Now You Can Prevent Cervical Cancer!

Texas’ pro-life, anti-embryonic-stem-cell research governor has signed legislation requiring all 11- and 12-year old girls to be inoculated against HPV (Human Papillomavirus). What is HPV, you may ask? It is a form of another acronym: STD. (Which is, incidentally, the primary reason I would never get a Doctorate in Systematic Theology.) Besides having the STD, you (if you are a woman) can get cervical cancer. So the good people of Texas, lobbied by the warm-hearted people at Merck (who makes the vaccine…hmm) thought it would be a good idea to make the anti-STD vaccine mandatory.

Nothing wrong with that, right? We’re all about preventing cancer in little girls, aren’t we? Besides, as the governor of Texas said, “the cervical cancer vaccine is no different from the one that protects children against polio.” Whatever you say, guv. The problem is, this is not just something that you can “pick up,” like the common cold. You have to have sex, hence the “S” in STD.

A Merck spokesman, Christopher Loder, attempting to alleviate parents’ fears that this vaccine might have anything to do with their daughters having sex, said

that the company simply wants to “help reduce the burden of cervical cancer — the second-leading cancer among women around the world — and other HPV-related diseases for as many people as possible, and as quickly as possible.”

“Other HPV-related diseases.” You mean other diseases caused by sexually transmitted diseases? I hate to be repetitively monotone about this, but there is a way to prevent STDs altogether (and it doesn’t even involve life-long abstinence!): you marry someone who hasn’t had sex, and you’re monogamous! I know lawmakers never think of these sorts of things, but that’s why they’re lawmakers, isn’t it?

This proposal is as absurd as encouraging everyone to have AIDS tests. (A tactic that is especially effective coming from heterosexual women on Oprah.) Why in the world would I need to have an AIDS test? I have never had sex with anyone but my wife, who has also never had sex with anyone else. The minimal chances, then, of getting AIDS are lessened by the fact that neither of us have had blood transfusions either–though let’s not forget the protestations of the homosexual male community that they should be allowed to give blood “just like everyone else.”

So, no, I will not have an AIDS test. And, no, I will not be needing a drug that lowers the number of genital herpes outbreaks. And, no, for pity’s sake, I will not allow my daughter to be vaccinated against HPV! I know, I know, I’m so harsh. The hysterics and hyperventilation have already started. Bu–, bu–, what if your daughter gets cervical cancer from her HPV!!?? Well, for starters, she doesn’t have HPV. Second, I will personally and forcibly inject cervical cancer into any boy or man who gives my daughter HPV. Third, I am not going to explain to my sixth-grade daughter (I’ve got a few years; she’s only two) why the doctor is vaccinating her against a cancer caused by a sexually transmitted disease. (“Daddy, what’s a ‘sexually tr…'”) Fourth, I will teach her to respect her body and the body of her future husband who, God willing, is also saving his body for her. Honoring the marriage bed begins long before marriage. Fifth, there are consequences for our actions in this world.

I know it sounds cold-hearted to say that. But it is not as if I wish those consequences for my daughter. I’m not hoping for them. I’m hoping and praying against them. Just like I’m not going to tell my daughter to use a condom when she has sex, instead of teaching her to respect her purity and her gift to her future husband. Just like I’m not going to tell my daughter not to worry about STDs; heck, they have medicine for those kinds of things. Just like I’m not going to tell my daughter that pregnancy is just an inconvenience; heck, they’ve got “family planning” for that kind of thing. The consequences are not good, but that is no argument against teaching my daughter to avoid the sorts of behavior that have negative consequences. My daughter (or my son) may drink and get into a car and drive. Does that mean I teach my children to “drink safely.” No, I tell them not to drink if they’re going to drive, and not to drink at all until they’re 21. Laws matter, you jelly-spined antinomians!

And the Law matters. There are worse consequences than HPV and cancer. There are worse things than death.