Category archives: Human Sexuality

More Maher Mendacity: Bill Maher on FRC and the HPV Vaccine

by Family Research Council

March 2, 2007

Remember when comedian Bill Maher was smart, thoughtful, and funny? Yeah, me neither. Still, I keep holding out hope that he will say something witty or intelligent. Instead, he continues to disappoint by sinking to greater depths of boorishness and mendacity.

Take, for example, his latest half-cocked rant in Salon.com, Christians crusade against cancer vaccine:

Now for the bad news: Not everyone is pleased with this [HPV] vaccine. That prevents cancer. Christian parent groups and churches nationwide are fighting it. Bridget Maher — no relation, and none planned — of the Family Research Council says giving girls the vaccine is bad, because the girls “may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex.”

Maher forgets to mention that the quote from “Bridget Maher…of the Family Research Council” is found in a New Scientist article from April 2005. Even third-rate bloggers wouldnt dredge up a quote from two years ago without seeing if its still relevant. [Note: Ms. Maher no longer works for FRC.] Maher could have checked Wikipedias entry on FRC where he would have found that the quote did not reflect FRC’s position on the HPV vaccine. Or if he had bothered to look at FRCs website he would have noticed on the front page a link to an article titled, Clarification of 2005 Family Research Council Media Remarks on HPV Vaccine

In response to initial media inquiries regarding the HPV vaccine in early 2005, an FRC spokesman raised the question of whether a vaccine for a sexually-transmitted disease like HPV could give its recipients a false sense of security and thus make them less cautious about their sexual behavior. The theory that reducing one of the risks of a behavior might make that behavior more common is hardly illogical. There is even a scientific term for this, which is “sexual disinhibition.” In our meetings with Merck regarding the vaccine later that year, they indicated that they were quite aware of the potential for sexual disinhibition, and that they had examined that issue in the course of their clinical trials for the HPV vaccine. They assured us that they had found no evidence for any increase in sexual disinhibition in connection with the vaccine. We had no basis for doubting that claim, but encouraged them to continue to study that issue after approval of the vaccine for general use.

After extensive study of the vaccine and discussion with medical experts, we concluded that the public health benefits of developing and distributing such a vaccine far outweighed any potential, hypothetical concerns about its impact on sexual behavior. Therefore, we announced in October of 2005 that we would enthusiastically support the development of the vaccine and federal approval of its use, including its addition to the list of vaccines recommended to physicians and of those made available to lower-income families through the Vaccines for Children program. Virtually all pro-family public policy organizations have announced similar support for the vaccine itself. [emphasis added]

In other words, the position of FRC is the exact opposite of what Maher claims.

(Also, does he believe that Merck wants to “make sure sex is as dangerous as possible”? After all, they examined the issue of sexual disinhibition in their clinical trials— the very question that he criticizes Ms. Maher for raising. Obviously, the researchers at Merck hate sex.)

Unfortunately, this is not the only fact that Maher gets wrong. He also claims that “the vaccine is so good, it could wipe out HPV.” Perhaps he missed the recent Washington Post article which notes, “Just 3.4 percent of the women studied had infections with one of the four HPV strains that the new vaccine protects against.” Although that 3.4% will account for 70% of cervical cancer cases—and have a significant impact on women’s health—the vaccine will not help the millions of other women infected with other, less deadly strains of HPV. The vaccine will not, as Maher claims, wipe out HPV.

Maher would obviously have no problem telling a child that since she had the vaccination she had no chance of getting HPV. She would be in for quite a shock then if she were to later develop a nasty case of HPV-related genital warts. Mahers own ignorance about the STD shows why it was not unreasonable to wonder if girls could get a false sense of security from having the vaccination.

Mahers incomprehension about STDs is rather disconcerting. He claims that, Activists don’t want girls inoculated against HPV because they want sex to remain as scary as possible. But if the average American male has as rudimentary a sexual education as Maher, its hard to image how sex could get any scarier.

