November 9th, 2005
STRAIGHT RIGHTS UPDATE: As I mentioned a few months ago, a vaccine for two of the most common strains of HPV, the virus that causes genital warts, is currently moving through the federal approval process. HPV can also cause cervical cancer in women, and the cancers caused by the virus kill 4,000 American women every year. Who could possibly be against the introduction of a vaccine—one that has proven 100 percent effective in clinical tests!—that will save thousands of women's lives every year? Those "culture of life" assfucks, that's who.
"A new vaccine that protects against cervical cancer has set up a clash between health advocates [and] social conservatives who say immunizing teenagers could encourage sexual activity," the Washington Post reported last week. Doctors want teenage girls to receive the vaccine as a matter of routine when they hit puberty, something the religious right opposes. "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... '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." (To his credit, Rudd said he would want his daughters vaccinated.)
The right's abstinence message has bigger problems than this vaccine. Studies have shown that young men and women are still having premarital sex—no shit—despite the billions of dollars the Bush administration has poured into abstinence education. A study conducted at Texas A&M University found that kids who've been subjected to abstinence-only sex education, the right's preferred brand, have more sex than kids who aren't subjected to abstinence-only sex education. So what the right is saying is this: We're willing to kill American women in order to avoid "sabotaging" our ineffectual abstinence-only message. Nice.
Who ultimately gets to determine the government's position on the HPV vaccine? Thanks to George W. Bush, the Christian fundies do. From the Washington Post: "The jockeying [around the HPV vaccine] 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." W stands for women—that's what he told us when he ran for president. But, hey, it wasn't a lie. George W. Bush never said anything about standing for live women.
I've said it before, straight folks, and I'll say it again: The right-wingers and the fundies and the sex-phobes don't just have it in for the queers. They're coming for your asses too.