Choosing Chastity or Risk of Cancer

|

It remains to be seen how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will handle the approval process of a new batch of vaccines that target human papillomavirus, which causes most cases of cervical cancer, the second biggest cancer killer in women. Some religious conservatives have objected to administering such vaccines to girls and young women. These conservatives fear that reducing their fears of infection will encourage young umarried women to be more promiscuous. Apparently in order to boost the chances of chastity, they would prefer that women be vaccinated later in life.

Now a new study finds that at least one vaccine (not yet submitted to the FDA) produces an immune response that is twice as strong if it's injected between ages 10 and 14, rather than between ages 15 and 25. The Plan B emergency contraceptive fiasco, in which the FDA's political appointees blocked approval of the drug for over-the-counter sale despite the overwhelming support of its scientific panels, is a worrisome precedent. In that case, too, the fear was that the availability of Plan B would encourage unmarried women to engage in sex. So when the new cervical cancer vaccine is submitted to the FDA, will the agency choose chastity or science?

NEXT: Back To Buchanan

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Wait… I thought one could only get cervical cancer if it was god’s will?

  2. 5$ says they choose chastity. C’mon, who wants some of this action?

  3. 5$ says they choose chastity. C’mon, who wants some of this action?

    Not me, but I think they’re more likely to come up with some sort of half-assed compromise. I don’t have a theory for what it might be yet.

  4. Not me, but I think they’re more likely to come up with some sort of half-assed compromise. I don’t have a theory for what it might be yet.

    Here’s one: they’ll offer it only to post-menopausal women.

  5. So when the new cervical cancer vaccine is submitted to the FDA, will the agency choose chastity or science?

    What are the journalistic guidelines on use of rhetorical questions?

  6. I guess I’m behind the times, I never realized that you could get cancer from a virus. Maybe I need to get out more.

  7. What’s the big deal? Just keep it voluntary. Those that want to protect their children can get it, and the religious nuts can watch their little darlings die a horrible death from cancer.

  8. At this rate, we’ll soon need a prescription for condoms.

  9. TWC-

    Evidently recent research has shown that certain virus-based diseases can significantly increase one’s chance of developing cancer.

    I’m not up on all the big words, but evidently this is one of them.

  10. What’s the big deal? Just keep it voluntary. Those that want to protect their children can get it, and the religious nuts can watch their little darlings die a horrible death from cancer.

    That’s the trouble, bill. The handful, and I’m sure that it’s a handful of so-called persecuted faithful don’t want it to be voluntary, they don’t want it allowed at all. They prefer everything in life that deviates from their worldview to have an awful consequence and are much comfortable with a Sex= possible horrible death mindset as a deterrent for women.

  11. What’s the big deal? Just keep it voluntary. Those that want to protect their children can get it, and the religious nuts can watch their little darlings die a horrible death from cancer.

    No argument here. Hopefully we’ll get the FDA approval that will allow that to happen. Legally.

  12. They prefer everything in life that deviates from their worldview to have an awful consequence and are much comfortable with a Sex= possible horrible death mindset as a deterrent for women.

    They figure if they’ve got to put up with frigid, unloving women who just lay there the rest of us should too.

  13. They prefer everything in life that deviates from their worldview to have an awful consequence and are much comfortable with a Sex= possible horrible death mindset as a deterrent for women.

    They figure if they’ve got to put up with frigid, unloving women who just lay there the rest of us should too.

  14. (Libertarian disclaimer: Of course, I am in favor of experimental medicines being available as to adults. I am in favor of experimental medicines being available to children, too, if certain basic studies as to safety and efficacy have been performed (on an expedited basis), with parents having the primary responsibility of weighing the various risks, because they are more likely than some bureaucratic panel to know what’s best for their kids, therefore let’s abolish or fundamentally restructure the FDA, etc).

    I think the argument of “inoculate children against all varieties of sexual diseases, never mind whether this legitimizes illicit sex or not” would be more credible if the people making this argument weren’t so often sexual liberationists who want to normalize risky behavior.

    I’m not speaking primarily of *Reason.* The folks I have in mind are the types of people who would never consider “harm reduction strategies” where tobacco is concerned (That filthy, evil weed! Do not touch! Do not look at it! Do not even think about inhaling it!), but who have a very accepting attitude toward casual sex, even by minors.

  15. Explain to me again on what legal grounds the religers will prevent this from being distributed. And in that case, can we prevent them from recieving any medicines/nutrients/breathable gasses they need to survive?
    Prevent a brain-dead (brain-less, really) woman from getting life support, and you’re a murderer. Prevent healthy people from getting a vaccine to prevent disease and you’re what?

  16. By the way, let’s not stop at vaccines. All medical treatment for STD’s should be banned, because you deserve to die if you were having sex.

  17. I think Jennifer is probably pretty close – I can see some sort of approval for women over the age of X (with X being significantly higher than 18) with an indication that it is not approved for ages less than X. Normally, M.D.’s will dispense “off label”, but I can imagine if the FDA makes a sufficiently dire statement about use in young’uns, such as “prescriptions for those under the age of X is considered by the Agency as medical malpractice”, there will be few doctors who will do it, if only for insurance reasons.

    Of course, they’ll have to massage the clinical results, but that’s easy enough. In fact, if they just focus on Phase 1, they can probably argue that there is insufficient data about safety in women under the age of 30. Presto!

  18. I happen to be religious, and if I ever have a daughter, I hope she will not be sexually active before marriage (the same as I currently hope this for my son).

    That said, I can still imagine having my daughter vaccinated if for no other reason than not all sexual activity is voluntary. How would any parent feel if they refused vaccination on chastity grounds, then their daughter was raped? (Though I suppose this is a non-issue if repeated sexual contact is necessary for an appreciable increase in cancer risk.)

    Even besides that, I don’t want my daughter to be chaste because she’s affraid of cervical cancer. I want her to do it out of moral character. What value is it to a religious parent that their child conforms to certain behavior patterns out of fear rather than conviction?

  19. David,
    “5$ says they choose chastity. C’mon, who wants some of this action?

    Not me, but I think they’re more likely to come up with some sort of half-assed compromise. I don’t have a theory for what it might be yet.”

    They’ll let 10-15 year olds have the injection, but also make them wear the scarlet letter.

  20. How would any parent feel if they refused vaccination on chastity grounds, then their daughter was raped?

    According to Phyllis Schlafly, virtuous women do not suffer from sexual harassment. So just train your daughter to be a Good Girl who never Asks For It.

  21. Bonar Law,

    I think the argument of “inoculate children against all varieties of sexual diseases, never mind whether this legitimizes illicit sex or not” would be more credible if the people making this argument weren’t so often sexual liberationists who want to normalize risky behavior.

    The thing is, in many parts of the country, it’s pretty normal already. Besides, there’s no reason that one’s position on casual sex should make their position on vaccines, STD treatment and the like less credible. The people most likely to come to such a conclusion are probably already part of the chastity-only camp.

  22. Smappy, more to the point, what if your daughter suffers a momentary (or even long-term) lapse in judgment? Should she die for it if that can be avoided? Christianity is supposed to emphasize forgiveness. If effects of sexual indiscretion can be ‘forgiven’ in a sense through medical science, I see no reason why a Christian should be against it.

  23. zach-

    Forget about the daughter’s lapse in judgement. What if the husband has a lapse in judgement, either during the marriage or even years earlier?

    Surely there must be some religious conservatives who have a “good for nothing son in law.”

  24. I can’t understand what drives the religious right to pursue their hopeless quest to make sex seem unpleasant.

  25. My mother caught the HPV virus because her first husband was a dirtbag who slept around. It was in the 1960s before they knew it caused cancer. She got cervical cancer in the 70s, miraculously survived it, only to see it come back as bladder cancer in 2004 which killed her in just over a year. These people make me very angry to say the least. How can anyone be so stupid as to think the risk of more pre-martial sex somehow outweighs the benifit of preventing people from getting cancer? Sometimes I think there is not a hell because no one really deserves to be there. Then I see people like this and I wonder.

  26. Perhaps a lack of experience with it.

  27. “I can’t understand what drives the religious right to pursue their hopeless quest to make sex seem unpleasant.”

    tammy. faye. bakker…

  28. How can anyone be so stupid as to think the risk of more pre-martial sex somehow outweighs the benifit of preventing people from getting cancer?

    The same way they can view STDs, or even pregnancy, as “punishment” for having sex.

  29. “I can’t understand what drives the religious right to pursue their hopeless quest to make sex seem unpleasant.”

    Because God only made sex for procreation.

    Not fun.

    And if you think sex is fun, then the Devil has won.

  30. Bonar,

    “I think the argument of “inoculate children against all varieties of sexual diseases, never mind whether this legitimizes illicit sex or not” would be more credible if the people making this argument weren’t so often sexual liberationists who want to normalize risky behavior.”

    Please explain to me how approving a vaccine which can apparently cut the chances of a woman getting cervical cancer equals normalizing risky behavior and legitimizes illicit sex.

    “The folks I have in mind are the types of people who would never consider “harm reduction strategies” where tobacco is concerned (That filthy, evil weed! Do not touch! Do not look at it! Do not even think about inhaling it!), but who have a very accepting attitude toward casual sex, even by minors.”

    Again, please explain to me how approving a vaccine which can apparently cut the chances of a woman getting cervical cancer equals a “very accepting attitude toward casual sex, even by minors.”

    From what you wrote, I assume you’re saying that approving this vaccine equals approving casual sex, even among minors, and thus an increase in “illicit sex”? Am I correct on this? If so, please explain this alleged causality.

    Please use empirical data; not subjective ideas, beliefs, attitudes or false logic in your explanations.

    Using this logic, I guess that since some people use guns for harmful/illegal purposes, we should then ban all guns because allowing them to the populace may encourage harmful/illegal behavior?

  31. “According to Phyllis Schlafly, virtuous women do not suffer from sexual harassment.”

    Translation: I’m ronery. So ronery.

    Uh, yeah, Phyllis. It’s your virtue. That’s it exactly.

