The Chronicle ran a story this morning about a vaccine to treat the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer (though it usually doesn’t). There’s a proposal on the board to make this a required vaccination for all seventh-grade girls, but according to the Chron article, “Conservative groups argued that a vaccine to prevent HPV, which is sexually transmitted, would encourage promiscuity.”
Ok, this does sound, initially, like a stupid argument. But consider your own seventh grade experience, ladies, and I think you’ll find that these conservative groups have a point. For example, in seventh grade I had a crush on John, a guy in my science class. He would walk up to me, drape his arm quickly over my shoulder, and bellow “Hey, baby!” Then I would squeal, smack him, and run. It was a daily ritual. I was twelve, so of course I was more than ready to jump in the sack with bellowing John, but one thing was stopping me: the human papilloma virus. Cervical cancer, and the virus which leads to it, were a big concern for me in seventh grade.
Oh, WAIT. No, I’m sorry. I’m thinking of Barbies and homework. Those were my big concerns in seventh grade, those and figuring out how to tease my bangs really high.
But now I wonder: what kept me preoccupied with these non-sexy issues? What prevented me from wanting to bed the other seventh graders? Was it the honest, frank talks my mom had with me whenever I had questions? Was it sex ed classes that included information on STDs, proper use of birth control, and real facts about pregnancy? Was it the fact that I WAS TWELVE?
No. It was the lack of a vaccine for HPV, a virus no one even mentioned to me until I was 22 and a doctor told me I may have contracted it. (I hadn’t. But still.)
So, yes, I think those conservative voices have a good point. Let’s prevent vaccinations for STDs, and let’s not hand out condoms in schools, and let’s not tell our kids how pregnancies happen until it’s too late, and while we’re at it let’s encourage date rape victims to stay quiet and ashamed, and let’s ban abortions so that all those teens who weren’t educated and weren’t given birth control options can be punished like they richly deserve to be.
Let’s also cover Ohio in chocolate. While we’re doing good things in the world.