Dying to Be Pure in Florida

Florida has a higher incidence of cervical cancer than the nation as a whole. About 10.8 Florida women per 100,000 are diagnosed annually, as opposed to 9.2 for the country. More Florida women also die of the disease – 2.9 per 100,000, compared to 2.7 for the rest of the United States.

Yes, these so-called Christians count on fear. Fear of death. Fear of eternal damnation. Too bad they don’t fear ignorance and foolishness.

Science is close to a vaccine that, if administered before exposure to the sexually-transmitted virus that can cause the deadly disease, would protect women from ever getting cervical cancer. Florida’s legislature recognized the importance of pursuing such a vaccine, and through statute, enacted the Cervical Cancer Elimination Task Force two years ago.

But Jeb Bush this month vetoed $30,000 for administrative costs for the task force. Why would Jeb eliminate a lousy $30,000 from a $63 million budget? Family values.

Palm Beach Post:

Two vaccines now in clinical trials face opposition from religious conservatives who believe inoculating children against a sexually transmitted virus would encourage premarital sex…

A spokesman for the governor cited financial reasons for turning down $30,000 in administrative costs for the cervical cancer elimination task force. But state Rep. Anne Gannon, D-Delray Beach, who asked for the money, said the veto had more to do with fear of criticism from the religious right wing of the Republican Party.

“We have this great opportunity to eradicate cervical cancer, but these wackos think it could make teenagers have sex,” she said. “It’s so discouraging to have to fight this right-wing stuff on what should be a public-health issue.”

That’s right. The folks who brought you the Terri Schiavo fiasco are back. This time they are so concerned with morals and virtue that they’d just as soon your kids die if they have sex.

Religious conservatives who promote abstinence-only education have long counted on fear of the human papilloma virus as a deterrent to sex outside marriage.

Yes, these so-called Christians count on fear. Fear of death. Fear of eternal damnation. Too bad they don’t fear ignorance and foolishness.

Doctors say those who oppose the vaccine don’t understand the nature of the virus. Even though it’s transmitted through sexual contact, the virus is extremely common and doesn’t deserve its association with promiscuity, several gynecologic oncologists said. At least 80 percent of sexually active women develop HPV at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus usually goes away on its own.

Don’t try to confuse these folks with the facts.

[Family Research Council analyst Bridget] Maher said she hadn’t heard those statistics.

“Wow, I didn’t know that,” she said. Still, she held fast to her conservative Christian perspective. “Abstinence until marriage and fidelity within marriage are the best ways to prevent STDs.”

But waiting to have sex until marriage won’t necessarily prevent this virus, doctors say. If a woman has intercourse only once or twice, there’s a good chance she’s been exposed to it, said Dr. Howard Goodman, a gynecologic oncologist in West Palm Beach…

“It does not mean they’re promiscuous,” he said. “If vaccination programs are going to work, you have to vaccinate before the onset of sexual activity. What we’re all seeing obviously is the onset is earlier and earlier.”

The sponsor of the bill appropriating the pittance isn’t giving up, thank you Jesus.

“I was astonished [the governor] would veto anything like that,” Gannon said. “I’ll try again next year.”


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