Over the past few days, both The Washington Times and the Washington Post have run stories on HPV and the new HPV vaccine, Gardasil. The Times articles on the subject may have underplayed the risks from HPV to young women and girls. Today’s Post article, on the other hand, seems to overplay it.
The headline (“Millions In U.S. Infected With HPV: Study Finds Virus Strikes a Third of Women by Age 24”) is about the large number of women who are infected with HPV—which would seem calculated to build support for making the vaccine mandatory. But those figures refer to at least 27 strains of genital HPV. Only in paragraph four do you learn that “only 2.2% of women were carrying one of the two virus strains most likely to lead to cervical cancer”—in other words, the two cancer-related strains targeted by the vaccine.
To put this another way—vaccinating the entire population with Gardasil would not eliminate a virus that infects one quarter to one third of American women, as the headline might lead you to believe. Instead, it would only eliminate the strains that infect 2.2% of women.
Now, that 2.2% will account for 70% of cervical cancer cases, so the vaccine’s impact is very significant in relation to that disease. But the vaccine will not help the millions of other women infected with other, less deadly strains of HPV. Only abstinence will help them all.
The religious impulse is a fundamental and basic human yearning. Yet, governments and societies sometimes deny religious freedom, particularly to those whom they view as a threat to their own ideology. Within the past ten years, the question of international religious freedom has become an important part of U.S. foreign policy. How did this happen? What does it portend for the future of religious freedom around the world? In this lecture, Bill Saunders will examine these and related questions.
Bill Saunders is Senior Fellow and Human Rights Counsel at the Family Research Council. A graduate of the Harvard Law School, he has been active in the cause of international religious freedom for more than a decade, first at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, then at the Family Research Council. He was involved from the beginning in the movement to make this part of U.S. foreign policy. In 1999, he founded an organization to provide relief to persecuted Christians and others in Sudan. He has written on this topic frequently, in a variety of journals.
According to a study by the Alabaman Policy Institute, the longer couples cohabited before marrying, the more likely they were to resort to heated arguments, hitting, and throwing objects when conflicts arose in their subsequent marriage. A longer length of cohabitation was linked to a greater frequency of heated arguments, even when controlling for spouses’ age.
Source: “Effects of Cohabitation Length on Personal and Relational Well Being” Hill, John R. Evans, Sharon G. Alabama Policy Institute Vol. API Study, Number . August, 2006. Page(s) 1-13.
Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:
At the Sundance Film Festival, Americas government ensured that the show would go on. According to the American Family Association, two U.S. agencies helped to sponsor the eventand, until this week, they had managed to get away without publicizing it. Reports show that the National Endowment for the Arts and Public Broadcasting gave as much as $350,000 of your tax money to an event that featured graphic films on bestiality and child rape. The 2007 festival highlighted the documentary Zoo about sexual relationships between a man and his horse. The truth is, independent films should have independent support. You and I shouldnt have to pay for Hollywoods pet projects. Our money should be spent keeping Americas families safenot exposing them to radical ideas that harm society. They may be partnering with filmmakers, but when it comes to understanding right from wrong, its apparent our government doesnt get the big picture.
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Amanda Marcotte, the blogger who worked for John Edwards campaign before she fell victim to the “right wing noise machine”, has an interesting take on abortion:
To see that abortion is moral, you just need to look at women as human beings with lives that have value. When a woman chooses abortion, shes not indulging some guilty pleasure, like sneaking in a round of adultery at lunch, to bring up a genuinely immoral action that should not be criminal. She is probably thinking about her familys well-being and yes, her own well-being. Taking your own well-being into consideration is called selfish by anti-choicers, but I think valuing yourself is a moral good, even if you are female. In fact, especially if you are female, since you live in a world where having self-esteem can be an act of moral courage that requires some defiance. If I got pregnant, I wouldnt even have to suffer much mental strain to realize that abortion would be the best choice for myself, my family, and my relationship. Abortion, not just the right to abortion but the actual procedure, is a moral good that helps women and families and should be honored as such. Women who get abortions should be recognized as people who can accurately weigh their choices and make the most moral one.
In fairness, most abortion advocates are not as morally deranged as Marcotte. Some even consider abortion to be “morally questionable”, a position Marcotte claims is a “huge insult”:
Updated to add: Also, saying that abortion is morally questionable, even if youre pro-choice, is a huge insult to the brave men and women who risk life and limb to perform them. Being an abortion doctor is a pretty thankless task, because a bunch of Christian men who have emasculation issues are gunning to kill you in hopes that brings their huevos back.
