A vaccine that would reduce the risk of cervical cancer faces a challenge from the religious right.A VACCINE proved to dramatically reduce cervical cancer, the second most common form of cancer among women, would be expected to sail through federal approval processes. Yet getting such a vaccine to the people who would benefit the most from it is no sure thing, thanks to those promoting an ideology that any sex outside (heterosexual) marriage is wrong. A far-right political agenda should not be allowed, again, to threaten women's health.
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will determine whether Gardasil — which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a guard against the cancer-causing human papilloma virus, or HPV, for girls and women ages 9 to 26 — should be widely used. The panel's decision would establish whether private insurers and the government would cover the cost of such vaccinations. By recommending that Gardasil be universally administered to girls ages 11-12, the committee can facilitate widespread vaccination and enable all girls and women to protect themselves from a sexually transmitted infection that the CDC says 80% of American women will have by age 50.Opponents of the vaccine argue that abstinence is a "foolproof" alternative that negates the need for mandatory vaccination. These groups believe that vaccination will act to lower young women's sexual inhibitions and promote risky sexual behavior, despite scientific evidence to the contrary.
Lunatic fringe, you say? Not anymore. Such beliefs are held by some Bush administration appointees. One of them — Reginald Finger, a medical doctor and a member of the CDC committee — is a believer in "just say no" as the preferred protection against HPV. Until last fall, Finger was a medical issues analyst for Focus on the Family, an ultraconservative group that advocates "abstinence until marriage and faithfulness after marriage as the best and primary practice in preventing HPV" and other sexually transmitted infections.
Read the rest of article Los Angeles Times
Washington, DC: State-authorized patients and their caregivers who use or possess medical cannabis will continue to be subject to federal arrest and prosecution, after the House of Representatives rejected a proposed amendment today that sought to bar the US Department of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting patients who use cannabis medicinally in accordance with the laws of their states.
The House voted 259 to 163 against the bi-partisan measure, sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Maurice Hinchey (D-NY). The 163 House votes in favor of the patient-protection provision was the highest total ever recorded in a Congressional floor vote to liberalize marijuana laws. Of those who voted in support of the Hinchey/Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment, 18 were Republicans (a gain of three votes from 2005) and 144 were Democrats (a loss of one vote from last year). The House's only Independent Congressman, Vermont Representative Bernard Sanders, also voted in favor of the amendment.
"For the fourth year in a row, Congress had an opportunity to stop wasting taxpayers' dollars arresting seriously ill patients who possess and use medical cannabis in compliance with state law," NORML Executive Director St. Pierre said. "Instead, 259 members of Congress chose today to prosecute patients."
Speaking on the House floor in favor of the amendment, co-sponsor Maurice Hinchey said, "This amendment has to do with two simple things: being compassionate for people who are suffering and dying ... and the right of states to govern medical practice, not this Congress."
Representative Dana Rohrabacher added that it is a "travesty" for the federal government to intervene in states that have voted in favor of the medicinal use of cannabis.
Also speaking in favor of the provision were co-sponsor Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), David Obey (D-WI), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) Congressmen John Boozeman (R-AR), Steve King (R-IA), Tom Latham (R-IA), John Mica (R-FL), John Peterson (R-PA), and Frank Wolf (R-VA) spoke in opposition to the amendment.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.