Wednesday, February 21, 2007
"They're Gonna Do It Anyway, So"...Version 2.0
I should have seen this one coming. I can at least say I'm not surprised. When someone says, "they're gonna do it anyway, so we better educate them and offer them condoms", it's only a matter of time before they say "they're gonna do it anyway, so lets inoculate them."
About two years ago, two pharmaceutical companies began competing to create a vaccine for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Gardasil, created by Merck Corporation, has now been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.
In a clever campaign, if clever is the right word, Merck is essentially saying "They're gonna do it, so we need to give them the opportunity to be inoculated against HPV." Merck has recently had to buy a new bandwagon, because at one point 20 States proposed legislation that would require 11 and 12 year old girls to receive the vaccine, because "in order to be effective, it must be taken before girls become sexually active, and so should be given to pre-teens".
I am not of the opinion that "they're [all] gonna do it". In fact, I know a lot of people who haven't "done it" until they're married, and then they've only "done it" with their spouse. And I suspect that of those who have "done it" many have only "done it" because it has become the socially accepted norm and expectation in some circles.
So far, no one has forced every 11 and 12 year old to carry condoms around in their pockets in order to be "safe" when they live up to societal expectations. Merck and (at one point in time) 20 States want(ed) that dynamic to change.
Requiring the use of Gardasil would mean a big boost for Merck's bottom line. That one's easy to see. So it's not surprising that Merck's lobbying juggernaut has been in overdrive. After the writing appeared on the wall, though, Merck ended its promotional campaign in disgrace.
What's more difficult to see is why so many state governments place so little trust in their young women to be sexually mature. Not only that, the proposed legislation would be encouraging the cream of their crop to become sexually immature. Based partly on the Merck scandal, some states have withdrawn legislation. Let's hope they all do, but for a better reason than simple guilt by association.
Those who are gonna do it, for whatever reason, are certainly free do to so. And Gardasil should be made available to anyone who wants it. But people shouldn't be encouraged to be sexually immature (promiscuous) simply because someone got the harebrained idea that none of us can resist the urge. Forcing someone to become inoculated against a disease that is purely electively acquired is one of the greatest misuses of government I can think of.