John Edwards must be thanking his lucky stars that this left-wing extremist quit before such nutty statements completely destroyed his campaign. (HT: Mirror of Justice)
The penultimate question with regard to issues of life is “what does it mean to be human?” Courts have effectively sidestepped that question in cases like Roe v. Wade, opting to address questions of privacy instead.
Sarah Elizabeth Leighton was only a 14-week-old fetus when a toilet at a Brooklyn public school collapsed, injuring her schoolteacher mom.
The fall in January 1999 ruptured Esther Portalatin-Leighton’s placenta, and Sarah was born prematurely, less than four months later, the family contends.
Sarah’s learning disabilities and asthmatic symptoms are the direct result of her early birth, which was caused by the ruptured placenta, her parents argue.
City lawyers tried to get the case dismissed before trial by arguing that the child had to have been able to survive outside the womb at the time the injuries occurred in order for her to recover damages.
Well, Sarah has survived outside the womb, and she can now claim the injuries sustained when she was a 14-week old fetus. Whatever the merits of the case, the fact that court now recognizes “fetus Sarah” as the “girl Sarah” is a step toward justice.
The court, of course, made sure not to draw parity with abortion issues:
“Abortion cases are genuinely distinguishable from the [Leighton] case since fetuses which are aborted are not born alive,” Brooklyn Appeals Court Justice Gloria Goldstein wrote.
However, the panel did offer conception as a line of demarcation, saying that “as long as the injuries occurred after conception and the child was born alive, she could make a claim.” It almost sounds absurd (after all, what injuries can one sustain before conception?), but it does lend considerable recognition to the notion that personhood begins at conception.
According to a 2005 study by the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, frequent family dinners were associated with lower rates of teen smoking, drinking, and drug use. Compared with teens who frequently had dinner with their families, (five nights or more per week), those who had dinner with their families only two nights per week or less were twice as likely to be involved in substance abuse. They were 2.5 times as likely to smoke cigarettes, more than 1.5 times as likely to drink alcohol, and nearly three times as likely to try marijuana.
Source: The National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, The Importance of Family Dinners II, (: September 2005)
Anthony Esolen of Touchstone magazine reminds us of the unnoticed gift of trickle-down decadence:
The rich can afford their vices, for a time anyway; the poor have no such margin for comfort. They are, in fact, endangered by the vices of the rich. I dont simply mean that the rich man can extort his will from the poor, or wield the law as a club to keep the poor man in his place. He can do worse: He can infect the poor man with his vice, and that may be the quicker way to destroy him.
Two years after FRC helped to defeat the idea, the push for a “Triple X” domain for pornographic web sites is on again. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) continues to debate whether or not to establish an online .xxx domain specifically for the adult industry. While supporters argue that it would help regulate pornography, FRC strongly disagrees. Instead of relegating it to a specific domain, the government would actually be facilitating the adult industry’s growth. Without the necessary enforcement, pornographers would simply retain their .com sites and add to them. If successful, ICANN could be responsible for potentially doubling the number of porn sites on the Internet. Proponents claim the .xxx domain will make it easier to filter out these graphic sites, while web experts say it will make it more difficult because the sites will be operating under dual domains.
The .xxx would also establish a virtual red light district or “safe haven” for illegal, hardcore obscenity. Rather than legitimize an industry that exploits women and endangers children, ICANN should focus its efforts on making the web safer for families.
According to a federal judge, public schools—not parents—have the right to control the curriculum to which children are exposed. Joseph and Robin Wirthlin sued Lexington, Massachusetts schools for allowing their son’s second-grade teacher to read the homosexual fairy tale, King and King, to the class without prior notice to the Wirthlins. A couple FRC interviewed for Liberty Sunday, Tonia and David Parker, joined the suit when their son brought home a book about families that included two gay adults. Judge Mark Wolf sided with the school, saying, “…Under the Constitution public schools are entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become productive citizens in our democracy.” Wolf continued by saying that if parents don’t agree with the curriculum, they are welcome to send their kids to a private school. “It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation.”
Clearly, this is not about diversity but a political agenda. Massachusetts law on homosexual marriages was imposed by judicial decree and is far from settled. The government seems bent on overpowering parents and dictating what’s in the best interest of children. At the very least, the Parkers, Wirthlins and others deserved to be informed about the content of the curriculum and to have their kids exempted from lessons that violate their moral beliefs. School administrators argued that the books did not focus on human sexuality but family structures. If they truly believe that, Lexington officials must be living in the very fairy tales their schools are promoting.
It’s no wonder America is failing miserably to keep up with international test scores. Public schools are consumed with teaching not the basics reading and writing but the chic and the radical. Both couples will appeal the case to the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, where we can only hope that the inherent authority of parents will fare better.