Monday, April 18, 2005

I hope you ladies like cancer

From New Scientist:

"DEATHS from cervical cancer could jump fourfold to a million a year by 2050, mainly in developing countries. This could be prevented by soon-to-be-approved vaccines against the virus that causes most cases of cervical cancer - but there are signs that opposition to the vaccines might lead to many preventable deaths.

The trouble is that the human papilloma virus (HPV) is sexually transmitted. So to prevent infection, girls will have to be vaccinated before they become sexually active, which could be a problem in many countries.

In the US, for instance, religious groups are gearing up to oppose vaccination, despite a survey showing 80 per cent of parents favour vaccinating their daughters. "Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV," says Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council, a leading Christian lobby group that has made much of the fact that, because it can spread by skin contact, condoms are not as effective against HPV as they are against other viruses such as HIV.

"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex," Maher claims, though it is arguable how many young women have even heard of the virus.

Meanwhile in developing countries, where 80 per cent of deaths from cervical cancer occur, social taboos may be even more powerful. The head of the Indian Council of Medical Research, N. K. Ganguly, says it will take a big educational effort to convince parents. Vaccinating men could be the best way to prevent the spread of HPV among women.

HPV is extremely common. Half of all sexually active women between 18 and 22 in the US are infected. Most cases clear up, but sometimes infection persists and can cause cancer decades later."

It seems to me to be so absolutely backwards thinking to assume that protection against a life threatening disease is in some way cause for pre-marital sex. Do these people really believe that preventing cervical cancer underminds the will of god?

From The Light of Reason
"Moral absolutism in private matters is truly a wonderful quality, as is the hatred of sex as a profound source of pleasure. Such a pity when such admirable qualities lead to entirely avoidable suffering and death."

And here's another sad halmark. Check out the Iranian abortion policy vs. the crap our conservatives keep trying to use to overturn Roe V. Wade. From Washington Monthly:

The Iranian parliament has voted to liberalise the country's abortion laws.

Under the law approved on Tuesday, a pregnancy can be terminated in the first four months if the foetus is mentally or physically handicapped.

Both parents must give their consent and three doctors to confirm that the foetus is damaged.

The law was approved by just over half of the conservative-dominated parliament, and still has to be approved by the Guardian Council.

The council is an unelected supervisory committee which vets all bills to see if they are in line with Islamic law.

Previously, abortion was only allowed if the mother's life was proven to be in danger.

So why did I put these two things together? Well think about it. Here we are in the so called "land of the free" and it's obvious from abroad that the people we feel are more subjugated by their religion are more likely to progress beyond their religion than we are at this point. We've still got Senators-R trying to push laws claiming rights of a child should exist at conception, without giving any consideration to the health of the mother. And then when something so simple like a vaccination that could prevent %80 of all cervical cancer is being barrelled over by religious fanatics out of fear that it will somehow give license to heathens. I've got an idea. And this goes towards all of the prescription drug nonsense(remember all those pharmacists that feel morally obliged to deny birth control regardless if the reason it's being taken is medical or not?), the lack of support for real in depth research of stem cells, the abortion debates, and well the separation of church and state that Mr. DeLay and his assholes keep trying to say doesn't exist in the Constitution. I think what we need is a stupidity based table for each of these issues. Sort of like pro vs. con, but instead it could be science vs. religion. If anything on one side makes the other side stupid for making that point, that point will be removed from the table. This way, when groups like the "family research council" say shit like "Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV," Then science tells us " because it can spread by skin contact, condoms are not as effective against HPV as they are against other viruses such as HIV." We can call Bridget stupid because skin contact doesn't have to involve sex, so abstinance doesn't really prevent anything in this case does it? Stricken from the table! Then when she says "Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex" we can turn around and just smack her for continuing with the stupidity. Truth is, I don't know what to do folks, but I'll tell you one thing. Everytime science helps prolong life with miracles that aren't in the bible, I think we should kill a neo-con.

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