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July 25, 2006


"We won't give them half-hearted solutions that assume they're merely animals in heat. The beauty of being human is not only that we can rise above our impluses. It's also that each of us can expect our children and communities to rise to that challenge."

I always hear the argument that kids are going to have sex anyway. Your statement here cuts right to the assumption behind such an argument: that it's impossible for teenagers to develop self-control and remain celibate.

Well, I guess that argument works when a kid's intellectual education isn't accompanied by a moral education.

Steve said: "Girls and boys can virtually eliminate their risk of the deadly strains of HPV by saving sex for marriage. Instead of offering them encouragement to develop the virtues of patience and self-control, we offer them an encouragement to engage in sex"

In my opinion this is not an either or situation. A routine inocculation that can prevent disease does not necessarily have to send a message about sexual activity.

Granted that most problems associated with inappropriate sexual activity can be eliminated by saving sex for marriage. Granted also that self control and patience should be widely tought along with the other virtues. But what about the faithful wife whose husband is unfaithful without her knowledge?

It seems to me that although one beauty of being human is that, with the help of God, we may rise above our impulses, one of the tragedies is that we so often fail!

Steve, have you considered infidelity and also what a husband can bring into a marriage? There are a number of women who have HIV because their husbands brought it into the marriage or got it by fooling around after marriage.

William points out that it is only human to fail. Do you consider sexual indiscretion to be worthy of death?

If you are really concerned about drug company profits, take a look at Medicare D instead of asking woman to gamble with their lives.

Also the last time I looked surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment all cost more than a vacvine.

It seems to me that developing and being inoculated with the vaccine aren't the moral trespasses here--using the vaccine as an excuse to be sexually promiscuous is. I think William is correct: this is not a dichotomous situation. Medical advances are not sinful; rather, it is the abuse of these advances in order to enable immoral behavior that is wrong.

I have mixed thoughts about this. The problem is that it is not entirely straightforward. After all, you could contract HPV from rape, or as suggested from you infected husband, so there is reason to think that it might not be an entirely bad idea to offer the vaccine.

I understand the "it will encourage promiscuity" argument but upon reflection, i'm not sure that works because i'm not sure it would. This is not an HIV vaccine, and it is not prevention against any of the other diseases, so it isn't like the threat of disease is removed.

The sort of girl that is going to consider the risk of HPV infection and worry about the possibility in a way that will alter her behavior, it probably also going to care about all of the other sorts of things that she will possibly catch.

So I am not sure there is a risk. Although I agree, in many ways the vaccine does send the wrong sort of message to kids, but so does telling them to use a condom, and all of the other messages they get. I'm just not at all convinced that an HPV vaccine is going to actually make any difference to behavior in practice.

Thought I would be very interested to know if there is any data that would disagree with my assessment.


I've written some comments on this at http://goodenoughmummy.typepad.com/good_enough_mum/2006/08/morality_for_be.html.

Those were reasonable thoughts Jason. Thank you for sharing.

Still, there is another thought that lingers in general on this. Once again it is the realm of the sciences to offer our solutions. I do applaud anything that rids us of a disease, no matter what the cause of the disease. I have to think though that there are those that think that if you erase the consequnce of immoral acts, then you will efffectively erase the immoral nature of the act. IF everything that is wrong, and further delineatred in it's wrongness by natural recourse of it's inherrent dangers, is then rendered safe, it is as if it has been "decriminalized" in a manner of speaking. Like when the law says "We do not advocate the use of marijuana, but will no longer incarcerate you or penalize you for possesing only personal amounts" Once the repurcussions (sp?) are gone, so is the stigma.

I will always be for finding cures to illness, but that will never replace ethics.

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