Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Religious Right wants to kill your daughter...

Nothing pisses me off more than people who let political ideology and religious fundamentalism get in the way of public health. Do you remember last year when some Imams in Nigeria announced a ban on polio vaccines because they believed it was a plot by the Western governments to spread AIDS? ...and that there were serious consequences, including a jump in polio cases in northern Nigeria causing paralysis in children? Remember how many here in the West laughed about it as just another example of Third World crazyness? Would never happen here, right?

In the US, for instance, religious groups are gearing up to oppose vaccination, despite a survey showing 80 per cent of parents favour vaccinating their daughters. "Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV," says Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council, a leading Christian lobby group that has made much of the fact that, because it can spread by skin contact, condoms are not as effective against HPV as they are against other viruses such as HIV.

Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex," Maher claims, though it is arguable how many young women have even heard of the virus.

In other words, Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council wants your daughters to die from a horrible preventable illness so that she won't lose her favourite boogeyman to scare kids into abstenance. Its bad enough she and her friends are determined that your daughters should get pregnant at every available opportunity, whether from a moment of carelessness or from a violent rape.

It is estimated that more than 25,000 women become pregnant in the United States each year as a result of rape, according to statistics given by state lawmakers who have proposed the bill.

In Pennsylvania, hospitals are not required to offer the medication [Plan B]. Some do. Others have policies that allow health-care providers to opt out of providing the medication because of personal religious or moral reasons.

I can sort-of, vaguely, and somewhat unsympathetically understand the Imams response in the face of a spiralling AIDS epidemic and the recent Western hostility towards Moslems, but the American Christian Rights' determination to punish women has gone beyond ignorance and into the realm of criminal perversion. I may not know WWJD, but a part of me keeps feeling that if he could see what some of his followers are doing in his name, he would puke.