I wonder how much of the harm in the world has been done to people "for their own good."  I think of the Crusades, forced conversions, overzealous social workers who have ripped children from their families without cause (and, when proven wrong, without apology), the punishment of Native American and Deaf children who dared speak their mother tongues in school, and court-ordered therapy against the will of the patient.  One might argue that there were mixed motives on the parts of the do-gooders in these cases, but always the benefit of the victim was used as an excuse, and I believe in most cases the confidence of doing a good thing was truly a major motivating factor.

No doubt those who would force young girls to take the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine are moved by similar altruistic desires.  What's the big deal?  If a simple immunization can greatly reduce one's risk of cervical cancer, why not?  Well, that may be a good reason for getting it oneself, although maybe not.  After all, cervical cancer is one of the most easily detectible and treatable cancers, and in any case one can virtually eliminate the HPV risk simply by remaining sexually abstinent or faithfully monogamous.  In any case, it's hardly a credible rationale for forcing the vaccine on other people.

It's true that most states already require several vaccines of their schoolchildren, and in some cases it's understandable.  Diseases such as measles and polio are highly contagious and can spread rapidly through a classroom.  This is not the case for HPV.  What's more, pending legislation in Kentucky would extend the HPV immunization requirement to homeschoolers as well!  For that there is no excuse.

Having lived long enough to see vaccines and other medical procedures come and go, with some touted as safe later shown to have devastating consequences, I'm openly skeptical of assertions that the new vaccine is safe.  All vaccines carry with them an element of risk, and the risk/benefit ratio is not the same for all people.  No law, however well-intentioned, should be allowed to force the risk upon those who see little or no benefit.

Not even for their own good.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, January 20, 2007 at 10:59 am | Edit
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The NH Daleys have a basket of magazines for convenient reading in the bathroom. One of the headlines on the cover of the top one said "Vaccine for Cancer." It sure did its job of luring me in to read the article. I thought it had to be a National Enquirer type of statement. However, they were talking about this HPV vaccine. What a deception!

Posted by joyful on Wednesday, January 24, 2007 at 7:43 am
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