Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Tinfoil Hat Brigade is on the march

La Lecturess posted a link to Michael Specter's article, "The Bush Administration's War on the Laboratory." It's infuriating. And, like many of the administration's campaigns against science, this one will hurt women most. This time, it's a callous and concentrated effort to deny women access to a vaccine which could save thousands of lives.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States; more than half of all Americans become infected at some point in their lives. The virus is also the primary cause of cervical cancer, which kills nearly five thousand American women every year and hundreds of thousands more in the developing world. There are at least a hundred strains of HPV, but just two are responsible for most of the cancer. Two others cause genital warts, which afflict millions of people.
Why work to prevent access to such a godsend (and I use that word advisedly) as a vaccine which would prevent death and suffering?

Because, well, they need to make sure that godless whores and wannabe godless whores--especially the ones under the age of 25--are terrified of sex:

Religious conservatives are unapologetic; not only do they believe that mass use of an HPV vaccine or the availability of emergency contraception will encourage adolescents to engage in unacceptable sexual behavior; some have even stated that they would feel similarly about an H.I.V. vaccine, if one became available. "We would have to look at that closely," Reginald Finger, an evangelical Christian and a former medical adviser to the conservative political organization Focus on the Family, said. "With any vaccine for H.I.V., disinhibition"--a medical term for the absence of fear--"would certainly be a factor, and it is something we will have to pay attention to with a great deal of care." Finger sits on the Centers for Disease Control's Immunization Committee, which makes those recommendations (emphasis added).
'Scuse me, y'all. I got to put on my Tinfoil Hat of Godly Truthiness here for a minute.

Okay, there we go. It's on nice and tight, cutting off all the circulation. Just the way it should be when we want to block off dangerous Rationality Rays. Ahem.

That's right, Reg! What all those secularist bitches and fags need to scare them onto the straight and narrow is a good, healthy dose of a communicable and deadly disease. Good thinking! Anyway, who'd want to stand in the way of God's cleansing vengeance?

Our heroic President Bush and his administration are right behind you, buddy. And why stop with vaccines? Let's get rid of birth-control altogether. Then, womenfolk will be forced to behave themselves like they're supposed to, and men can return to their rightful place as wife-subjugating, virus-infected agents of the Lord.

Despite the official silence, the Bush Administration has been relentless in its opposition to any drug, vaccine, or initiative that could be interpreted as lessening the risks associated with premarital sex. It has made every effort to diminish the use of condoms as a method of birth control in the United States and throughout the world. Government policy requires that one-third of H.I.V.-prevention spending go to "abstinence until marriage" programs. Since George W. Bush became President, the United States has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on abstinence programs, and it has cut almost that much in aid to groups that support abortion and the use of condoms as a primary method of birth control. (Family-planning organizations in the developing world are denied U.S. grants if they so much as discuss abortion with their clients.) The Administration's opposition runs so deep that at one point federal health officials replaced pages from a National Cancer Institute Web site with information that suggested, without evidence, that there might be a correlation between abortion and breast cancer.
Okay. No. Enough with the hat, already.


What are we going to do about this? This is not acceptable. These people are insane. They are denying people in developing countries the ability to control their own destinies as a condition of offering "aid." They are lying to us in order to control our behavior, and they are actively working to make people sick--and dead--whose behavior they cannot control.

We have to do something, folks. This is wrong, and this is still our country, too.