Welcome home?

I had the sort of weekend that reminds me why I\’e2\’80\’99m in this book business. I spent a lot of time with my good friends of the Poisoned Pen (bookstore and press), had a couple of decent events, didn\’e2\’80\’99t get seated next to a boor or a small and mistreated child on either flight, got some fresh desert air and talked books and writing for the better part of three days.

And then I get back to find in the saved issues of the San Francisco Chronicle, an article headlined: \’e2\’80\’9cDebate rages on use of cervical cancer vaccine.\’e2\’80\’9d Yes, there is now a vaccine\’e2\’80\’94an actual vaccine; for cancer!\’e2\’80\’94that prevents 100 percent of the sort of cervical cancer caused by human papilloma virus. HPV being sexually transmitted, it often infects young women who are generally considered (certainly by themselves) too young to require yearly pap smears, which means that by the time the problem is caught, it’s big. And with this medical miracle in hand, the Bush-appointed right-wingers on the federal panels looking into actually using it are objecting because, yes, they say it will green-light sex for young girls.

How could anyone believe that any teenager, a species regularly barraged with hormones, peer approval, and the role models of the music industry, is going to pay the slightest attention to whether or not she\’e2\’80\’99s been vaccinated against some disease that, even if she\’e2\’80\’99s heard of, she doesn\’e2\’80\’99t believe she has a chance of coming down with? You go out there and talk to ten teenagers about AIDS, for God\’e2\’80\’99s sake, which is the Scary Disease of the era, and they don\’e2\’80\’99t really believe they could get it, not from the nice, clean kind of people they sleep with. If you come up with a vaccine that works against AIDS, gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis, HPV, unwanted pregnancy, jealous girlfriends, and parental disapproval, THEN girls might throw in their doubts and indulge in an orgy like their moms did when the Pill first came out. But one vaccine, against HPV?

The sanest voice comes from Alan Kaye of the national Cervical Cancer coalition: \’e2\’80\’9cJust because you wear a seat belt doesn\’e2\’80\’99t mean you\’e2\’80\’99re seeking out an accident.\’e2\’80\’9d

Please, \’e2\’80\’9cFocus on the Family\’e2\’80\’9d members, get a life. Don\’e2\’80\’99t make me come home to that kind of headline again.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Amen.

  2. Mama Rose says:

    Agreed.

    Linda

  3. Anonymous says:

    Laurie
    Thank you for coming to Scottsdale! You are a delight!
    Sorry about the ‘welcome home’..
    and Amen to your comments.

  4. Amen again, and most of us never believe we will get flu, chicken pox, measles, diptheria, and the list goes on, but we still get the vacines!
    Most teenage girls believe “safe sex” is having the same boyfriend for 6 months.

  5. Very well said. Priorities of some people in Washington are…not very realistic. The Chronicle could greatly benefit from this journal entry sent to them as an editorial for their Opinions section.

  6. I could not find the article you cited, but two other articles about the same debate (one in Fortune and one from the Bradenton Herald in Florida), point out that the Bush-appointees of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices are being heavily lobbied by the pro-abstinence side of the debate. I did not see anything to suggest that the members of the committee have publicly taken sides on the matter as yet.

  7. Fascinating \’e2\’80\’a6Cures for diseases now need to be politically correct? Sad comment on society if that\’e2\’80\’99s even close to being true\’e2\’80\’a6taking it overdramatic extremes, would that mean by withholding a guaranteed cure, are these folks are sanctioning the idea that \’e2\’80\’9cit is OK to let \’e2\’80\’98bad girls\’e2\’80\’99 get seriously ill because they didn\’e2\’80\’99t listen to their parents discussion on abstinence\’e2\’80\’9d? Sounds like a scary form of social Darwinism? Or does it mean it\’e2\’80\’99s only OK to prevent or cure sexually transmitted diseases if you\’e2\’80\’99re a married adult?? In truth, I think it will come down to how physicians recommend it to their patients.

    Personally, I like my daughters\’e2\’80\’a6healthy, alive and, despite the fact that they will make stupid mistakes regardless of my best efforts\’e2\’80\’a6all I can do is try to minimize the ones that can have life altering consequences\’e2\’80\’a6

  8. Anonymous says:

    Keep in mind — these are the same bright kids that 1) think it’s okay to use the threat of rape as an incentive to behave modestly and 2) apparently haven’t noticed the higher rates of abortion in countries (and w/in the US, in states) where a large part of the population agrees with their views.

    They aren’t interested in how their theories actually affect people’s lives. They just want to excercise power, if possible in a punitive way, if possible over women. Maybe if they were hipsters from decadent coastal cities they could get this need met at Uncle Bob’s Bondage Parlor, but, being virtuous, they go into politics. (Where they can receive the same service without paying or getting permission.)

  9. Anonymous says:

    While I agree with your statements and concern over this issue, it’s not fair to lump all of us who believe in Right to Life and abstinence under the same bone-headed umbrella. It feels like you are holding me personally to blame for a situation in which I have had no input. When you generalize to blame all Right To Life advocates for this stupidity, you are, in essence, behaving in just the same way as the pro-life lobbyists in this issue – not seeing the forest for the trees. Don’t blame all of us.

    This vaccination sounds like a miracle, and it should be used, along with every other weapon in our meager armory. It’s just too bad that our society needs it. And that’s where the lobbyists get it wrong. They are trying to focus on the cure for society, not the stop-gap measures designed until society can change itself.

    Yes, we need this vaccine, but we also need to be teaching our children about abstinence, for health reasons, if nothing else. The two approaches can be used in harmony.

  10. I am cross-eyed in fury about this whole thing. A dear friend of mine has cervical cancer. Which, yes, was caused by HPV. She’s twenty-three, and she’s had tumors removed from her cervix twice. When she became pregnant, she chose to have the child (despite it being a less-than-ideal time for it) because she knows that she may not have the equipment to do so later.

    Great. Just great. I’d like to say that abstinence is a nice idea that just doesn’t work, but in truth I don’t think it’s a nice idea. Why are we fighting biology when we could be educating instead? I wish those conservatives could learn that all the ideals in the world do not change human behavior–after all, isn’t that proven by how their annointed one died?

  11. I am cross-eyed in fury about this whole thing. A dear friend of mine has cervical cancer. Which, yes, was caused by HPV. She’s twenty-three, and she’s had tumors removed from her cervix twice. When she became pregnant, she chose to have the child (despite it being a less-than-ideal time for it) because she knows that she may not have the equipment to do so later.

    Great. Just great. I’d like to say that abstinence is a nice idea that just doesn’t work, but in truth I don’t think it’s a nice idea. Why are we fighting biology when we could be educating instead? I wish those conservatives could learn that all the ideals in the world do not change human behavior–after all, isn’t that proven by how their annointed one died?

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