Remember how wingnuts and conservatives objected to the HPV vaccine because they thought it might cause promiscuity? Well, a new study (hat tip: Feministing) shows that this is not the case:
Since public health officials began recommending in 2006 that young women be routinely vaccinated against HPV, many parents have hesitated over fears that doing so might give their children license to have sex. But research published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics may help ease those fears.
Looking at a sample of nearly 1,400 girls, the researchers found no evidence that those who were vaccinated beginning around age 11 went on to engage in more sexual activity than girls who were not vaccinated.
This was obvious from the start. But I know that anti–choicers won’t stop their freaking out and sexophobia.
I recently read the following in The Guardian:
Schoolgirls are being denied a potentially life-saving cervical cancer jab at their schools on religious grounds.
Some schools in England have opted out of the HPV vaccination programme because their pupils follow strict Christian principles and do not have sex outside marriage. The jab guards against two strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus – 16 and 18 – which cause 70% of cases of cervical cancer. It is offered routinely to girls aged 12 to 13.
The reasons schools gave for not giving the jab included “not in keeping with the school ethos”, “pupils follow strict Christian principles, marry within their own community and do not practise sex outside marriage” and “the school does not want parents/students to feel pressured by peers or the school setting”.
Every year, 1,000 women in the UK die from cervical cancer.
The fact that girls are being denied this vaccine is important, as it hinders the ability to generate “herd immunity” using the vaccine, something it has recently been shown to do (cite, cite).
These actions are of course par for the course for religious conservatives. Whenever some medical advance has arisen to make women’s lives easier, some religious dipshit has been there opposing it, abusing, hurting, or otherwise oppressing women. In the US, the same objections— by preventing a common STD, HPV vaccine was creating “a licence to engage in premarital sex” (cite)— were raised. Those people are the successors to the people who objected to using antibiotics to treat other STD’s, to anesthetic in parturition, and that Plan B would lead to “sex–based cults” (cite). Since almost the beginning of history and probably before, religious conservatives have been seeking to control women’s sexuality.
Maybe these people truly believe that these girls will never be raped and will never have premarital sex. If that is the case then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell them because they are hopelessly naive. Or maybe they really want some sort of metaphorical stick to wave over people’s heads because they see it as more important that people not engage in premarital sex than in not getting cancer. If that is the case then Dan Savage seems more and more correct.
Last week there was a sudden spree of posts about premarital sex. They have inspired me to write my own post concerning the same topic.
First of all, premarital sex is extremely common and it has been for an extremely long time. “Extremely long time” does not mean since the mythical 1950s, but rather since before then. Indeed, premarital sex has been the normative behaviour for much of the past eighty years. In the 1930s, 70% of men and women had premarital sex (cite). Similarly, today 95% of Americans have had premarital sex (cite). And the 1950s are of a mythical view. In her book The Way We Never Were, Stephanie Coontz refutes the idea that the 1950s were some sort of pure “family values” period. Back then a majority of people still had premarital sex. Indeed, she sums it up succinctly: “The 1960s generation did not invent premarital and out–of–wedlock sex.”
Clearly then, the religious
right’s wrong’s promotion of abstinence ignorance–only sex (mis)education is not only an attack on women and an attack on public health, but is also an attack on reality.
A few of the posts in the recent spree mentioned supposed “negative consequences” of premarital sex. As I will show, those supposed “negative consequences” ought to be considered irrelevant and furthermore, the things tied to opposition to premarital sex have sinister and bad effects.
More discussion is after the jump.
Wingnut, socon, and sexophobe types are using a new study to claim that access to contraception does not reduce the abortion rate. In reality, the study does not support those people’s conclusions.
The study in question was published in the journal Contraception, and you can read the abstract here. (You can also read the abstract at the official journal website, but that requires cookies.) If you read the abstract, you’ll find the following passage (emphasis added):
CONCLUSIONS: The factors responsible for the increased rate of elective abortion need further investigation.
In other words, the study says that the reasons for the increase in the abortion rate are unknown. It expressly disclaims offering any explanation for it. This, along with the fact that correlation does not imply causation, shows that it is incorrect to use this study to claim that access to contraception increases or does not reduce the abortion rate.
Despite this study, other studies have shown that access to contraception reduces the abortion rate (cite, cite, cite). How could discrepancies between these studies be reconciled? I predict that the first study differs because of confounding factors or lurking variables.
Shorter Jill Stanek: Premarital sex is as bad as murder.
Steven Waldman of Beliefnet e-mailed Jill Stanek and asked her about why people like her were opposed to using contraception as a means to reduce the need for abortion. She mentioned that she was against it because she thought it led to sinfulness. Waldman then asked her for clarification, arguing that even if contraception led to the sins of hypocrisy and premarital sex, wouldn’t these be less bad than abortion?
Stanek then responded, arguing that there is no scriptural basis for allowing “lesser sins” to prevent “greater sins”. She then said (emphasis added), “That premise aside, it is no “lesser sin”to commit extramarital [sic] sex — both before marriage and during marriage.” Since Stanek thinks that abortion is murder, and since she thinks premarital sex is as bad as abortion, she thinks that premarital sex is as bad as murder! Since 95% percent of Americans have premarital sex, she clearly thinks that 95% of Americans are the moral equivalent of murderers. Since we punish murder with lengthy prison terms or the death penalty, I’d like to indicate that doing the same to 95% of the US population would be pretty brutal.
Stanek is entitled to her beliefs, and it may well be possible to argue that premarital sex is wrong, but is it as bad as murder? (Hint: no.)
Via RH Reality Check.
As promised, here is the response/debunking to part 2 of Dennis Prager’s most recent column. It follows the same format as part 1. This time, there are 18 paragraphs in Prager’s column.
Whether you call him a asshat, nutjob, wingnut, or asshole, Dennis Prager is still a consie and a crazy one at that. His most recent column is the latest in sexist consie nonsense. A paragraph by paragraph debunking/response follows.