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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Religious Conservatives Hate the HPV Vaccine Because They Want Women to Die

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 10:29 AM

In the midst of the shitstorm over Michele Bachmann's comments about the HPV vaccine—her false statements, a.k.a "lies"—let's pause to remember why religious conservatives like Bachmann hate the HPV vaccine so much.

HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. HPV is easily transmitted by skin-to-skin contact; condoms provide some protection, but not much. Most people who have been exposed to the human papilloma virus don't know they've been exposed. Most are asymptomatic. An asymptomatic person can still pass the virus on. A small percentage of women who have HPV go on to develop cervical cancer and some of those women wind up dead. Religious conservatives loved the HPV virus because it killed women. Here was a potentially fatal STI that condoms couldn't protect you from. Abstinence educators pointed to HPV and jumped up and down—they loved to overstate HPV's seriousness and its deadliness—in their efforts to scare kids into saving themselves for marriage. And they fought the introduction of the HPV vaccine tooth-and-nail because vaccinating women against HPV would "undermine" the abstinence message. Given a choice between your wife, daughter, sister, or mom dying of cervical cancer or no longer being to scream "HPV IS GOING TO KILL YOU!" at classrooms full of terrified teenagers, socially conservative abstinence "educators" preferred the former.

Bachmann and her ilk believe that woman who have sex—along with men who fail to purchase health insurance—deserve to die horrible deaths. That's why they hate the HPV vaccine, that's why they fought its introduction, that's why they tell lies about it now. Because they want women to die.

The party of life, ladies and gentlemen.

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