  32. I need a t-shirt that says “pre-marital sex is awesome!”

  33. Bonar,

    Yeah, some of the people are any side of any issue are liable to be hypocrites. Since ad hominen is a fallacy, who gives a flying fuck?

  34. Taiko, I don’t think he was talking about this issue specifically.

  35. fyodor,

    That’s true, but I can see what Bonar’s saying.

    It isn’t enough just to be right on the logic. Wouldn’t you irresponsible, puppy-blending libertoids like to, I don’t know, win on an issue for a change?

  36. I love the way many small government libertarians instantly convert into Big Government Democrats if it means sticking a finger in the collective eye of religious conservatives. If the Fed.Gov were to decree tomorrow that all Americans are required to have the number “666” tattooed on their foreheads, I’m sure many of you Reasonoids would eagerly support it simply because the Religious Right would be against it.

    This isn’t a medical issue, it’s a parental rights issue. The fear is that once the vaccine is available, it will become mandatory, meaning that parents would have no say in the issue whatsoever.

    And despite the heart-rending hypothetical scenarios listed above, the odds of a couple of high school kids getting HPV from a one-time tryst or “mistake” are pretty low. The risk of getting HPV — like all sexually-transmitted diseases — increases proportionally with the number of different sexual partners. Which is why HPV occurs mostly among prostitutes and those who frequent them.

    I don’t have anything against the vaccine, or vaccines in general. But they’re not magic bullets. And until my daughters reach 18 years of age, I should have control over what vaccines they are given — not the government.

  37. This isn’t a medical issue, it’s a parental rights issue. The fear is that once the vaccine is available, it will become mandatory, meaning that parents would have no say in the issue whatsoever.

    So the best thing to do is make sure NOBODY can get it?

    And for that matter, why should parents have the “right” to increase their daughter’s chances of getting cancer?

  38. Captain Holly-

    Nobody here has said a word in favor of mandatory vaccination. What we’ve said is that the law shouldn’t bar people from choosing to receive the vaccine, or bar parents from choosing to vaccinate their children.

  39. “They’ll let 10-15 year olds have the injection, but also make them wear the scarlet letter.”

    Sweet! That’ll make it so much more convenient…. Uh, wait, this blog isn’t readable by the general public, is it?

  40. “I’m not opposed to the polio vaccine, I’m just opposed to the idea that I’ll be FORCED to vaccinate my child. So to avoid that, I’ll just make sure nobody gets the vaccine.”

    –Grandpa Holly, ca. 1950

  41. Zach,

    If not, then I extend my apologies to Bonar, but it seems to me that he was pretty clear in asserting a connection between approving this vaccine and condoning “illicit” sex and thus an increase in casual sex overall.

  42. joe,

    What the hell are you talking about? Best I can tell Bonar’s complaining about feel-good sex-positive liberals who nevertheless back the nanny-state when it suits them, not libertarians. Either you missed that or your irony has one or more too many layers to be deciphered.

  43. I don’t have anything against the vaccine, or vaccines in general. But they’re not magic bullets. And until my daughters reach 18 years of age, I should have control over what vaccines they are given — not the government.

    I am as pro family sovereighnty as anyone, but I don’t buy that. There is more at stake here than just your right to deprive your daughter of the vacine. First, what is so special about this vacine? If you have a right to say no to this one, why doesn’t the Christian scientist faith healer down the street have a right to say no to MMR shots or polio shots? I don’t see a difference. I think the government has a legitimate right to step in and require vacines. You may be a consenting adult aware of the risks of not taking a vacine but a child certainly isn’t. Why should you be allowed to put your child at risk? The child certainly isn’t making an informed choice. I think with regard to vacines the government has every right to require them.

  44. As others have touched on, once again this wouldn’t be an issue if not for the religionist’s demonization of anything sexual. To use their silly mythology to tell everyone that sex is immoral, or that you’re a bad person if you dare to partake in it before your father hands you over to your husband, is utter nonsense that needs to be confronted. It has so permeated society that even relatively non-religious people spout this stuff without a thought. Even our vocabulary is littered with pejorative terms like “promiscuous” for anyone who dares to enjoy sex in a way not sanctioned by a bunch of ignorant men who lived thousands of years ago. How many people have lived unnecessarily tormented lives because of the cognitive dissonance caused by what their screwed-up parents and church taught them? Of course, you’re free to believe sex is immoral if you want, but it is only a religious belief and as such is held without as shred of evidence. That this is hardly the level of evidence we should demand of those who would use such beliefs to make medical or social policy should be so obvious as to be laughable were one to claim otherwise. It is bad enough that people rely on such silly beliefs to mess up their own kids, but they shouldn’t be allowed to use it to mess up everyone else’s.

    And no, this is not about mandatory vaccination this is about FDA approval so that people may choose to protect their children.

  45. “And for that matter, why should parents have the ‘right’ to increase their daughter’s chances of getting cancer?”

    Imagine, if you will, a vaccine that would significantly reduce the possibility of contracting lung cancer from smoking cigarettes. Let us imagine further that the vaccine has some risk of harmful side effects, as all vaccines do. I think parents should have the right to refuse to expose their children to a greater-than-zero chance of incurring those side effects, if they are reasonably confident that, because of upbringing, native good sense, or whatever, their children will not take up smoking. Under circumstances as I have described, the parents would be making a reasonable judgment that the dangers of the vaccine would outweigh the dangers of not vaccinating.

    That’s, of course, unless you think you have to act on the assumption that the children will practice risky behavior.

    “That said, I can still imagine having my daughter vaccinated if for no other reason than not all sexual activity is voluntary. How would any parent feel if they refused vaccination on chastity grounds, then their daughter was raped?”

    Wow, you’re so right. By that reasoning, of course, all girls and women should be injected with Depo Provera, since you never know when they might be raped, and you’d feel awfully foolish if your daughter got knocked up because you didn’t think ahead and have her injected.

  46. Nice distortion, you guys. Please show me where I wrote that no one should receive the vaccine. In fact, I would like to see direct, unmanipulated, in context quotes that show Jerry Falwell and the like don’t wish to see the vaccine made available to adults.

    What concerns us Parental Rights activists is the very attitude I see motivating some of the comments here — that only a reactionary troglodyte would deny the vaccine to his children. It’s a subtle form of Nanny-Statism, based on the idea that you know what is better for my children that I do.

    If I remember correctly, when some politicians said, with good reason, that parents who irresponsibly provide children with alcohol should be prosecuted, Reasonoids were outraged.

    Yet when religious conservatives say they want to reserve the right to dictate what medications their children are given, why then they’re killing children, you know.

  47. “If you have a right to say no to this one, why doesn’t the Christian scientist faith healer down the street have a right to say no to MMR shots or polio shots? I don’t see a difference. I think the government has a legitimate right to step in and require vacines.”

    Well, how about this: People get measles, mumps, rubella, or polio just from being in the same place as someone else who has it; you have to do a little more to get MMR, and if you aren’t doing that little bit more, the HPV vaccine is of no use to you (and in fact is a net harm to you, since it exposes you to side effects without any countervailing benefit).

  48. By that reasoning, of course, all girls and women should be injected with Depo Provera, since you never know when they might be raped, and you’d feel awfully foolish if your daughter got knocked up because you didn’t think ahead and have her injected.

    Pregnancy and cancer are two very different things, Seamus.

    that only a reactionary troglodyte would deny the vaccine to his children.

    Why WOULD you deny your daughter this vaccine, then, Captain Holly? Assume it’s been tested and found to be safe, why would you not want her to have it?

  49. Leave it to this group to find a tangent to pick a fight over when we pretty much all agreed on the original issue. Guess it keeps things from getting too boring around here!

  50. And even with respect to MMR and polio, there’s a lot of difference between choosing not to get the vaccine, against the chance that your child might be exposed, and choosing to deny your child treatment once he has come down with the disease.

  51. Brian:

    John just above is advocating government forced vaccinations. So this IS about mandatory, fascistic government intrustion.

  52. The folks I have in mind are the types of people ? who have a very accepting attitude toward casual sex, even by minors.

    I prefer these folks to the ones who want to make all sex risky.

    In this case, a woman inoculated at 12 would be protected if at 30 she married someone with HPV.

    IMO most folks who want to allow parents to protect their children don’t necessarily have “a very accepting attitude toward casual sex.” But they realize that somewhere between puberty at age 12 and marriage at 25-30 most normal people are going to have at least one relationship. Times have changed a little since the days when girls went through puberty at 15 and got married by the time they were 17.

  53. “Pregnancy and cancer are two very different things, Seamus.”

    OK, then: By that reasoning all children should be vaccinated against rabies, because you never know when they might be bitten by a rabid bat. (I can see it now: “How can we deny our children the protection we routinely demand for our dogs and cats?”)

  54. You obviously don’t have any kids, do you Brian?

    The unwavering pattern for the past 30 years has been once a vaccine is approved, it’s only a short time before it’s required, even if the vaccine isn’t very effective, or the disease is quite benign (Chickenpox is a perfect example).

    What was once a few vaccinations when I was a kid has nearly doubled for my children. Approval is usually tantamount to requirement, especially in the eyes of Public School nurses.

  55. “The unwavering pattern for the past 30 years has been once a vaccine is approved, it’s only a short time before it’s required, even if the vaccine isn’t very effective, or the disease is quite benign (Chickenpox is a perfect example).”

    Preach it, Captain.

    I’m still looking for someone with chicken pox to infect my three youngest children so they can acquire a natural immunity before they reach puberty (at which point I’ll have them vaccinated, because the risks of post-pubertal chicken pox are so much greater than the risks to them now). But so many kids have been vaccinated that it’s hard to find any active vectors. (Maybe I could arrange to come down with shingles again, which is how my oldest got infected.)

  56. Seamus:

    You bring up a valid point: the vaccination should only be selected if the probability of infection is high enough. So my previous post is only sound to the extent of the probability of a daughter being raped and the probability that such sexual contact would appreciably elevate her likelihood of cervical cancer.

