Why Only Provide a Vaccine?

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Published: November 15, 2007

If the Fordham College at Lincoln Center’s health center offers Gardisil, the new human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that prevents four of the strains of the virus that cause cervical cancer and genital warts, the health center should provide birth control, condoms and other contraceptives that protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unplanned pregnancies.

Now, we understand that the health center doesn’t offer contraceptives because they go against the Catholic Church’s views on sex.  But, it is perfectly willing to offer a vaccine that protects against an STD.  How do they think people get STDs?  You can’t tell college students the story of the stork bringing a baby to a mommy and a daddy and expect them to believe it.

By offering Gardisil, the health center’s staff is admitting that they know that Fordham students have sex.  They would be foolish to deny this fact.  Representatives of the health center can say that Gardisil is being offered because it is a vaccine and it would be morally wrong to not offer a vaccine, but they are neglecting to acknowledge how students get the virus.

Something to keep in mind:  if the health center offered condoms, they would be providing students with a product that helps prevent STDs.  In essence, Gardisil and condoms are doing the same thing—both protect students from STDs.  Supplying students with condoms does not encourage sex any more than Gardisil would encourage students to have sex.  They are simply preventative measures that all students should have access to, regardless of religious affiliation.

The same goes for birth control.  Life, while not a disease, is also sexually transmitted. Women become pregnant the same way they get STDs. Just because the Catholic Church only supports “natural” birth control methods for married couples doesn’t mean that non-Christian female students should have to find alternative means of getting birth control pills. It is unfair to make female students find a doctor in Manhattan or wait in Planned Parenthood for hours and hours to get birth control pills when they could make an appointment at the health center conveniently located on the second floor of McMahon Hall.

If Fordham is as forward-thinking as it says it is, it needs to realize the era in which we live. They should provide birth control pills that Fordham students have the right to take.

When it comes to handling students’ sexual health issues, the health center is taking steps in the right direction by offering Gardisil. However, it is not completely doing its job.  It is only fair to provide contraceptives such as birth control and condoms in addition to Gardisil, because Fordham students have the right to protect themselves against STDs in as many ways as possible.