Cervical Cancer Vaccine Does Not Equal License to Have Sex!


Does not compute.

These are the words that should be used to describe the opposition of conservative organizations for mandatory cervical cancer vaccines. The vaccine protects against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is the most common cause of cervical cancer. Half the sexually active women in the US between the ages of 18 to 22 are infected with the virus. In the US, it kills over 3,700 women a year, and the numbers are even higher in third world countries where cancer detection is low.

Spearheaded by the Family Research Council, religious groups are gearing up to protest mandatory cervical cancer vaccinations. Reason? They preach abstinence as the best way to prevent STDs, including HPV. The vaccine could be seen as a license for young adults to have sex, which completely undermines their abstinence message.

There is a hole in the argument right off the bat. There are other STDs that can be contracted even if someone has been vaccinated for HPV. How many young women even know what HPV is? Will they be so emboldened by the vaccine for a particular virus that they will think themselves invincible to other viruses? If that’s true, than the problem is bigger than teenagers having sex, it’s the entire education system.

This also exposes how abstinence is being taught, not as a moral conservative belief system, but as the only way to not get infected with STDs. This type of subversive scare tactic for abstinence will only lead to more broad generalizations and misconceptions about sexual health and well being. Does everyone who has premarital sex have an STD? That’s certainly what they are insinuating. So it’s either their way or the STD way.

The argument against mandatory vaccination is also extremely short sighted. Parents can’t raise their daughters in a bubble; even a leash has some leeway. The fact is, the world is out there and so are the chances that young women can become infected with the virus and develop cervical cancer whether they practice abstinence or not. A person can drive safely and still get into a car accident. Indeed, they can be walking on the street and still be hit by a car. The world is a volatile place, so one should have the best resources available to them.

If anything, people should be more worried about the safety of the vaccine instead of the non-existent ethical dilemma of ‘license to have sex’. If it is a mandatory vaccination, then we must gather all the facts before vaccinating the next generation of women. This vaccine protects against one type of STD and it prevents cervical cancer, the second cancer killer for women. What more is there to think about? Other than how safe it is?

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