    What are those probabilities? I have no clue. I’ll be more likely to investigate if and when I have a daugther. But my priors are that they are higher than my children’s chances of contracting rabies from an animal bite; and even if that is not the case rabies is pretty easily treated, so I’m not entirely sure your extreme example bears scrutiny.

  57. Correction: the vaccination should only be selected if the probability of infection is high enough *and the outcome severe enough.*

  58. Why WOULD you deny your daughter this vaccine, then, Captain Holly? Assume it’s been tested and found to be safe, why would you not want her to have it?

    She can have it when she becomes an adult, just as she can drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or have all the abortions she wants to. When she’s an adult, she’s no longer my responsibility. I’ll be disappointed if she chooses to do such things, but she’s an adult and it’s a (mostly) free country.

    Until then, I have responsibility to make sure she grows up healthy and happy. For some parents, that means giving their kids booze on their 16th birthday. For me, that means teaching her to not sleep around until she’s married, or at least until she’s old enough to handle the consequences.

    Furthermore, even though she might be vaccinated against HPV, she would still be susceptible to HSV-2, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphillis, HCV, HIV, etc. If you’re taking steps to avoid those diseases, you don’t need a vaccination to prevent HPV.

  59. “The risk of getting HPV — like all sexually-transmitted diseases — increases proportionally with the number of different sexual partners. Which is why HPV occurs mostly among prostitutes and those who frequent them.” – Capt Holly

    Got some evidence to back up the idea that HPV mostly occurs in those who frequent prostitutes? Nah, I didn’t think so.

    Parents rights issue??? How is it up to the parents? When it comes to sex and its consequences, as soon as a human being is capable of MAKING the choice, all the parental hand-wringing in the world can’t stop that person (whether 16 or 65) from doing it – whether its choosing to have sex or not, take illegal drugs or not, eat red meat or become a vegan.

    So you might as well protect them as best you can – certainly with sound advice but equally so with medical immunization. This is a no-brainer, and trying to act like there’s a reason NOT to immunize is just lunacy in the guise of morality.

  60. The unwavering pattern for the past 30 years has been once a vaccine is approved, it’s only a short time before it’s required, even if the vaccine isn’t very effective, or the disease is quite benign (Chickenpox is a perfect example).

    So even if that is true, what is the point? Should the FDA deny approval of something that will undeniably prevent some cancers and hence some people from dying a horrible death because you worry that someday it will become mandatory? That would seem incredibly selfish. I may well agree that it shouldn’t be mandatory (though unless the risk associated with the vaccination turns out to be more than the typically miniscule risk of other vaccines, I can’t see why one would not get it, but let that be your choice) but that is a fight for another day. The issue at hand is letting people have access to technology that can prevent cancer. There is no excuse for using the force of government to prevent the use of that technology.

  61. Captain Holly: You wrote:

    And despite the heart-rending hypothetical scenarios listed above, the odds of a couple of high school kids getting HPV from a one-time tryst or “mistake” are pretty low. The risk of getting HPV — like all sexually-transmitted diseases — increases proportionally with the number of different sexual partners. Which is why HPV occurs mostly among prostitutes and those who frequent them.

    However, the Centers for Disease Control suggests that the prevalence of HPV is much wider than you suggest:

    “Approximately 20 million people are currently infected with HPV. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. By age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection. About 6.2 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year.”

    Do you really think that 80% of all U.S. women are prostitutes?

  62. Until then, I have responsibility to make sure she grows up healthy and happy. For some parents, that means giving their kids booze on their 16th birthday. For me, that means teaching her to not sleep around until she’s married, or at least until she’s old enough to handle the consequences.

    I see. So in your world, “making sure she grows up healthy and happy” includes “making sure that if she has sex, she’ll damn well suffer some consequences.”

  63. Captain Holly, the fact remains we’re talking about a vaccine and not cigarettes, alcohol or an abortion. A vaccine that apparently is twice as effective if taken between the ages of 10 and 14. Giving your daughter the vaccine is not telling her “now go out and fuck somebody”. And since the possibility is very real that she’ll choose a different lifestyle than yourself after she’s an adult, it only makes sense to take steps that could protect her later in life. I’m not saying that such a vaccine ought to be mandatory, only that your reasons for not wanting her to have it don’t really hold up.

  64. I wonder if the same people will try to stop the approval of a working AIDS vaccine when (if?) it ever comes around.

  65. “She can have it when she becomes an adult, just as she can drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or have all the abortions she wants to.” – Capt Holly

    Do you actually live in a world where your permission is required for your children to do things you disapprove of? Nope. (Sorry, that was a rhetorical question.)

    To quote John Turturro in Happy Gilmore, “Never understimate the sneakiness.” Your kids – like all kids – are going to do things based on more than just your say-so. Your approval or disapproval is certainly something they’ll take into consideration, but teenage libido is a VERY powerful counter-argument…

  66. Well, Ron just helped to fill in the probability side of my “to vaccinate or no” calculus. Got any estimates on the effects of HPV contraction for women, Ron?

  67. What concerns us Parental Rights activists is the very attitude I see motivating some of the comments here — that only a reactionary troglodyte would deny the vaccine to his children. It’s a subtle form of Nanny-Statism, based on the idea that you know what is better for my children that I do.
    That’s because the protection provided by vaccination is primarily through herd immunity. Vaccinating your child protects my child. It’s public health in the most meaningful sense of the word.

  68. Well, how about this: People get measles, mumps, rubella, or polio just from being in the same place as someone else who has it; you have to do a little more to get MMR, and if you aren’t doing that little bit more, the HPV vaccine is of no use to you (and in fact is a net harm to you, since it exposes you to side effects without any countervailing benefit).

    How do you know that you will not do the activity that will cause you to get the virus? More importantly, you are surely not nieve enough to beleive that your daughter would never do such a thing. The risks of side effects of the vacine are a lot smaller than the risks of your daughter having sex, regardless of you believing to the contrary.

    Captain Holly,

    Your daughter will get this when she is an adult? Getting the vacine is not having sex. There is nothing adult about it. You are absulutely correct in pointing out that the vacine does not prevent HIV and other STDs. All the more reason why you would not encourage your daughter to have sex even after she had this vacine. I don’t think anyone would be dumb enough or any child dumb enough to believe that it was okay to go have promiscuous sex just because you had this vacine. Again, are you really do sure that your daughter will never have sex that you would want to have her at risk of getting cancer? What if they came up with a vacine for HIV, I suppose you would deny her that too, because she is not an adult. Since when does being a child entitled you to less protection from disease?

    To everyone else, Yes I support governement mandated vacinations. There is a role for the government in public health. Vacinations have saved millions of lives. I do not think society should have to bear the increased costs associated with your child getting a preventable disease because you are a moron with some wierd superstition about vacines. If you beleive that makes me a facist, then you are a wingnut of the first order and ought to move out to a compound in West Texas or Wyoming or somewhere, where you can be with your own kind.

  69. “To quote John Turturro in Happy Gilmore, ‘Never understimate the sneakiness.'”

    That’s Mr. Deeds, Rob. John Turturro wasn’t in Happy Gilmore.

    To quote Carl Weathers (who was in Happy Gilmore), you might try, “Spoken like a true asshole.”

  70. HPV is incredibly common–I think I read that some 70% of sexually active people have it or have had it. That means you could “slip up” just once and contract it–the chances are pretty darn good. And parents–it’s pretty easy to have sex without your parents knowing. Even if you were raised in a so-called “good” family. Happens all the time.

  71. me: D’oh! I meant Mr. Deeds! I meant Mr. Deeds!

    smacky as game show host: Sorry, too late. But we have some lovely parting gifts for you, including a vaccination that will help your kids not contract a totally preventable disease!

    smacky, I think your quote was probably better anyway….

  72. How did this thread degenerate from debating whether the FDA should allow religious/ social reasons to impact whether a vaccine is approved to accusations of libertarians supporting mandatory vaccines forced upon children over the parental rights?

    I’ve gone through the list of mandatory vaccines for several states. It is indeed longer than those that existed when I was young but it is certainly doesn’t encompass all existing vaccines. If the logic is that no vaccine should be allowed because some are mandatory, why bother with science or medicine at all at all? If the argument is that no vaccine should be mandatory, I don’t see the relevance in this case. The central issue is whether the benefits of scientific progress should be denied to satisfy the religious beliefs or social engineering aims of a few.

    Very few people who post here will argue in favor of government forcing citizens to do anthing. Those who argue in favor of parental rights usually want a governemnt enforced outcome of one form or another. I find that parental rights has come to the mean the rights of a group of parents to order the whole of society around the way they want to raise their kids. If they dislike something, no one else may be allowed to do it either.

  73. What David said!

  74. Good point David,

    I think that parents should control most things, but that vacines are different. Its one of the few areas in which the government has a legitimate interest. I am willing to pay extra costs for freedom and do not beleive that just because someone’s behavior costs society that it should necessarily be prohibited. But like everything else, there is a limit to this logic. To pay the extra costs associated with sick children because their parents are too ignorent to understand the need for vacines is too much even for me. We can draw lines. Everything doesn’t have to be absolute and we do not have to fall down every slipery slope. I do not see how requiring childhood vacinations is going to bring the dark night of facism down over America.

  75. Just to introduce another tangent…So is this a female only vaccine or could it be used in males to reduce rates of transmission?

    And just to be a prick, I call bullshit on the “twice as effective” claim. Inasmuch as being effective 6 times in 10 million is “twice as effective” as 3 in 10 million, until I see some legit numbers I ain’t betting on any dog in this race.

  76. I find that parental rights has come to the mean the rights of a group of parents to order the whole of society around the way they want to raise their kids. If they dislike something, no one else may be allowed to do it either.

    That explains most of it, but Parental Rights are also a popular rallying cry among the type of person who emphasizes that this is “my child,” as opposed to “my child.”

  77. I almost forgot, it could be that the purpose of the 2X effective claim was made in the first place was to give it numbers good enough to pass the sniff test.

  78. Comments getting bounced. Is there some sort of rule on embedded links?

  79. I almost forgot, it could be that the purpose of the 2X effective claim was made in the first place was to give it numbers good enough to pass the sniff test.