No Aid to AIDS Groups That Promote Prostitution

by Tony Perkins

March 1, 2007

In a commonsense ruling, the D.C. Court of Appeals sided with the Bush administration yesterday saying that the president can deny AIDS funding to groups that condone prostitution and sex trafficking. The case, now a year and a half old, was brought by DKT International, Inc., a family planning group that, among other things, provides condoms to Vietnamese sex workers. When DKT refused to sign a pledge that it would honor the President’s anti-trafficking policies, the administration denied it taxpayer support. A lower court sided with DKT, stating that the nonprofit’s First Amendment rights were violated because the funding conditions “insisted that the groups ‘parrot’ the government’s position on prostitution.” Fortunately, a three-judge panel reversed the decision and restored President Bush’s authority to fund only those organizations that communicate the U.S. government’s opposition to sex trafficking.

Abstinence Programs Worth Their Wait In Gold

by Tony Perkins

March 1, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

Some pro-abortion groups are arguing that Congress is spending too much money on a good thingabstinence education. This year, if the Presidents budget passes, funding for abstinence programs will be at an all-time high. And for good reason. A study in the journal Adolescent and Family Health says classes that teach kids to save sex for marriage are responsible for a 66% reduction in teen pregnancies. Researchers are finding proof that the best weapon against promiscuity isnt contraception but urging kids to abstain from sex altogether. And if President Bush gets his way, more students will get the message that the safest sex is within marriage. His budget includes a $28 million increase in abstinence fundingwithout putting extra money in the hands of people whose only answer to pregnancy and disease is more safe sex! Join with me in asking Congress to invest in what works. Otherwise, well be paying an even bigger price for a generation of mistakes.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

What About the Other 97.8%?

by Peter Sprigg

February 28, 2007

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.

Gum Game Shows Kids That Extra Restraint Lasts Extra Long

by Tony Perkins

February 23, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

A parent in one Maryland school district say an abstinence program has bitten off more than it can chew. Because of something called the gum game, schools in Montgomery County banned the curriculum. As part of the lesson, instructors handed kids a stick of gum and asked them to take turns chewing it. The idea sounds disgusting, but thats exactly the point. Teachers were trying to get students to understand that if they wouldnt share gum because of the germs, why would they share their beds and risk catching an STD? One official said, This exercise showed a terrible lack of judgment. But the same can be said of pulling the program. Instead of asking instructors to stop playing the game, the Country used it as an excuse to shut them down. Its ironic. These schools have no problem showing kids how to engage in so-called safe sex, but a gum game crosses the line? Montgomery County should restore the abstinence message instead of bursting this programs bubble.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Internet Porn: Accidents Waiting To Happen

by Tony Perkins

February 16, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

When kids are cruising the Internet, its not the surf but the turf that parents are worried about. A new study by the journal Pediatrics says that the waves of sexual content are at an all-time highand its getting harder for kids to swim against the tide. Researchers found that 42% of 10 to 17 year-olds saw online pornography in the last yearand 66% of them werent even looking for it! To parents, its probably more disturbing that a majority of kids said they werent disturbed by what they saw. But somethings got to be done to regulate how these adult sites advertise. A lot of them use gimmicks like pop-up ads. And while a little nudity may seem harmless to some, it puts kids at risk of being targeted by sexual predators. The government can do more to regulate the content onlinelike passing the SAFETY Act, which would help stop the Internets exploitation of our kids.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Older Adults Are A ‘Dead Giveaway’ For HIV/AIDS

by Tony Perkins

February 15, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

The latest news on AIDS gives new meaning to the phrase “midlife crisis.” According to research, more heterosexual people over the age of 50 are contracting HIV. Why? Well, for the same reason the disease has reached record numbers in young people. Older couples are having promiscuous sex. And if you’re intimate at all, no matter what your age, you’re not immune from HIV or AIDS. But unfortunately, the typical 50-plus crowd believes they’re not at risk. The Washington Post interviewed one 55 year-old who said, “the chance of me coming down with AIDS is about the same as me winning the lottery.” Well, if that’s the case, then you ought to start buying tickets, because research says that the cases of HIV in Baby Boomers has increased 106 percent in the last 10 years. The older generation thinks that HIV is a young person’s disease. But whether you’re 18 or 80, sex outside of marriage could still be the kiss of death.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link.

