccine to prevent cervical cancer in women was great news. As anyone following the FDA lately knows, this one was a toss-up. The disproprtionate influence of ideology over science at the FDA threatened to undo this truly impressive medical break-through for fear it would encourage young women to have sex. But the real fight still looms. At the end of this month the FDA will meet in Atlanta to make reccomendations about the optimal age to administer the vaccine and if children should be included. States will deterimine if the vaccine is mandatory.
Blogger Gene C. Gerard at Democratic Underground wrote about HPV approval and points out that the right is going to oppose any mandatory coverage. He says Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has stated that he would not vaccinate his 13-year-old daughter. Blogger Steven Benen at Political Animal writes the ideologues fear, "The vaccine may lead to more pre-marital sex, which ultimately trumps everything else."
So the family values crew once again burries its head in the sands of "abstinence-only-until-marriage" and can be expected to fight any recomendation that would cover all young women and girls to protect them from cervical cancer.
Once again I scratch my head in wonder — where is the common sense? Do girls who get a mumps shot know what its for? Measles? Flu? Why not just do the right thing and protect everyone by giving the shot to young girls and telling them that it will protect them from disease. That avoids the concern about introducing the topic of sex to children before they are ready to learn about it, and protects them from the parents who won't ever take the time to talk about sex with them, or protect them from disease by electing not to get the vaccine.
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What good is progress if we don't take advantage of its promise?