    There is no claim that it’s twice as effective. The result of the study showed twice as many antibodies in the blood of those 10-14 compared to those 15-25.

  80. To pay the extra costs associated with sick children because their parents are too ignorent to understand the need for vacines is too much even for me.

    What makes the extra costs associated with that so much harder to bear than the extra costs associated with, say, drugs? After all, you’re talking about stupid decisions made by parents regarding their kids vs. stupid decisions made by people regarding themselves.

    I tend not to buy any of these “extra costs” arguments. The more persuasive argument is the “herd immunization” one raised above; that is, your kid being immunized helps my kid to be immunized. But since most kids are going to get an important vaccine anyway, it seems to me like a non-issue.

  81. There is no claim that it’s twice as effective. The result of the study showed twice as many antibodies in the blood of those 10-14 compared to those 15-25.

    I guess that could bended to mean it’s “twice as effective”, since the desired effect of a vaccine is to create antibodies. Deceptive though.

  82. Jennifer

    You and I both are incredible statists. How dare we expect parents to care for their children!!

  83. How dare we expect parents to care for their children!!

    It’s not even that we expect parents to care for their children; it’s that we think there should be legal consequences for those who don’t.

  84. I agree with you Jennifer, but only to the point that I acknowledge that some sort of exception must be made for people who are Christian Scientists, for example. There are some essential rights such as religious freedom that have to be respected, in my view.

  85. I support vaccination laws for the same reason I support laws which say “Parents are not allowed to starve their children to death, so if you refuse to feed your kids you’ll lose custody of them, as well as your freedom.”

    Again, much more persuasive than the “extra costs” argument.

  86. I agree with you Jennifer, but only to the point that I acknowledge that some sort of exception must be made for people who are Christian Scientists, for example. There are some essential rights such as religious freedom that have to be respected, in my view.

    I actually disagree with you in that regard. As an adult, you can refuse your own medication, but not refuse it for your kids. I doubt you’d support a religious exemption allowing a Muslim parent to cut off his daughter’s clitoris; why should medical care be different?

    But I’ll be willing to compromise–fine, let parents refuse to medicate their kids, but if the kid dies the parents face murder charges. And if the kid does not die, but suffers ANY long-term damage from the lack of medical treatment, then when the kid grows up he can sue his parents.

  87. Incidentally, HPV is prevalent in society — but the majority of infections are asymptomatic (that means you don’t get sick) and self-limited. Only a few of the more than 100 HPV strains are associated with increased risk for cancer.

    Or, as the CDC fact sheet points out: “Most people who become infected with HPV will not have any symptoms and will clear the infection on their own.”

  88. Still, twice one is only two and means if it sucked in the 15-25 group, it only sucks less in the 10-14 group. Which brings up another question, how did the “groups” get determined in the first place? I find it hard to believe you get 2X antibodies at 14 than you do at 15. I’m sure there is some statistical correlation but I’m equally sure there is room for further refinement unless the standard deviation is just wonky.

  89. Oh, and for you skeptics who believe that STDs occur with equal frequency in virgins and sluts, here’s a tidbit:

    “Having multiple sexual partners over a short time period and during a lifetime increases HIV/STD risk.”

    http://www.indiana.edu/~aids/fact/fact1.html

  90. I agree with you Jennifer, but only to the point that I acknowledge that some sort of exception must be made for people who are Christian Scientists, for example. There are some essential rights such as religious freedom that have to be respected, in my view.

    I disagree, because I think that if a law is to be passed, there shouldn’t be religious exceptions to it. After all, what really makes a religious objection to vaccinations better than an objection on the grounds of “I hate my wife and I want my kids to suffer”? The end result remains that the kid doesn’t get the vaccination.

    A legal requirement to get your kids vaccinated, make no mistake, is a governmental intrusion on your rights as a parent. A religious exemption clause seems like an attempt to mask that fact. The question is, is it such an intrusion necessary to protect the rights of the child?

  91. But I’ll be willing to compromise–fine, let parents refuse to medicate their kids, but if the kid dies the parents face murder charges. And if the kid does not die, but suffers ANY long-term damage from the lack of medical treatment, then when the kid grows up he can sue his parents.

    Jennifer,
    Does this mean that if I go along with the states choice and my kid dies or suffers ANY long-term damage because of the medical treatment, I can sue the state or try the state for murder?

  92. On my assertion that prostitutes and their customers are at higher risk for HPV, that notorious right-wing group the Alan Guttmacher Institute produced a study that showed brother workers “were more likely to be infected with each of nine carcinogenic types of HPV tested.”

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/2715401.html

  93. smacky as game show host: Sorry, too late. But we have some lovely parting gifts for you, including a vaccination that will help your kids not contract a totally preventable disease!

    smacky, I think your quote was probably better anyway….

    uh, rob, I should point out to you that you weren’t and haven’t actually been talking to me. You were talking to “Smappy“, someone who ripped off my internet handle for some reason. The only reason I can offer as to why someone would pick such a similar name would be: “to confuse people”.

    — smacky (just passing thru)

  94. edit above: brothel workers

  95. I guess I must sit in the “statist” category with Jennifer and John on this one. For some reason, I kind of like not getting small pox, polio, rubella, and other nasty, deadly illnesses that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone*, especially children.

    *Well… almost anyone, Saddam could use a nice, terminal case of cervical cancer. That is, of course, if he had a cervix.

  96. Cpt. Holly, what exactly is the point of your assertion that “prostitutes and their customers are at higher risk for HPV”? Should the FDA not approve the vaccine, because it may make prostitutes and their customers healthier?

  97. almost anyone, Saddam could use a nice, terminal case of cervical cancer. That is, of course, if he had a cervix.

    Where do I send my donation for the surgery to give him one?

  98. Oh, and for you skeptics who believe that STDs occur with equal frequency in virgins and sluts, here’s a tidbit:

    “Having multiple sexual partners over a short time period and during a lifetime increases HIV/STD risk.”

    Sorry Captain, I don’t see anyone here arguing against the notion that more partners equals more risk. I have a question, other than morally demonizing sex, is there reason why people should be punished with a preventable disease? Does a slut deserve cancer?

  99. Where do I send my donation for the surgery to give him one?

    Send your funds to the Secret Cervix. They’re working on it.

  100. And finally, from the NIH, we find that two of the main risk factors for cervical cancer are:

    Early age at first sexual intercourse.

    and

    Multiple sexual partners and/or partners who have multiple partners.

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000893.htm

    For some, that is a justification to vaccine every young girl with the HPV vaccine. But, pray tell, how is the vaccine going to protect them from all the other STD’s their promiscuous behavior is exposing them to?

  101. After all, what really makes a religious objection to vaccinations better than an objection on the grounds of “I hate my wife and I want my kids to suffer”?

    Well, I think that the First Amendment is what makes a religious objection better than simple hatred for wives and daughters.

    This is difficult stuff, I admit, and I am not a lawyer. There are obvious examples of religious practices, such as genital mutilation, which are not and should not be acceptable. Then there are more murky questions. If an Amish child falls and breaks his neck, should we rush him to the hospital in an ambulance? Should we give penicillin to a Christian Scientist child with pneumonia? In these cases the child faces imminent death – but on the other hand, does my atheist belief that preserving life whenever possible trump their belief that doing so will cost their soul or their child’s soul? Do not both of us have the child’s best interests at heart?

  102. Cpt. Holly – Why does it have to? Is it not worth it to protect them from one disease, simply because that does not insure that they will never get sick again?

  103. Well Mr. Feldman, the First Amendment says that Congress shall pass no law respecting an institution of religion. So, a law with a religious exemption could be seen as violating it. Not that it matters much, because I realize religious exemptions are very much a part of law in the U.S. I was simply stating my philosophical objection to them.

    But, pray tell, how is the vaccine going to protect them from all the other STD’s their promiscuous behavior is exposing them to?

    No one is saying that it will.

  104. From what you wrote, I assume you’re saying that approving this vaccine equals approving casual sex, even among minors, and thus an increase in “illicit sex”? Am I correct on this? If so, please explain this alleged causality.

    This quote makes me think something is missing from this conversation. I didn’t see it explicitly stated in the post or the first couple of links that I checked, but a woman’s change of getting cervical cancer is much higher if she begins sexual activity at an earlier age. In other words, a girl who starts having sex at 14 is more likely to get cervical cancer than a girl who starts at, I dunno, 18 or 20.

    In other words, this vaccine is likely to be far less a boon to a girl who waits until she’s a legal adult to take it, than for a sexually active girl who takes it an an earlier age.

    And these facts are why some people fret that use of the vacine would encourage having more sex at earlier ages, by reducing one of the negative consequences.

    However, if I had a daughter, even though I’d rather she put off having sex until she was more mature and in a stable, long-lasting relationship, I’d have her get the vaccine at a young age anyway. I think Smappy (the unsmacky) brought up some good points. If a girl is coerced into having sex, or has a momentary lapse in judgment, or maybe gets taken advantage of while intoxicated or something, I don’t think she “deserves” an increased risk of cancer at a result. (Although I think it takes more than very occasional sexual activity to increase the risk.)

    Plus, kids are barely deterred from sex by the risk of pregnancy and STDs as it is. I don’t think the risk of cancer would deter them much more.

    And finally, even if you believe that reserving sex for a more mature age, in a stable and long-lasting relationship, is the virtuous course, well, chastity is a lot like charity. It’s a lot more virtuous if you choose it when you don’t have a gun (or a cancer) to your head, ainnit?

    Finally, I was going to say, at least I’m comforted by the fact that, as a late bloomer, my chances of contracting cervical cancer are practically nil. But Akira’s closing comment of December 19, 2005 05:20 PM kinda shot the legs out from under that one.

  105. David:

    You obviously missed this gem from joe:

    Got some evidence to back up the idea that HPV mostly occurs in those who frequent prostitutes? Nah, I didn’t think so.

    I’m responding to comments from long ago because a long response I tried to post got bounced.

  106. Stevo:

    Okay. You decide to give your daughter a vaccine against HPV. Fair enough. As a parent, I’m not going to stand in your way. But answer this:

    How is said vaccine going to protect her against all the other STDs she is going to run the risk of contracting through her promiscuity, especially that deadly one, HIV?

