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    Birthday Reflections on the HPV Vaccine

    February 22, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    Today is A.’s second birthday. Last year’s post on this day was cutsie and warm. I’m not exactly feeling more serious, but I was quite alarmed last night when the Laura Ingram Show {yes, I listen to AM radio} implied that I don’t really love my daughter unless I make sure she has the HPV vaccine when she is older.

    I don’t know how many of my readers are following this controversy, but it seems like ever since the governor of Texas made the vaccine mandatory for schoolgirls, there has been a lot of debate. What made the Laura Ingram debate so interesting was that every party who spoke during the short time I listened claimed to be a Christian.

    Ingram’s argument was based on personal experience. She said that she had become a Christian at eleven years of age and did not become sexually active until she “made one mistake” {her words not mine} at the age of twenty-five and contracted HPV. I think it is very sad that she acquired an STD at all, but I think one needs to step back and analyze the argument: kids “make mistakes” that can lead to HPV {which can lead to cervical cancer}, therefore parents should make sure their kids are vaccinated against HPV.

    HPV has been called “morally neutral” because, unlike other vaccines {such as varicella, Hepatitis-A and the MMR, just to name a few}, it is not derived from aborted fetal tissue. However, I believe that this is where its moral neutrality leaves off.

    I could go on and on about this controversy, but I just don’t have the time, so let me try to be concise. God designed the world to run according to a certain logic that many call Cause and Effect, but I like to use the New Testament terms Sowing and Reaping. The basic idea is that every action has its consequence.

    I think I have said before that I believe there is nothing noble about trying to escape from the consequences of our actions. A lot of folks arguing about this vaccine are saying that it assumes sexual activity for young girls, therefore encouraging them to engage in such activities. But I say it goes deeper than that, and acts in rebellion to God’s design of the universe: it rears its head against reaping what one has sown.

    Even in the Garden of Eden, man has tried to avoid his consequences. Remember Adam hiding from God and trying to pass the blame to Eve, who tried to pass the blame to the serpent? This is the beginning of man’s knee-jerk instinct of avoiding consequences.

    As parents, it is the job of my husband and myself to bring our child into adulthood. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defined “adult” as being fully grown and mature, and “mature” as being complete, prepared, ready or advancing toward perfection. How can we do our job of preparing them for the real world, making them ready for life on their own, while telling them that not only will they fail, but that we will help them avoid the consequences of their failure?

    I do believe that children will fail in some way. I hope my children do not fail in this area. But regardless of where they fail {and don’t call this a “mistake,” as if they did a math problem incorrectly and could use an eraser to change their answer}, I will not help them hide from reality. This doesn’t mean I won’t be there to help them face their consequences. I simply won’t help them avoid them. I won’t, because I believe that avoiding consequences is rooted in rebellion against God, and reveals a complete lack of godly sorrow concerning one’s original sin and failure.

    So refusing to give my child the HPV vaccine has nothing to do with believing she is perfect and immune to making sinful choices. It simply has everything to do with encouraging her to live in the best and highest way, which is at peace with God and in harmony with His design for life.


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  • Reply Courtney June 26, 2017 at 6:39 am

    This is exactly how I feel/felt about this vaccine, but I feel crazier about it by the day. This same logic can be applied to abortions. I have been perusing your “bioethics” posts and happened upon this one as well as one where you mentioned abortion. Our culture here in America has a love affair with science, technology and progress. We run to the mercies of technology and serve it as master. We all know what Jesus says about masters… Come to me, those who are burdened and heavy laden (STD? Unplanned Pregnancy? Cancer?), and I will give you rest. This vaccine is more like abortion than we realize, but on the other side of the “mistake.” Let’s hold our daughters and sons in their transgressions, and hand them over to Jesus. He will care for them. He and we, if He has transformed us, will not leave them alone.

    On the other hand, and this is just coming to me as I type. I do consider many technological/medical advancements as mercies from God. Surgery, for example, saved my son’s life due to a defect in his body. Even thirty years ago his chances of survival were much less. This may seem like a no brainer that this surgery is good, but to many it’s not so simple. Could this vaccine be a mercy due to things outside our control? Rape, for instance. And here is an anecdote… My husband and I, by the grace of God have only had each other as sexual partners. I recently went through 2 years of abnormal pap smears and my doctor suspected HPV. I told him that is not possible but he said that it has actually been documented in virgins. That’s very difficult to verify, but I think there is literature on it out there in the interwebs. Just thinking along with you… would love to hear your thoughts. I am doing boot camp right now and was supposed to be doing my homework during this time… oops.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 26, 2017 at 9:11 am

      Wow, Courtney! You are the first person to comment on this post in over TEN years! I should give you a prize or something! ♥

      I’ve still never vaxxed my daughter (who is now the age for it), but after following the vaccine over the years, I’ve concluded it’s also the riskiest of vaccines (of the ones we give children in our state, anyhow). Because I’ve seen girls permanently disabled by the vaccine, it is hard for me to call it a mercy. But perhaps it functions like that for some other girls?

      HPV really is the common cold of those who have multiple partners, and I still can’t in good conscience send that kind of message to my children — it feels like an assumption of, “You’re going to do it anyway, so we will protect you from consequences.” I want my children to be like us — you, me, our husbands — and not even have to worry about consequences of that sort of sin!

      I will say this: we have made it clear to our children that we make certain choices for them when they are young according to *our* consciences. They will have to make those same choices for themselves when they are grown. So while I would hate to see it, I leave it to their discretion when they are older. If they graduate high school and want to be vaxxed, that is something they can do.

      • Reply Courtney June 26, 2017 at 10:33 am

        I did realize after I commented that this is a ten year old post! Oh well… it’s still a good conversation.

        I had no idea about the effects of the vaccine. My oldest is 6, and after those first thousand hours of vaccine/disease research, I was thankful for the extra few years to think about the next round, so I actually know very little about this one besides the moral debate (Though I will say that, as you alluded to, I am extremely wary of vaccines that have been around for less than twenty years). I completely agree with you that it’s hard to call a preventative measure (with its own side effects) a mercy. Thanks for engaging 🙂

  • Reply Brandy February 23, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    I agree, Anonymous. Besides, I doubt the makers of Gardasil can point to a single human who has taken the vaccine at 12 and grown up promiscuous and still not gotten HPV–or cervical cancer, which is the real disease they are marketing their product against. There are many types of HPV, and I have already read one article asserting that this vaccine doesn’t cover all of them. Talk about a false sense of security!

    But really, there is no security when one trespasses against God. God will not be mocked (Gal. 6:7).

  • Reply Anonymous February 23, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Protecting agsist one type of STD really doesn’t solve the problem. Years ago there were only a hand- full of sexually transmitted STD’s.
    Today there are two many to name and you can be assured if our society continues its current downtrend there will be many more to worry about with just as dire consequences as this one. By giving this vaccination it might give a false sense of security which might cause more servere consequences later.

  • Reply Brandy February 23, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Well, you know what they say about great minds, Kris. 🙂

  • Reply kristie February 23, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    This is exactly the sort of reaction I have had to this controversy.

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