May 04, 2005

Capital Lust

The Family Research Council is opposing a new vaccination for a virus that can cause cervical cancer. Apparently they believe that it would lead to increased pre-marital sex, and hence they oppose it. While I understand the distinction to be made from being pro-abstinence and being pro-disease, it seems like an awful flimsy rationale.

At least when some Catholics oppose contraception (not birth control but conception control) they do so from a steadfastly moral point. I disagree with the point, largely because I don't think that a) killing one's own cells is anything other than a natural process and b) that 'interfering' in a natural process like reproduction is A-OK in and of itself, since sex is not inherently wrong or evil to enjoy without reproduction. But I can understand the point there.

The point here is not the same. They're not taking a principled (if somewhat bizarre) stance against the means; they're arguing that the effects would be bad. In other words, they're saying the effects of potentially increased pre-marital sex are worse than the effects of potentially increased rates of cancer transmission. Pre-marital sex is worse than cancer? Gonna have to run that by me again.

Maybe if you thought that pre-marital sex was a sin and cancer was the punishment then it'd make more sense, but they don't seem to be making this argument - nor do I suspect they secretly believe it (evangelical Christians are completely forthright about telling everybody what they think at the most inopportune times; they are a laughable target for conspiracy theories). Without the just-desserts argument and without an end-means dichotomy we're left with the simple weighing of the effects. That increased rates of cancer are worse than increased rates of pre-marital sex is I think uncontestable.


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