  107. So Zach, if you’re admitting that the HPV vaccine isn’t a magic bullet, why I am being irresponsible for not giving it to my daughter?

  108. How is said vaccine going to protect her against all the other STDs she is going to run the risk of contracting through her promiscuity, especially that deadly one, HIV?

    Oh, it won’t. And locking my door when I leave home won’t stop someone from breaking in through a window. But I lock my door anyway.

    But I take your point, that no one can be protected from all consequences of unwise behavior by a vaccine shot. You have to train your kid in the right behavior too. The vaccine is just one small part of a full arsenal of protection. But assuming it’s safe, effective and affordable, I see no reason not to use it.

  109. Captain Holly-The cellular changes that can cause cervical cancer are just as likely to happen cases which present no symptoms.

    I wonder if you could summarize your argument. You started claiming that numbers don’t justify vaccination, shifted to “parental rights” when that didn’t work out, finally landing on some seemingly unrelated points about how promiscuous people are more likely to get STDs. Are you just really lousy at playing Devil’s Advocate or is there some actual rationale behind your position?

  110. I can find nuts out there who object to NASA studying comets because it might mess up their horoscopes. That doesn’t mean those programs are controversial or are going to be cut on that basis. There is a huge distance from finding some nut out there who objects to the vaccine and claiming it is opposed by religious conservatives in general.

    And I think Plan B is a bit of a different story as there is a perfectly valid ethical position accepted by many people that a person gets some ethical rights at the moment of conception, which the drug itself will violate. I don’t think there are any people who are arguing that cancer has rights (well, ok, I’m sure there is someone out there who believes that, but it is a much less common position than the argument that a fertalized egg has rights).

  111. Captain Holly,

    It won’t prevent anything except what it’s designed for(like a bullet-proof vest is worthles agaist a head-shot), but it won’t be able to do even that if left unapproved for reasons having nothing to do with safety.

    Even assuming that your own daughter will remain abstinent until marriage, do you know where your son in-law has been?

  112. David said: Sorry Captain, I don’t see anyone here arguing against the notion that more partners equals more risk. I have a question, other than morally demonizing sex, is there reason why people should be punished with a preventable disease? Does a slut deserve cancer?

    To which Captain Holly replied: You obviously missed this gem from joe:

    >>Got some evidence to back up the idea that HPV mostly occurs in those who frequent prostitutes? Nah, I didn’t think so. (emphasis mine)

    That makes no sense Capatain Holly. The comment you are responding to does not in any way imply that risk is not correlated with number of partners. Nobody would deny that. Are you saying that most cases of HPV are associated with prostitution? If not then David’s point stands, and if so, then you’re just plain factually wrong.

  113. smacky – My bad.

    Capt Holly – You didn’t say that risk increases with number of partners or even that frequenting the services of prostitutes get it more often, what you said was “Which is why HPV occurs mostly among prostitutes and those who frequent them.”

    I’d agree that more partners = more risk. But that’s definitely not what you were saying. You were essentially saying that the people who get the disease are prostitutes and johns. That’s obviously not true, and even if it were, vaccinating everyone we can still makes sense – even non-prostitutes and non-johns.

    Even your daughter – that way, if your daughter marries a scumbag who commmits adultery, it’s one less disease she can get from him.

  114. you know, captain, since Jean Bart deflowered your daughter, you might want to get her a penicilin shot to go along with the HPV one.

    or do you have a Plan B?

    but then again, since you’re afraid of tampons, i guess we can’t go to far in pretending that sharp corners dont’ exist in your Branson-wanna-be-world.

    (if you’re a regular who is trolling, “good job”. if you’re serious. woah. you oughta take up masturbation and maybe fern weaving. keeps your mind off of your sexual frustrations)

    rob: you mean like the captain’s wife?

  115. We could just get sperrbezirk signs like they are putting up in Germany.

  116. They say that girls who have poor (or non-existent) relationships with their fathers are more likelyt to become promiscuous. Judging from Holly’s attitude toward his daughter, I’d say she’s got a better-than-average chance of becoming a slut.

  117. Shem:

    If I seem a bit disjointed, it’s because I’m trying to respond to many different comments.

    My position? I don’t have anything against the vaccine per se, it’s the idea that it should be forced on young children over the objections of their parents.

    I used the data illustrating the relationship between promiscuity, STD transmission, and age of first intercourse to show that while the vaccine may lower the risk of getting HPV, it doesn’t remove the risk for other STDs and might in fact create a false sense of security.

    If the vaccine doesn’t eliminate the need for responsible behavior, why then am I being irresponsible and narrow-minded for refusing to allow my daughters to get the shot at age 13?

  118. They say that girls who have poor (or non-existent) relationships with their fathers are more likelyt to become promiscuous. Judging from Holly’s attitude toward his daughter, I’d say she’s got a better-than-average chance of becoming a slut.

    Jennifer:

    Since you know nothing about me, or my daughters, or our relationship, that has to be about the stupidest thing you’ve ever said on this forum.

    And believe me, there’s alot of competition for that honor.

  119. rob:

    I’ve posted data (from a left-wing source, no less) that show prostitutes and their johns are much more likely to get the cancer-causing forms of HPV.

    Is that right, or wrong? If wrong, care to provide a source?

  120. The Wine Commonsewer,

    I guess I’m behind the times, I never realized that you could get cancer from a virus.

    Are you joking?

    mediageek,

    Its been known for quite some time that viruses can cause cancer.

    fyodor,

    Hopefully we’ll get the FDA approval that will allow that to happen.

    It would be nice if we could get rid of the FDA’s role in determining what types of drugs we can legally take.

  121. Captain Holly, what’s important is that if your daughter does sleep around, she has a damned good chance of suffering for it.

  122. Stevo:

    I’m not saying you can’t use it for your daughter. I’m saying I’m not going to use it for my daughter.

    I would argue that you don’t know if your kids will use dirty needles when they shoot up heroin, either. Using your logic, isn’t it wise to keep some works on hand for when your daughter wants to get high?

    I mean, the consequences of using a dirty needle are probably even greater than having premarital sex.

    Why does everyone assume that premartial sex is both consequence-free and inevitable?

  123. I would argue that you don’t know if your kids will use dirty needles when they shoot up heroin, either. Using your logic, isn’t it wise to keep some works on hand for when your daughter wants to get high?

    You saw it here, folks: Captain Holly equates sex with heroin.

  124. Oh, come on, Jennifer. Don’t be so dense.

    If the argument is “we can’t stop kids from having sex, so we should accomodate them”, then how is that different from saying “we can’t stop kids from drinking or shooting up or using guns or doing any other type of undesirable behavior, so we should accomodate them”?

    Look, we, as a society, restrict children from owning guns, alcohol, tobacco, explosives, etc; from driving, signing contracts and making adult decisions all the time. We do this because we recognize that children do not have the maturity and experience to understand the full consequences of their adult behavior.

    So Jennifer, if you feel kids aren’t mature enough to buy a gun at 13 because they might destroy a life, why then are they mature enough to have sex at 13 and potentially create a life?

    Why are any efforts to discourage them from doing so considered “repressive” and “old-fashioned”?

    If promiscuous sex at age 13 isn’t dangerous, why then shouldn’t we allow them to do what they want with drugs, guns and alcohol?

    This is my final post on the subject. I’m done.

  125. “it doesn’t remove the risk for other STDs and might in fact create a false sense of security.” – Capt Holly

    I’ll take a false sense of security over an 80% chance of getting HPV, thankyouverymuch.

    “Why does everyone assume that premartial sex is both consequence-free and inevitable?” – Capt Holly

    Why do you assume that marital sex is consequence-free?

    Here’s a hypothetical for you to ponder (that doesn’t require the intravenous injection of heroin):

    Your daughter marries a man who divorced his ex-wife for adultery. Unfortunately, his cheating ex-wife gave him the asymptomatic version of the disease, and now your wife an he are enjoying a faithful, monogamous marriage bed. You really don’t want your daughter protected from HPV?

    Because you think that it might give her the sort of false sense of security that being married to someone might also provide?

    Once you’ve answered that, you can consider this:

    “I’ve posted data (from a left-wing source, no less) that show prostitutes and their johns are much more likely to get the cancer-causing forms of HPV.” – Capt Holly

    No one is arguing that sex workers may be at more risk for HPV.

    But your argument was that essentially that this was a disease that mostly affects prostitutes and johns, when that is CLEARLY not the case, as Ron Bailey pointed out with the Centers For Disease Control stat that “By age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection.” Unless you actually DO think that 80% of US women are prostitutes, your claim has been proven untrue.

    Even if your claim WERE true, do you think that being a prostitute/john means you SHOULD contract a disease when a vaccine that would prevent it is available? If so, can you explain that line of thought for those reading this thread?

  126. Sorry, that should have read “now your DAUGHTER AND he are enjoying a faithful, monogamous marriage bed…”

    Of course, now that the Capt has thrown in the towel I won’t get any answer… I was eagerly awaiting a response until I hit the refresh button and saw the full-on, total retreat sentence: “This is my final post on the subject. I’m done.”

  127. Captain Holly,

    This vaccine is not an innoculation against other STD’s nor is it a go screw-yourself-crazy- now card. It is an innoculation against a virus which has been shown to possibly lead to cervical cancer…period. Any actions taken after getting this vaccine is SOLELY the responsibility of the individual. If one is dumb enough to believe this vaccine is a magical cure-all for all STD’s, then one has to live with the consequences of their decisions. However, a conversation with one’s daughter after innoculation explaining exactly what the vaccine protects against and what it doesn’t should alleviate this ignorance. Even if it involves exagerration–it’s none of my business. If the parent is uncomfortable having this discussion, then it could be handled by the medical personnel administering the vaccine or through some other third party means such as an informational pamphlet. I do not think it should be mandatory nor is it any of my business if one doesn’t allow one’s daughter to get it or not, but to equate condoning this vaccine to encouraging unsafe, premarital sex is insulting and intellectually dishonest.

