Friday, February 09, 2007

Saving Lives or Preventing Sex?

Religious Right leaders are opposing the use of a vaccine that could save the lives hundreds of thousands of women worldwide. Additionally, they are attacking Rick Perry, Texas's conservative Republican governor, for taking action to ensure that no young Texas women die from a preventable form of cancer.

Perry issued an executive order requiring girls to receive a vaccine to protect against strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer....

Why would pro-life Christians oppose such life-saving measures? Because HPV is contracted though sex, and these Christian leaders fear the vaccinations would then encourage young women to become promiscuous. In this mindset, preventing sex becomes the first priority, even over saving lives....

Thus, it seems that the dominant position for many conservative Christians is not being pro-life but actually being anti-sex. After all, CWA's Wright claimed that Perry's action required "little girls to be shot with a sex virus vaccine."

Tragically, this extreme anti-sex ideology may be a death sentence for some women who have committed no sexual sin. Consider the woman who faithfully waits until marriage only to get HPV from her husband who did not wait. This faithful Christian woman could be given a death sentence because of the anti-sex policies of the Religious Right.

Consider the woman who is raped and given HPV. This innocent woman could be given a death sentence because of the anti-sex policies of the Religious Right. The case of rape by a parent or close relative undermines the argument of Religious Right leaders like Land and Perkins that getting the vaccine should only be the decision of the parents.

Or consider the woman who grows up in a non-Christian home but after a few years of unfulfilling sexual activity repents and begins to live a godly life. Shortly after beginning her new life she discovers she has cervical cancer. This new Christian woman could be given a death sentence because of anti-sex policies of the Religious Right.

Even if none of these cases were true and every woman who got cervical cancer from HPV was unrepentant and promiscuous, should they be denied a life-saving vaccine? What is really more important: stopping promiscuous sex or saving lives? What should the Christian response be? Should we cast the first stone because the women deserve death?
[via, HT: For God's Sake Shut Up!, emphasis mine]

1 comment:

  1. I was actually pleasantly surprise by the relative sensibleness of James Dobson and Focus on the Family. In their position paper they support the use of the virus but oppose mandating it for school admission. This and the fact that Texas and Virginia, two arguably quite right wing states, has made me think maybe the religious right isn't as out there as I tend to visualize them as being. The sad thing is that the vaccine is so expensive that at this point there's no way in hell to make it available in the third world, where it really could save a lot more lives than here. Maybe we could convince Bush and co to redirect some tiny portion of the 300 billion *more* dollars they want for war in Iraq to buying HPV vaccine for women in the third world. Actually, I guess that probably won't happen. Oh well.