Abstinence Groups Endangering Women

Imagine a world in which I can take my morning coffee and a vaccine against cancer intravenously. The Food and Drug Administration has approved Gardasil by Merck, a revolutionary vaccine against human papillomavirus, or genital warts. And not only is HPV the most common sexually transmitted disease in America, but HPV is linked to three-fourths of cases of cervical cancer.
But Family Research Council member Bridget Maher argues that ‘giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex.’ Former medical advisor for Focus on the Family and current member of the Center for Disease Control advisory committee Reginald Finger agrees, ‘If people begin to market the vaccine or tout the vaccine that this makes adolescent sex safer, then that would undermine the abstinence-only message.’
Actually, Finger, the abstinence-only message doesn’t need undermining from the makers of Merck; it’s failing perfectly well on its own. In an interview of more than 38,000 people by Public Health Reports, Guttmacher Institute research director Lawrence Finer discovered that over nine out of 10 American men and women have had premarital sex. ‘This is reality-check research,’ Finer said. ‘Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades.