Volokh points out this bit of stupidity:
Family Research Council Opposing Vaccination:
New Scientist reports:
Deaths from cervical cancer could jump fourfold to a million a year
by 2050, mainly in developing countries. This could be prevented by
soon-to-be-approved vaccines against the [sexually transmitted HPV]
virus that causes most cases of cervical cancer . . . . [T]o prevent
infection, girls will have to be vaccinated before they become sexually
active, which could be a problem in many countries.
In the US, [however,] religious groups are gearing up to oppose
vaccination . . . . "Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV," says
Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council, . . . [which] has made
much of the fact that, because it can spread by skin contact, condoms
are not as effective against HPV as they are against other viruses such
"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful,
because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex,"
Maher claims . . . .
This is just wrong on any number of levels. The lamest part of this, beyond the sheer wrongheadedness of it, is it strikes me as a sign that these religious groups are unsure of their own teachings and moral standing. I will never be confused with a religious expert, but I would think that religious groups would be fighting for abstinence as a positive moral principal. Trying to deny vaccinations in order to make sexual intercourse incrementally more dangerous and threatening strikes me as a sign that the religious groups have given up on moral teaching and are now relying on bald scare tactics.
When my kids were about 2, we had trouble with them getting out of bed and coming into our room. Increasing the likelihood of STD's in order to discourage sex strikes me as similar to if I had spread tacks on the ground around my kids bed to keep them from wandering around at night. When we come up with an HIV vaccine, are these groups going to oppose that as well?