The first time my cousin, we will call her, Keri, had sex with her new boyfriend, she got pregnant. Her father was an absent fellow, even when he was present. He and Keri's mother had a miserable marriage. He was depressed and in denial. His wife was unmedicated and bi-polar and both were very unsophisticated about mental illness and marital problems. They were so self-involved with being uninvolved in anything other than their own problems, they rarely knew where their children were and when they did, they told them repeatedly to "shut-up" and "go to your room." They allowed their daughters to smoke dope in their rooms because, well, wasn't it better than letting them smoke it somewhere else? When he learned he was going to be a grandfather he also learned that he had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He had so much scar tissue from the bleeding and healing that it appeared he had been seriously ill for several years. But he chose not to know it. He was dying. No wonder Keri wanted to keep the baby. It was a chance at some unconditional love from the baby and from a man. She wanted to be the mother she never had.
The boyfriend, who her mother thought looked like Tom Cruise, married her because she didn't even tell anyone that she was pregnant until well into her second trimester.
They of course had a terrible time. She is a rather unsophisticated woman who did poorly in high school. He didn't graduate. He works construction and repairs cars. She loves children and worked in day care centers. There was never enough money and when her husband started abusing their son, Keri didn't know that it was abuse. After all, that is the way she lived all of her life with her parents.
Well, the husband, we'll call him Tom, left Keri because Keri thought that may be they could be a family instead of a household where he drank and cussed their child. She had talked with some co-workers who told Keri that her life didn't feel good because it wasn't good.
Tom went to live with Keri's mother. The one that had swooned over her daughter's good looking husband. Then he moved on.
Keri took him back and promptly found, during a routine pap smear for her birth control pills at Planned Parenthood, that she had HPV and cervical cancer. Seems she got it from Tom who was as we say Tom-catting around. How many other women he infected he won't say.
Keri had major surgery. She recovered and later bore another son. But she could have died.
A beautiful, brilliant, sophisticated woman I knew in college also had cervical cancer and underwent treatment in graduate school. She was adopted and lived in the most loving and attentive home of anyone I knew. She had been infected by her boyfriend who was beautiful, brilliant, sophisticated and an attorney. She recovered and became an attorney and bore two beautiful sons.
HPV or Human Pappillomavirus doesn't care about the circumstances of the person it affects. But the Bush Administration does. Bush's ultra right wing followers and supporters believe that if a woman has HVP she is promiscuous and she should have kept her legs crossed so she wouldn't develop cancer and die. Bush has appointed people from the fundamentalist group "Focus on the Family" to the vaccine's advisory panel working with the Center for Disease Control.
Bush supporter say that 10 year olds should not be vaccinated because they don't want 10 year olds to think that they are immune to the dangers of premarital sex. Well, marital sex gave my cousin cervical cancer, not because she broke her wedding vows, but because her husband did. Is she supposed to die for his sins? I don't think we even have to tell 10 year olds they are getting a shot to prevent HPV. Do they understand the Polio vaccine they are given? They will understand that they were given a vaccine to prevent cancer. And if they are not and they learn that there was one, they are going to wonder why they weren't when they are undergoing cancer treatments.
These two women were lucky. They lived and they did not require a radical hysterectomy so they were able to children. Which is really impossible without a uterus or if they are dead.
Fundamentalist Christians do not get to forgo vaccines for their public school attending children. The state requires the vaccinations. But if the state is governed by fundamentalist Christians, the state can simply change course and ignore the public's health. May be they can lay hands on infected uteri and hold prayer meetings to cure cancer.
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