I've already written that I see Rep. Tammy Baldwin all the time in her Wisconsin district. She listens to what the people she represents tell her. I've also written about the religious right's opposition to the a new vaccine for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).Now, Baldwin has joined Reps. Lois Capps and Darrell Issa to draft the following letter, signed by 103 house members from both parties:
Dr. Jon S. Abramson
Chairman, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dear Dr. Abramson,
We are deeply concerned by recent news reports regarding the cervical cancer vaccine. According to these reports certain activists and organizations are mounting a campaign to prevent this vaccine from becoming widely available. They cite the possibility that, by preventing a horrible disease, and more than 3,700 deaths a year, this vaccine could remove an obstacle to teenage sex. This argument is disturbing and should be rejected.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cervical cancer strikes more than 15,000 women in the United States each year. The primary cause of cervical cancer is certain high-risk strains of the human papilloma virus, or HPV. The news that a new vaccine for the disease, which targets cervical cancers associated with HPV, is 100% effective means the chance to prevent development of a disease that causes 12 percent of cancer deaths in women worldwide. Even more promising is that fact that this vaccine can be administered to both females and males to effect prevention of the disease. A CDC study revealed that most pediatricians say they would be willing to give the vaccine to pre-teens in an effort to protect women from cervical cancer. In contrast to the strong scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of the cervical cancer vaccine, there is no scientific evidence to support the fear that its use will promote sexual activity.
It is our understanding that, should the FDA approve this vaccine, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will ultimately review this vaccine and make recommendations as to its use. As you take this task on, we urge you to base your decision on the input of medical providers, researchers, and public health experts and the scientific health information they provide.
Green, Gene (TX)
Not many of the signatories surprise me. What surprises me are the names that are missing - where is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi? Where is Baldwin's democratic Wisconsin colleague David Obey? You might ask where your rep. is.
There's no reason why this shouldn't be the position of the democratic party, not just its progressive membership.