One huge culture of rejection

by Jared Bridges

February 14, 2007

The Heritage Foundation’s Patrick Fagan pens a Valentine’s Day piece that tackles the “scripting” of America’s youth:

But fewer and fewer of our young men are capable of this long haul. Consider how teenage boys are being scripted. How many pick up the message that it is best to have as many women as possible, versus those who pick up the message to find their one and only true love? How many get the predator/hunter message instead of the message to become the protector of their love?

It is easy for men to take to the predator message; it may even seem to be hardwired. By contrast it takes a massive cultural effort to make the protector lesson take hold among men. Most cultures (not ours anymore, alas) have put enormous energy into the protector message because the children of each generation need their fathers at home with them. Almost a quarter of our children are aborted today, 80 percent outside of marriage, while 60 percent of those who do manage to make it alive through the birth canal eventually end up with their parents rejecting each other. We, the United States, have become one huge culture of rejection.

Fagan’s article suggests a better Valentine’s Day gift that combats this culture of rejection, and it might not be what you think

The Harm of Teen Sexual Behavior

by Family Research Council

February 8, 2007

A recent study dealing with the emotional consequences of teen sex confirms what conservatives have long been trying to convince mainstream society premarital teen sex can be harmful. The study, performed by researchers at the University of California San Francisco, found that as many as one-half of the sexually-active teenagers surveyed felt guilty, remorseful, and used as a result of their promiscuity.

Survey results even highlighted the harmful impact that oral sex can have on the teen psyche, pointing out that about one-third of teenagers who reported having engaged in oral sex believed that it had been detrimental to them. In elaborating on the significance of the study results, researcher Bonnie L. Halpern-Felsher stated, It is important for parents to help teens understand that having oral sex may result in social, emotional and physical consequences just as having vaginal sex may result in these consequences.

Given the source of this information, it is actually quite surprising that we see results which validate, if only from a pragmatic perspective, the conservative ideal of approaching sex with a great deal of caution. As expected, the study does not invoke any truly moral considerations for avoiding sexual intimacy, nor does it overtly say that teens should, in all instances, abstain from sexual behavior. It does, however, open the door for continued discussion and, at the very least, implicitly lends credence to the idea that abstinence is the best way to ensure the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the younger generation of Americans.

Possibly the most important result of this study is that it gives the conservative community yet another set of facts for arguing with our liberal counterparts individuals who oftentimes disdain moral considerations for remaining sexually pure and place reliance upon cold, hard facts. Well, we now have those facts. Lets use them to our advantage.

The door is cracked open. Its our job to widen that crack.

Michigan Says “No” to Gay Benefits

by Family Research Council

February 2, 2007

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled this past Friday that public universities and state and local governments providing health insurance to the partners of homosexual employees would be in violation of the state constitution. In its ruling, the Court opined that the voter-approved gay marriage ban passed in 2004 applies not only to gay marriage itself but also to benefits of partners. The Court stated, The marriage amendments plain language prohibits public employers from recognizing same-sex unions for any purpose.

This, of course, is very encouraging news for the conservative community and is indicative of prevailing public opinion towards affording gay unions the same legal status as marriage between a man and a woman. The majority of Americans does not now support nor has it ever supported the legal elevation of gay unions to equality with marriage. Finally, we see a state court standing firm in its obligation to uphold its constitution, and we see a respect for the results of the democratic process in this case, the passage of the 2004 voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

What is even more auspicious than the ruling itself is the emphatic language used by the three judge panel in handing down its decision: The protection of the institution of marriage is a long-standing public policy and tradition in the law of Michigan. One might truly say that in the battle over the foundational unit of American society the family we can see the fight turning in our favor.

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