  128. Just to make short points regarding stuff i’ve read thus far…

    1. Yes, HPV has a staggering prevalence of 70% in the adult population

    2. There is no widely-available test for HPV for MALES (women get Pap smears and additional testing in the event of cervical abnormalities)

    3. The link to prostitution is not pronounced in the US or most of the industrialized world. HOWEVER, the link between sex work and HPV is VERY strong in developing countries, especially where cervical cancer is still a major cause of female mortality (Pap smears have made it less of an issue in the US)

    4. Try to protect your kids all you want. But make the vaccine available to people, don’t let the Feds “protect” us.

    5. In CA, minors as young as 12 can consent to their own sexual health care. This means in CA your 12-yr-old daughter can take the bus to Planned Parenthood herself if she wants the vaccine, without your permission!

    6. Bonar Law said, “…more credible if the people making this argument weren’t so often sexual liberationists who want to normalize risky behavior.” and I agree. Having asshats as your primary spokespeople will not win favor with the people you need to convince the most. Can we get some normal, medically-inclined people to advocate for the vaccine?

    7. Commonsewer: not all people with HPV get cervical cancer. but almost (nanoscopic proportion of cases are genetic) all people with cervical cancer have HPV. HPV corrupts some DNA in cells promoting extra growth, either as malignant tumors or as warts (papillae).

    8. Sorry nannystaters John and Jennifer. I work in public health, used to specialize in STDs (libertarian in a gov’t job — it’s a philosophical contradiction, but I digress). I do not advocate madatory vaccinations. But I think the medicine reactionaries who reject vaccines for whatever reasons need to do the rest of us a favor and not screw up our herd immunity.

    9. Akira said, “*Well… almost anyone, Saddam could use a nice, terminal case of cervical cancer. That is, of course, if he had a cervix.” Good news Akira, HPV causes anal and penile cancers in men. You can wish that on the ol’ despot.

  129. Captain Holly,

    This is an incredible red herring you’ve gutted and filleted.

    The main point of this thread is whether the FDA should approve this for anyone to use.

    If you are opposed to FDA approval, you aren’t just saying you shouldn’t be forced to have your daughter vaccinated, you’re saying that nobody, anywhere, should be allowed to have it.

    You acknowledged not caring if someone else’s father chooses differently. So if that’s the case you are ok with FDA approval? FDA approval, and mandatory vaccination are two different things.

  130. This is an incredible red herring you’ve gutted and filleted.

    The main point of this thread is whether the FDA should approve this for anyone to use.

    No, actually it isn’t. If you read Mr. Bailey’s November 4 article, to which his post links, and the links in that article, you won’t find anyone calling for the FDA to ban this vaccine. Oh sure, you’ll find Mr. Bailey raising concerns about whether those nasty religious right types might try something like that. You’ll further find him arguing that, if you’re going to ban HPV vaccine on moral grounds (which nobody has proposed), then logically you should want to ban hepatitis C vaccine. (In other words, he’s making a slippery slope argument, where nobody’s even moved to the top of the slope.) You’ll find Mr. Bailey coyly noting that Dr. Reginald Finger, formerly of Focus on the Family, “claims that he remains open minded about offering the new HPV vaccine to children and adolescents” (but of course you know how far you can trust the claims of religious rightists). (He doesn’t mention that the article he links to states Dr. Finger is “does not endorse” the position that the vaccine would lead to more sexual activity. It seems that he is planning to make his decision (gasp!) on the basis of the medical evidence.) You will find some people expressing reservations about whether vaccine is a good idea. What you won’t find is anyone calling upon the coercive power of the state to keep the vaccine out of people’s hands on moral grounds.

    But while we’re talking about the coercive power of the state, surprise, surprise, surprise, it turns out that the pro-vaccination forces *are* talking about just that:

    “‘I would like to see it that if you don’t have your HPV vaccine, you can’t start high school,’ said Juan Carlos Felix of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, who leads the National Cervical Cancer Coalition’s medical advisory panel.”
    ( http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2002594505_vaccine31.html )

    So who’s the one dragging a red herring across this trail?

  131. That second paragraph should have been italicized. Sorry about the confusion.

  132. Many, many posts ago, taiko asked:

    “If not, then I extend my apologies to Bonar, but it seems to me that he was pretty clear in asserting a connection between approving this vaccine and condoning ‘illicit’ sex and thus an increase in casual sex overall.”

    Perhaps I should have included a Standard Libertarian Disclaimer to show that I oppose FDA nanny-statism. Wait — I did make such a disclaimer. Well, in any case, let me rephrase my point as follows:

    There was the suggestion that people in the sinister Religious Right were against FDA approval of this vaccine. Come to think of it, I’m not sure if this is the case, or if so whether it’s some bigshot like Pat Robertson or some minor figure like the Rev. Billy Ray Smith at the Tabernacle Glory church in Eufala. In any case, assuming there’s some Religious Right person who’s skeptical about approving the vaccine, what would be their motivation?

    The most common explanation on this forum is that they want to act as God’s agents to visit divine judgment on fornicators, etc. I’m suggesting an alternate possibility: Maybe there’s some distrust for the messenger.

    These evangelicals and “fundamentalists” have heard “harm reduction” arguments before: Children are going to have sex anyway, so we have to . . . (fill in the blank: Give “comprehensive sex education” classes teaching “safe” sex, dispense birth control in public schools without parental permission, etc). I can imagine how a Religious Right person may think this vaccine argument sounds like the same old song. I would hope the “Religious Right” draws a distinction between this vaccine and subsidized teenage contraception, but there is a superficial similarity in the “harm reduction” arguments made in each case, so I would understand some skepticism by the RRs. Maybe some of them have developed what one might call an “immune reaction” to this sort of argument.

    The “harm reduction” argument seems highly fake in the mouths of standard-issue liberals (as opposed to libertarian liberals like the good folks on this forum). Observe how the standard-issue liberals *never* use the “harm reduction” argument about something which they deeply oppose. You don’t hear them making arguments for “safe smoking” classes in schools (“kids are going to smoke anyway”), gun clubs for kids so they can learn the proper handling of firearms (“you can’t keep guns out of the hands of all teenagers, that’s just unrealistic!”), or a forum for kids to make racial jokes in a supervised environment (“they’re going to make these jokes anyway, so they may as well do it under adult supervision so it doesn’t get out of hand”).

    Therefore, when a Religious Right person hears a “harm reduction” argument about kids and sex, he might be worried that it’s all part of an effort by “sex-positive liberals” to put us further along a slippery slope toward cultural and governmental approval of sexual immorality.

    This vaccine sounds like a perfectly a good idea, but if there’s people expressing skepticism, the above might be a better explanation than some sadistic desire to have women get cancer.

    To see why slippery-slope concerns can sometimes be more valid that generally assumed, see this article on Mechanisms of the Slippery Slope.

  133. What you won’t find is anyone calling upon the coercive power of the state to keep the vaccine out of people’s hands on moral grounds.

    But withholding FDA approval is using the coercive power of the state to keep the vaccine out of people’s hands.

  134. Link didn’t seem to work, here it is again:

    http://www.law.ucla.edu/volokh/slippery.pdf

  135. “But withholding FDA approval is using the coercive power of the state to keep the vaccine out of people’s hands.”

    But that’s exactly what nobody has proposed.

  136. Except maybe on the same medical grounds that we’d use in judging, say, a flu virus.

    If you want to argue that the FDA shouldn’t be in the business of ruling on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines at all, that’s an entirely different issue.

  137. My satirical reference to a “forum for kids to make racial jokes in a supervised environment” is meant to allude to adult-supervised drinking parties for teenagers. I know these parties exist because there are public-service ads against them on the radio.

  138. I stand corrected, Seamus. But the idea of even having qualms about immunizing against a form of cancer, because you’re uncomfortable that there’s a connection with sexual activity. . . . “hang-ups” doesn’t even begin to describe this. You may as well complain that zit cream will send teenagers the message that it’s okay to go to bed without washing their faces, for all the needless blending of medicine and morality this HPV vaccine objection creates.

  139. Few things infuriate me more than when the moralists (I can’t call them conservatives, since their politics seems to be based only on the expansion of government to influence personal choices) suggest that anyone advocating safer sex practices is saying that premarital sex can be consequence-free.

    Who the heck ever says such things? Who ever implies that sex where the man is wearing a condom, the woman is on the pill, and both have been tested to kingdom come is consequence-free? We are fortunate enough to live in an age where we can have sex without the risk of pregnancy if we so choose. That does not remove consequence from sex, it simply offers choice about one possibility. I can understand those who believe in certain faiths not choosing to take advantage of modern medicine. I can understand those who have concerns about vaccines in general, and do not feel that they should be forced by the government to use them on their children. What baffles me is the perspective that only by making sure that sex is as lethal as possible can we possibly hope to make sure our kids don’t fuck each other. Cpt. Holly may be gone, but I fail to see how the position he advocated is anything but the idea that the chance that his daughter might get cancer and die is preferable to the idea that she might have sex unwisely.

    If I’m misreading the argument, someone let me know please. Otherwise, I fail to see what possible argument there is against allowing parents to make the choice to protect their children against at least one of the ways that sex could kill them.

  140. I stand corrected, Seamus. But the idea of even having qualms about immunizing against a form of cancer, because you’re uncomfortable that there’s a connection with sexual activity. . . . “hang-ups” doesn’t even begin to describe this.

    So the Paul Reveres can stop shouting that “the theocrats are coming”? We’re reduced to grumbling about those stupid religious types and their wacky ideas, while admitting that it’s the *pro*-vaccine people who want to impose their beliefs on others? Well, I guess that’s progress of a sort.

  141. So the Paul Reveres can stop shouting that “the theocrats are coming”? We’re reduced to grumbling about those stupid religious types and their wacky ideas, while admitting that it’s the *pro*-vaccine people who want to impose their beliefs on others? Well, I guess that’s progress of a sort.

