The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Monday, May 02, 2005

Culture of Chastity

Ezra Klein rightly points out that Bush's phrase the culture of life is merely window dressing for the Right's crusade against sex. This story recounts the Right's opposition to a vaccine against HPV infection, or genital warts. The infection itself is less a concern than its proclivity to induce cervical cancer in women. Given that perhaps 50% of today's young people have genital warts already, denying the vaccine is essentially to deny women the chance to protect themselves against HPV regardless of the kind of sexual lifestyle they lead. Even an abstinent born again young woman can marry a man who has had one previous sexual partner and contract this disease -- and there is no way to prevent infection other than to not have sex. Condoms do not protect against this. As Klein points out, the Right's opposition is that the vaccine will be seen as a social 'alrighty-then.'

That's what should be taken away from these comments. Bush likes to conceal his stance on abortion through the inegnious "culture of life" formulation. But these people don't really want a culture of life. Their overriding objective is not protecting women from AIDS and HPV and cervical cancer and potentially deadly childbirth (as in partial-birth abortions) and other potential killers, it's stopping them for having premarital sex. And if a few -- hell, if a lot! -- have to die to make that future manifest, then so be it. So next time you hear someone spout off about the "culture of life", don't be fooled -- this is a culture of puritanism and subjugation, nothing more, nothing less. A culture of life, you can tell them, doesn't kill.


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