For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a shot that provides some immunity to a number of strains of HPV, which is probably the most widespread sexually transmitted disease out there. This is a big deal healthwise, because these strains of HPV are the main causes of cervical cancer.
A number of people out there—most of the voices out there are mainstream Xians, but there are some Mormons among them—are vehement in saying that girls shouldn’t be vaccinated against HPV. There are a number of arguments raised, and some of them are outside the scope of this blog (for example, the whole Vaccinations Are An Evil Communist Plot Against America nonsense), but one is clearly worth mentioning here: The idea that HPV (and, by extension, any cervical cancer that results) is a punishment for the sin of sexual promiscuity, and we shouldn’t be immunizing kids against the effects of sin. Also, there’s some worry that girls will be more likely to be sexually promiscuous if they know they’re not in danger of one of the possible drawbacks to such promiscuity.
A number of people have pointed out that kids don’t necessarily think of the drawbacks that go with having sex when they have sex, so that last argument has flaws. However, i’d like to take issue here with the other one, which i think is much more insidious.
Should we be preventing people from experiencing naturally-occurring punishments of their sins? It’s an interesting question. However, it doesn’t really work as an argument against vaccinating girls against HPV. Consider the following ways in which a woman may have contracted HPV, neither of which involve sin on her part:
- She, as a virgin, marries a guy who isn’t a virgin and is a carrier of HPV.
- She is the victim of a rape, and the rapist is a carrier of HPV.
We’re vaccinating our daughters against HPV—we actually trust our kids to make decent decisions, and if they don’t, we’re evil enough that we believe repentance should be allowed to actually work.