Rachel Hart,
Reproductive Freedom Project
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June 29, 2006

The Roanoke Times publishes an op-ed on HPV. Below is a snippet:

There is a misguided concern that by giving the vaccine to girls it will somehow give them the idea that it is OK to engage in sex, and that it will counter the message that parents wish to promote with their daughters: sexual abstinence until marriage and sexual faithfulness thereafter.

The thought is that virginity and monogamy offer complete protection. And it would if no one deviated from that plan. In the real world, people mess up.

Parents who worry that this vaccination extends permission for their daughters to act promiscuously should ask themselves: If a vaccine to prevent lung cancer were developed, would I hesitate to protect my child because she would think it’s OK to smoke?

Wouldn’t I consider that she might not ever smoke but still be exposed to the carcinogens through other’s actions? Wouldn’t I want to protect her?

And NOW has a piece about whether or not the Administration supports birth control. Here are some of the highlights:

At a May 26, 2005, press briefing, radio talk show host Les Kinsolving pressed then-White House press secretary Scott McClellan to confirm whether or not President Bush opposes contraception. McClellan doggedly avoided the question, and never provided a legitimate answer.

This evasion inspired Representative Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who led 43 other members of Congress in writing letters to Bush asking him to clarify whether or not he supported birth control.

The response from the White House came via the Department of Health and Human Services as follows:

Thank you for your letter to President Bush to request his views on access to birth control. The President has asked that I respond on his behalf.

This Administration supports the availability of safe and effective products and services to assist responsible adults in making decisions about preventing or delaying conception.

The Department of Health and Human Services faithfully executes laws establishing Federal programs to provide contraception and family planning services. The Title X Family Planning Program and Medicaid are each significant providers of family planning services.

Additionally, this Administration strongly supports teaching abstinence to young people as the only 100 percent effective means of preventing pregnancy, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Sincerely yours,
John O. Agwunobi
Assistant Secretary for Health

While at first glance this letter appears to show support for contraception, upon closer inspection, the letter seems more like a non-response from an administration which opposes abortion, and rarely (if ever) supports birth control. It refers to “safe and effective products and services” (as opposed to contraception) that prevent or delay “conception” (rather than pregnancy) for “responsible adults.” Apparently less-than-responsible adults are not entitled to these same “products and services,” while young people should be denied accurate and complete information about birth control and safe sex.

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