...and the Christian Right wants to prevent its legalization.
It's been covered here and there over the last month or so, but via Pharyngula a link to this thoughtful post by Brent Rasmussen (no relation to yours truly, despite the initials and last name). I'm excerpting the politics and science part, but there is also a very moving story of losing someone he loved to cervical cancer.
Nationwide, about 5,000 women will die of cervical cancer this year out of the over 12,000 cases that will be diagnosed, the great majority attributable to HPV. The virus is also known or suspected in uterine, throat, vulvar, rectal, and even sometimes, penile cancers. All told, the impact of HPV on the US is roughly equivalent in terms of mortality, morbidity, and expense, to a 9-11 attack every month. And now, finally, after truckloads of disease ridden body parts have been incinerated in hospital waste facilities and millions of lives world-wide torn asunder, we can end at least this one threat to little girls and the women they will become. Maybe forever.
In fact, Cervical Cancer is believed to be caused almost exclusively by two strains of HPV. In addition this virus is strongly suspected as a common precursor in a number of other types of cancer.
Oddly enough, the link between cervical cancer and HPV is in a sense, good news. Because vaccines can be developed for viruses, cervical cancer comes with the potential of virtual elimination (Too bad all cancers don't work that way). And sure enough, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. recently developed a new vaccine for four strains of HPV, several of which are known to be associated with cervical and other cancers. Clinical trials indicate the vaccine is, get this, One-hundred Percent effective in preventing cervical malignancies! As a side benefit it also provides enormous protection against common types of warts which are both unattractive and trigger a false positive on PAP smears.
Results like that are breathtaking, eh? A real cure for cancer, at least one kind anyway, that works every time. Rarely in life or in science is anything one-hundred percent. And what it means is we can now give every little girl (And little boy for that matter) something never before available with a few shots in the arm: Near total protection from nasty warts along and one of the greatest cancer killers of all time, if administered early in life, before they're exposed to HPV.
Except there's a catch, here in the US anyway: The Neo-Christian Right (NCR) is opposed.
Now an old force has crawled out of the darkest depths of our collective Id, as surely as racism and ethnic cleansing clawed out of their burial grounds in Central Europe once relieved of their Soviet Oppressors. And as many suspected, there's a big wide streak of sexism (And racism) running right through the heart of the Neo-Christian Base. Broader than the Mississippi and nastier than a concert outhouse.
In the laboratories of the right-wing church, the ancient prejudice is jolted back to life, unloaded from the psyche onto the sanctify of the Temple, washed clean of shame, and offered back to the faithful now refined by convoluted apologetics and stamped with the comforting Seal of Allah, God, or YVHW. From the Sunni bin Laden wannabes to the Mullahs of Iran to loosely confederated Neo-Christian groups across North America, the faithful are schooled in the age old sexist hatreds, at times openly at times subtly, but always reassuringly; women are weak and wicked and the cause of every ill plaguing mankind, natural or manmade. It says so in the Good Book.
In fundamentalist Islamic, Judaic, and Christian Theology, all females inherit this defect from Eve. And followers are warned to observe the screwy traditions of bronze aged shepherds where it is wholly moral, in fact it is incumbent upon mankind as an expression of Divine Righteousness and undeniable Will, to punish all descendants of the Original Sinner: That includes, most especially, all women.
This is only one of the many hideous facets of fundamentalist religion that the GOP has frantically kept behind closed doors for as long as possible; the reasoning for concealment hopefully obvious. Here in the US, our own Neo-Christian Right extremists--if extremist is a fair qualifier any longer -- have been kept mostly hidden from the public for decades lest they shock normal voters back to reality. Now, with BushCo tenuously in power and needful of every swinging dick they can retain, as the whole mediocre crew slides inexorably toward the bottom quartile of approval, the monsters of mankind's past have been reinvigorated, and their legions are marching on modern decency with torches in hand.
These extremists would happily sacrifice anyone, even the lives of sweet little girls, on the alter of their warped version of YVWH. If their unscrupulous leaders properly motivate them and can profit financially and/or politically from feminine discomfort and demise, they'd burn them alive. If you're a women (OR any other deme targeted for domination or elimination) you are, quite bluntly, OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND, if you vote for anyone who champions these vicious, predatory sons-of-bitches. That applies as equally to the Shia in Iraq as it does to soccer moms in Ohio.
Sobering post. I'm sorry that he lost someone dear, and am glad that he is speaking out so that others might avoid her suffering.Posted by binky at November 6, 2005 06:13 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Gender and Politics | Religion | Science