March 1, 2007
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than one-third of American women are infected by the human papilloma virus. Which in rare cases can lead to cervical cancer.
The Merk Pharmaceutical Company has recently been pushing states for mandatory inoculations of girls as young as nine with an anti-HPV product it makes. At least 18 states are considering such a move with Virginia becoming the first state to pass legislation mandating the shots. Virginia governor Tim Kaine says he has qualms about the bill and is considering an amendment that would allow for a generous opt-out provision to allow parents to have more say in the matter.
But this is a sexually transmitted disease. One has to make a decision in order to get it. Abstinence will work, but the sex industry doesn’t care about that. Prevention is better than treatment, but in an age when we sexualize girls at earlier and earlier stages and television is drenched in sex and teen magazines obsess about sex, the message is just the opposite of abstinence. Parents, it’s up to you. What are your kids watching and reading; who are their friends and where do they attend school?
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.