Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Bush Administration is a hazard to your health

Exhibit 1

HPV is the commonly sexually transmitted infection. It is estimated that 75 percent of reproductive age men and women have had it at one point. Most cases are transient and pass by unnoticed. The real danger with HPV is that it is the leading cause of cervical cancer which kills four thousand women each year. Two drug companies have developed a vaccine for HPV which could prevent thousands of women from contracting cervical cancer. Shockingly, right wing Christians, the Family Research and (according to the New Yorker) the Bush administration all oppose the HPV vaccination.

"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful," Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council told the British magazine New Scientist, "because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex."

Yes, we all know the only which keeps 15 year old girls from having sex is the threat of cervical cancer.

Exhibit 2

President Bush is poised to use his first veto in his six years as President to stop federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Over seventy percent of Americans support continued research in embryonic stem cells, which could lead to advances against several conditions including paralysis, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.

Exhibit 3

Lastly, from today's Washington Post: "Federally funded "pregnancy resource centers" are incorrectly telling women that abortion results in an increased risk of breast cancer, infertility and deep psychological trauma, a minority congressional report charged yesterday."

According to the article, the federaal government has given 30 million dollars in funding to these anti-abortion pregnancy resource centers since 2001. President Bush is a strong advocate of these sites which were formerly called "crisis pregnancy centers". Few of them received any federal funding before 2001.

One particular center told a caller the risk of cancer would increase 80 percent after an abortion. The consensus in the medical establishment is there is no link to an increased cancer risk after an abortion or miscarriage.

In sum, the adherence to the failed abstinence policy could put millions of women at risk for cancer. The President is going to veto a bill which could lead to medical advances. Finally, federally funded pregnancy centers are lying to pregnant women to scare them from having an abortion. This administration chooses to ignore science even to the point where it has to lie or coverup studies. You can call it a reversion to the middle ages, make a reference to Galileo or even call it the American Taliban. Sadly, it is not much of a stretch.


Anonymous braingirl said...

I don't mean to toe the GOP party line, and I'm not the biggest Bush supporter in the world, as you know, but I feel the need to clarify a couple of points that may be somewhat overgeneralized.

1) re: HPV vaccine. The issue with the vaccine is that it's only effective for younger women. If you're over 25 and have HPV, the vaccine isn't going to do much for you. I don't have the article in front of me, but in order to significantly decrease the HPV infection rates, some doctors were calling for mandatory vaccination for all young women under 15 and up to 25. While I don't have a problem with it, I can see why it's got the right wingers in a tizzy. I would probably be fine with my 15-year-old daughter taking it, (I'd have a bigger problem with her being required to take it), but I can see why some people have an issue. I'd like to see 15-year-olds getting condoms in school, too, but that's not going to happen. (I'd be happy with accurate sex ed which they don't even get in Indiana.)

2) re: stem cell research. NPR had some great coverage this morning on this issue and even Republicans are very split. I'm a huge supporter of stem cell research and don't by any stretch think it should be illegal. (I don't think it's immoral either.) But I'm not sure the governmnet should be so heavily invested in funding it. The government certainly hasn't invested heavily in some kinds of cancer research, genetic mapping or other biological science research that's been just a potentially promising. That said, I think people should be allowed to donate their embryos before destroying them if they like and Bush's opposition to this simple issue of choice does irritate me.

3) There are more problems than just misinformation with federally (and non-federally) funded "pregnancy centers". I think there should be wider regulation of many of the faith-based, anti-abortion efforts that masquarade as "help" for young women. That said, the only actual misinformation the Post article points out is the cancer risk misinformation. For surgical abortions (as opposed to medical abortions such as RU486), there is increased risk for infertility (or increased potential for miscarriage, I believe, depending on whether the doctor is an incompetent boob) and some kinds of mental trauma (I suppose, if you're so distraught, but the risk is there.) Abortion isn't without its risks, they're just not hugely great -- but the cancer thing is a crock.

July 18, 2006  
Blogger torporific said...

Braingirl, I wasn't aware of the lack of effectiveness in those over 25. I would have a problem for requiring women to take the vaccine as well, but I think it should be readily available at your obgyn and family planning clinics.

I can understand a reluctance for stem cell search solely on the basis of federal aid.

As for the emotional trauma for an abortion, one of the articles I read cited an APA study which showed no more emotional trauma than actually giving birth.

July 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A vaccine's purpose is to prevent disease. It's not a cure. The reason they're recommending the vaccine for younger girls and not older women is because we're hopeing the younger girls haven had a chance to be exposed. I was an RN for over 20 years, mostly in OBGYN and saw girls pregnant at very young ages. My youngest patient was 12. The right wingers need to butt out of health care. PERIOD!! Why are they so obsessed with sex anyway? Their backward reasoning is that this will encourage girls to become sexually active before marriage. Fact is they already are. Something else they don't seem to consider is that people are NOTORIOUSLY untruthful when it comed to sexual history. What if the girl abstains from sex until marriage, but HE'S been everywhere with everything- and wasn't honest. The number of married men who don't consider sex with a hooker cheating on their wives is over 75%. "Oh I'm monogomous. I may have a hooker if I'm out of town on buisness, but I'm faithful to my wife. I'm not worried about HIV." If I heard that line once I heard it a million times. Women have to protect themselves and these exxtremist need to butt OUT!

July 18, 2006  
Anonymous braingirl said...

re: trauma, I agree. But I can't speak to what else traumatizes someone else. We live in a world of drama queens. Some people are traumatized by going to a movie or the liquor store. (Me? I'm often traumatized by, say, Starbucks.)

July 18, 2006  
Blogger indygirl said...


75% of reproductive aged men and women have had it at some point. What is the logic that it is acquired through promiscuious sex? Ludicris.

July 19, 2006  
Anonymous braingirl said...

re: Stemcell research. I missed an important point on this bill (the one that Bush is going to veto) and it's a *very* important one -- the bill actually *lifts* restrictions on stem cell research and isn't necessarily a federal funding measure. It basically allows stem cell research to be put in the same queues as all other kinds of research that is government funded. The fact that Bush won't sign it is a complete and total bow to the right and completely ridiculous.

Sure, it's a huge hypocrosy that Bush (and a lot of other politicians) won't see sexual issues the way the rest of us do -- and the way health providers do. But it's a huge problem and one very tied into moral issues for a lot of people. Not me and not you, but for a lot of people. There is always going to be a contingent who believes any 15 year old that's having sex is promiscuous. (Frankly, *I'd* be concerned if I had a 15-year-old having sex.) Doesn't change the fact that it's ludicrous that politicians ignore the experts when it comes to stopping the spread of one potentially curable problem.

July 19, 2006  
Blogger indymtgpro77 said...

morals are not for the preznit to decide.

July 20, 2006  
Anonymous PPYL advocate said...

if anyone's interested in learning more about the HPV vaccine (and having some good sushi and drinks), Planned Parenthood Young Leaders are hosting their quarterly event at Ice Lounge next Thursday!

Summer 2006 Safe Sex in the City event
5:30-7:30 p.m.
at the ICE LOUNGE, 235 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis

Complimentary sushi | Asian cuisine appetizers | Half-price martinis | Live jazz
$10 gets you in the door
FREE to PPYL members: become a PPYL member for $35 in advance or at the door, and admission to all PPYL events is free all year!

To RSVP or for more information, email Amanda Lawson or call (317) 637-4350.

July 20, 2006  

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