    We’ve still got plenty of theocrats in power these days, Seamus, and your use of “belief” here in reference to medicine is a little disingenuous, don’t you think? To reference something I said in a much earlier post, I “believe” kids should be fed rather than starved by their parents, and even think the government should use force if necessary to ensure this happens, but this is quite different from, say, forcing my “beliefs” about what sort of sexuality is proper. For that matter, even my belief that a Christian Scientist child with appendicitis should get an appendectomy rather than prayers, despite her parent’s objections, is the polar opposite from a belief that “If a certain illness is caused by behavior, then vaccinating against that illness might be a bad thing.”

    We’re talking about vaccinating against cancer, not telling kids that “Promiscuity is Fun.”

  142. Bonar Law,

    I totally understand your “distrust of the messenger” to a certain extent. I also have this distrust, for exactly the same reasons (on both sides) on many things I hear. But I think you have to go beyond the messenger to the data collectors. If the data was collected by questionable sources/means, then I can understand the continuance of distrust. But it seems to me, and I’m not an expert on this vaccine, that the data has been accepted in a scientific and peer-reviewed manner. Therefore, the “front people” for this drug may be questionable, but the data itself doesn’t seem to be. Just takes a little research and digging. Should they get better reps? Maybe, I don’t know.

    “The most common explanation on this forum is that they want to act as God’s agents to visit divine judgment on fornicators, etc.”

    I haven’t. I prefer to think that the majority of people on both sides honestly believe they are doing the right thing for the right reasons.

    “Perhaps I should have included a Standard Libertarian Disclaimer to show that I oppose FDA nanny-statism. Wait — I did make such a disclaimer. ”

    I don’t understand how my initial post has anything to do with FDA nanny-statism or your credentials as a libertarian and a later post of mine states that I’m opposed to mandatory innoculation. To clarify: I also believe that this is totally up to the parent.

    “Therefore, when a Religious Right person hears a “harm reduction” argument about kids and sex, he might be worried that it’s all part of an effort by “sex-positive liberals” to put us further along a slippery slope toward cultural and governmental approval of sexual immorality.”

    And now we’re back to what did constitute my original post: please explain to me emperically how getting innoculated against a virus which has been shown to reduce the chances of getting cervical cancer equals:
    1) a “harm reduction argument about kids and sex”.
    2) “put(s) us further along a slippery slope toward cultural and governmental approval of sexual immorality.”

    It is an innoculation against a virus, nothing more. If it is a harm reduction for anything, it is cancer, not sex. It doesn’t say it is now safer to go out and have sex nor is it government approval of anything, regardless of the messenger. One has nothing at all to do with the other and I distrust the messenger who conflates these views.(Not saying you are the messenger or believe in these views but for clarification do you?).

  143. Seamus sez:

    So who’s the one dragging a red herring across this trail?

    Pardon me, my statement is predicated on the assumption that no medical professional will administer any vaccine that isn?t on the FDA approval list. If I can get a doctor to give it to me without FDA approval, then I misunderstood the nature of the debate. I’m not up on all the medical bureaucracies.

  144. I’ve belatedly checked out the links, and I’ve found one person who is cited as opposed to full FDA approval. That guy is Dr. Hal Wallace (or Wallis), who runs a conservative doctors’ group dealing with sex education. The relevant quote from Dr. Wallace is from an article in a Focus on the Family publication. After quoting an immunologist who is a big fan of the vaccine, the FoF article then comes to Wallace/Wallis:

    “But some medical ethicists are saying giving this vaccine to every twelve- year old is across that [ethical] barrier. Dr. Hal Wallace heads the Physicians Consortium.

    “‘We’re going to be sending a message to a lot of kids, I think, that you just take this shot and you can be as sexually promiscuous as you want and it’s not going to be a problem, and that’s just not true.’

    “Wallis says the vaccine does hold wonderful promise for those who need it.

    “‘I do think that we need to be selectively offering this to patients who are at high risk for HPV infections, but I’m not sure that we are at a point where we can justify universal applications.'”

    The FoF article doesn’t take a stand on the vaccine; it balances out Wallis (sp?) with the immunologist who’s a fan of the vaccine. The article also frets about the possibility of the public schools making the vaccine compulsory.

    Also, a former FoFer is in the FDA, and he’s quoted as saying he’ll keep an open mind about whether or not to approve the vaccine.

    Another linked article refers to possible opposition:

    “The vaccines promise to be controversial, however, since they would be targeted largely at young girls. Both drug makers have been meeting with advocacy groups to dispel concerns that giving the shots might promote sexual activity.”

    If the “advocacy groups” are having meetings with the drug companies, that would indicate they’re potentially open to persuasion. Perhaps, therefore, their position is not (to coin a phrase) set in stone.

    All this backs up my hypothesis that these folks are worried about the slippery slope. If they’re like me, they see a whole lot of policies coming down the pike — comprehensive sex ed, birth control in the school nurse’s office — which appear to be part of a tendency to normalize extramarital/premarital sex. Some of the supporters of these sorts of programs seem to be as much interested in sexual “liberation” as in science and medicine, as indicated by the unwillingness to apply their “logic” by endorsing school gun clubs and “safe tobacco” courses.

    I imagine that libertarians are also into sexual liberty, but in a more consistent way, because they would be more likely to endorse school gun clubs and other fun stuff.

    I mentioned “harm reduction” — I think this is a term for policies like “comprehensive sex ed,” clean needle distribution, and other policies of the “they’re going to do it anyway” variety.

  145. Actually, I’m not sure if Dr. Wallis (sp?) wants the FDA to restrict the vaccine in any way. He says he wants some people to get vaccinated, but he opposes “universal” vaccination.

    So the good doctor seems to support some degree of FDA approval. For all I know, he could even be for parental choice.

  146. We could just get sperrbezirk signs like they are putting up in Germany.

    My first guess was that “sperrbezirk” was German for “Crazy about (Britney) Spears.”

    Captain Holly: I would argue that you don’t know if your kids will use dirty needles when they shoot up heroin, either. Using your logic, isn’t it wise to keep some works on hand for when your daughter wants to get high?

    I mean, the consequences of using a dirty needle are probably even greater than having premarital sex.

    Why does everyone assume that premartial sex is both consequence-free and inevitable?

    I don’t think premarital sex is either consequence-free or inevitable.

    But neither is it impossible, even if your child intends to wait until marriage.

    I don’t think it’s wrong to reduces the chances of one of the more devastating consequences as a kind of partial backstop, even if it still leaves you at risk of others.

    To look at the “needle” analogy: Some possible consequences of sharing dirty needles to shoot up heroin are:

    1) Getting HIV.

    2) Getting addicted to heroin.

    If there were a safe, effective and affordable vaccine against HIV, I’d recommend it for protection against #1 just in case, even if it left one unprotected against #2.

    That doesn’t mean you give up and resign your kid to #2 either, by the way. You try other methods of protection against that (like eduation, behavior training/control, and social/parental sanctions).

  147. I really need to avoid these multiple posts, and will do so in future, but I realize I haven’t fully answered a question:

    “And now we’re back to what did constitute my original post: please explain to me emperically how getting innoculated against a virus which has been shown to reduce the chances of getting cervical cancer equals:

    “1) a ‘harm reduction argument about kids and sex’.

    “2) ‘put(s) us further along a slippery slope toward cultural and governmental approval of sexual immorality.'”

    As far as I can tell, a vaccine won’t make girls more promiscuous. Standing back from the issue, the vaccine looks like something which may be sadly necessary in today’s circumstances.

    However, if I was in one of those “Religious Right” groups and had been fighting battle after battle over sex ed, etc., I might be in the mindset of, “here’s another d___ liberal scheme to normalize teen sex.” I might not stand back from the battle long enough to say, “no, wait, this isn’t about government propaganda in public schools, this is just about giving choice to parents about whether to immunize their kids.”

    This may be the mindset which the drug companies are trying to address in talking to these “activist groups.”

  148. I have a degree of sympathy for Cap’t Holly’s stand, but for different reasons than he gives. A parent should have responsibility for raising their child in the way they see fit, and if that means not buying them condoms etc. then more power to them. It doesn’t make the parent who doesn’t want their child to have sex before marriage a prude or a bad person, and even if it did it doesn’t matter. You can call people names but it doesn’t change the fact that they are the parents of a child, and that means something until they are 18 (or 16, or 14 depending where you are). It is also easy to see how parents could be concerned with “mission creep” in the sex ed department of public health.

    HOWEVER

    The door swings both ways – if you want your parental choice, give others their parental choice. Whether those other people want to raise their kids in the Voodun tradition or make them Tantric yogis by the time they’re 16, that’s their business.

  149. You all know what I’m going to say, so I’m not sure I should bother saying it.

    If the only reason for opposing Plan B was that it might encourage promiscuity — which this HPV vaccine also might do — then why do most people who oppose Plan B not oppose the HPV vaccine? Maybe, just maybe, there’s another reason for opposing Plan B that you’ve overlooked.

  150. Bonar: first, just wanted to say that I totally hear you on the “distrusting the messenger” thing. There are a few issues-protecting the environment in particular-where it took me an embarassingly long time to see sense just because some spokesmen were, to put it plainly, reprehensible idiots. We should do something to protect the environment, but it was hard to side with environmentalists when I heard the disgusting Adbusters- and Greenpeace-type propaganda. We should try to be persuasive, not just right.

    Second, I do support the harm-reduction strategies you describe, but as exactly that: harm-reduction strategies. I think there probably are some kids mature enough to handle serious sexual relationships at age 14. Maybe even several thousand, although I kind of doubt it. But I know that many of them are going to do stuff they probably shouldn’t, and, in fact, the ones who aren’t mature enough to handle such relationships are more likely to actually get into them. So I’d encourage young teenagers to be…cautious, and still try to make whatever they wound up doing as safe as possible.

    And Jennifer/John: I find myself really torn on required vaccinations. Part of me wants to say that every parent should vaccinate his child, and teach him good principles of reason, and so forth. And indeed, I think that every parent should do those things. But I think that getting the state involved is almost always more trouble than it’s worth. So I’d say that a parent would have a moral responsibility to get this vaccination for his kid (assuming it’s safe and effective etc), but it shouldn’t be mandatory. On the other hand, for real epidemic-style diseases, like smallpox, I think there’s a very good argument for requiring vaccinations of all kids until the disease is brought under control. HPV doesn’t seem to fall into that category.

  151. And Jennifer/John: I find myself really torn on required vaccinations. Part of me wants to say that every parent should vaccinate his child, and teach him good principles of reason, and so forth. And indeed, I think that every parent should do those things. But I think that getting the state involved is almost always more trouble than it’s worth.

    My attitude has always been: parents do not/should not have the right to make irreversible decisions on behalf of their kids, decisions whose impact the kid can’t shrug off into adulthood. For example: you can make your kids wear dorky, unattractive clothes throughout their youth, but you cannot make them get a tattoo. Or, for a more extreme example (which I don’t think anyone’s actually done, mind you), you can make your kid wear dorky haircuts, but you can’t use electrolysis to make your kid bald.

    This vaccine works best if given to young teenagers, and a teenager who does NOT get the vaccine will be affected (via the lack of immunity) all her life. And I don’t think a parent’s religious or other hang-ups should be an excuse to deny their child protection against cancer.

  152. and a teenager who does NOT get the vaccine will be affected (via the lack of immunity) all her life

    Or rather, the teenager will have reduced immunity, not the lack.

  153. “This vaccine works best if given to young teenagers, and a teenager who does NOT get the vaccine will be affected (via the lack of immunity) all her life. And I don’t think a parent’s religious or other hang-ups should be an excuse to deny their child protection against cancer.”

    So if it were proven that circumcision reduced the risk of penile cancer, you’d be in favor of making circumcision mandatory?

  154. Seamus, in your hypothetical circumcision would still only protect the circumcised. This vaccine would protect the vaccinated, and also keep them from transmitting the virus to anyone they slept with.

  155. What Qbryzan said. Also, Seamus, are you equating a vaccination with, basically, a mutilation of the human body? Your example is a little like saying “If I think kids should be given a breast-cancer vaccine, then why don’t I require they have their breasts cut off?”

  156. parents do not/should not have the right to make irreversible decisions on behalf of their kids, decisions whose impact the kid can’t shrug off into adulthood.

    But the state does? Getting a shot is an irreversible decision with a non-zero risk. People have died and will die from reactions to immunizations and possible long term complications that don’t manifest for years. The question is about relative risk and who gets to make the choice, regardless of motivation. The problem with wholesale immunization is, it’s too easy to screw up an entire generation.

    Allowing people (parents) to choose provides two critical functions, first it keeps control away from the state and second it provides a control group to allow for comparison of any long term issues. The trials don’t tell what may result in the long run. If a problem shows up later, let’s say early menopause or something, well…the horse has left the building. I think before anyone even thinks about mandating such a thing it should be well after the first generation of guinea pigs has survived it.

  157. I think before anyone even thinks about mandating such a thing it should be well after the first generation of guinea pigs has survived it.

    I’d be more than willing to compromise and agree to this, though I still support (most) mandatory vaccinations.

  158. Jennifer:

    Are you equating a foreskin with a pair of breasts?

  159. Are you equating a foreskin with a pair of breasts?

    No, I’m simply pointing out that it is not accurate to compare vaccination with the lopping off of any body part.

  160. “No, I’m simply pointing out that it is not accurate to compare vaccination with the lopping off of any body part.”

    Yeah, but once you’ve conceded that it’s OK for the state to require that my children’s healthy bodies by assaulted with sharp objects that pose some risk, on the theory that otherwise they *might* get horrible diseases later, as far as I’m concerned we’re just haggling over the price. After all, what’s a little foreskin when we’re talking about saving them from cancer?

  161. Yeah, but once you’ve conceded that it’s OK for the state to require that my children’s healthy bodies by assaulted with sharp objects that pose some risk, on the theory that otherwise they *might* get horrible diseases later, as far as I’m concerned we’re just haggling over the price.

    Just out of curiosity: what’s your take on the government, back in the 1950s, requiring polio vaccinations? Did this take away a parent’s right to leave her child at risk of paralysis?

  162. “Just out of curiosity: what’s your take on the government, back in the 1950s, requiring polio vaccinations? Did this take away a parent’s right to leave her child at risk of paralysis?”

    The government, back in the 1950s, *didn’t* require polio vaccinations. That’s a development of the more modern nanny state.

  163. Seamus–

    Do you oppose mandatory polio vaccines now? Or would you support my idea, that if a parent refuses the vaccine for the kid, and the kid later gets polio and becomes permanently paralyzed, that the kid should be allowed to sue his parents for condemning him to a life in a paralyzed body?

  164. Yes, I do oppose mandatory polio vaccines now. That decision is one that is properly made by the parents, not the state. As for your question about susceptibility to lawsuit, no, no more than I’d support letting a kid sue his parents if he grows up and contracts contracts penile cancer that could have been avoided if his parents had only had him circumcised.

  165. As for your question about susceptibility to lawsuit, no

    Why not? If parents have rights, do they not also have responsibilities? Parental rights are different from property rights, in that you’re talking about things done to a defenseless human being. How far are you wiling to take parental rights? I doubt you support a right to infanticide, or starving a child, but how far DO you think parental rights should go?

    Suppose you have a Muslim family here in America that refuses to let their girl children learn to read or write. Do you support the parents’ right to keep the girls ignorant? Does the child not have rights, too? Whose rights do you consider more important?

  166. As for your question about susceptibility to lawsuit, no

    Hmm, interesting line of thought. What if your unvacinated football stud *son* aquires a nice case of HPV and proceedes to infect several cheerleaders from your church who also are unvacinated because they share your, uhm, enlightened mores? And die.

    Not your problem, huh? No liability? The point of mass innoculations isn’t to protect your particular git. It’s to prevent the disease from spreading around the population and killing alot of folks. Think firebreak.

  167. Jennifer,
    Just out of curiousity, are you pro-choice? If the latter, how do you reconcile that position with your most recent post? (I’m curious because I agree with you on the vaccinations, but I’m also pro-choice and it’s making my head spin.)

  168. Ron, I am pro-choice UNTIL the fetus reaches the point where it is capable of an independent biological existence outside the mother. So I figure, if you are just a couple of months pregnant, you can get an abortion anytime you want, no questions asked. But if you’re eight or nine month’s pregnant, then no–not unless you’re somehow endangered by the pregnancy. (I will admit I don’t know the exact minute to draw the line between “abortion on demand” and “abortion only for medical necessity.”)

    But I am curious–why do you think this attitude contradicts what I’ve said about the rights of children? Or did my “biological independence” standard answer the question for you?

  169. Those are the lines I was thinking along, as well. That’s usually been my position regarding where to draw the line for abortion, but once they’ve been born it’s a whole different situation.

    And no, there’s no contradiction there, it just seemed there might be. I hadn’t thought the whole thing out, but after I posted I came to essentially the same position.

  170. What if your unvacinated football stud *son* aquires a nice case of HPV and proceedes to infect several cheerleaders from your church who also are unvacinated because they share your, uhm, enlightened mores? And die.

    Since the proposal is to mandate HPV vaccinations for girls at puberty, I don’t think this is an issue. The fact that you are willing to go even further and expect *everyone* to be vaccinated tells me that my slippery slope concerns are fully validated.

    If parents have rights, do they not also have responsibilities? Parental rights are different from property rights, in that you’re talking about things done to a defenseless human being. How far are you wiling to take parental rights?

    Pretty damn far, when we’re talking, not about positive harm to children, but about failure to take measures that some well-meaning outsiders think *might* serve to avoid some theoretical future harm. And you? You seem willing to go pretty far in the other direction. Mr. Bailey’s November 4 article described anti-cocaine and anti-nicotine vaccines. He posed, as obviously absurd, the idea that “In the future, the nicotine and cocaine vaccines could be combined with little Billy’s and Sue’s MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) shots before age six, protecting them not only from viruses, but also from temptation.” But since you seem to support requiring parents to vaccinate to prevent crippling diseases, it should follow, a fortiori, that you’d *support* requiring little Billy and Sue to take at least the anti-nicotine vaccine to avoid fatal diseases. After all, they otherwise take up cigarette smoking, contract lung cancer or emphysema, and die. We have to do it for the children!

  171. But since you seem to support requiring parents to vaccinate to prevent crippling diseases, it should follow, a fortiori, that you’d *support* requiring little Billy and Sue to take at least the anti-nicotine vaccine to avoid fatal diseases.

    Only if you think that wanting to prevent the spread of contagious disease is, a fortiori, the same thing as wanting to prevent behavior, which is the goal of the nicotine vaccine. By the way, Seamus, you only quoted and responded to the first half of my question. Here is the second half, again:

    Suppose you have a Muslim family here in America that refuses to let their girl children learn to read or write. Do you support the parents’ right to keep the girls ignorant? Does the child not have rights, too? Whose rights do you consider more important?

  172. Jennifer:

    OK. I’ll bite: no; yes; neither.

    Now, it’s my turn: Was Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972) (the decision saying that children were not “mere creatures of the state” and that the Amish had the right to keep their children out of school past eighth grade) wrongly decided or bad policy?

  173. Seamus–
    I oppose that decision, because by giving kids nothing more than an eighth-grade education the parents are making it damned difficult, if not practically impossible, for a kid who wants to to leave Amish country and make it in the outside world to do so. But again, I’d be willing to compromise–you want to force your kid to drop out in eighth grade, fine; but if the kid wants to leave Amish country and finds that he cannot, because of his lack of education, then he can sue you for, at a minimum, rent and tuition for the time it would take for him to get the high-school education you previously denied him.

    I think I said this earlier on this thread–I don’t think parents should/do have the right to do things to their kids when the concrete effects of those things are still there once the kid reaches adulthood. (Note that I said “concrete” effects–not “I’m suing you because I’m still unhappy that you never bought me a pony.” But I have no problem with “I’m suing you because you denied me an education that would have been free at that age,” or “I’m suing you because your bullshit religious objections prevented me from getting vaccinated against the cancer from which I currently suffer.”)

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.