Simone Davis, a 17-year-old British immigrant and devout Christian, will be denied U.S. citizenship unless she agrees to a new immigration requirement that she be vaccinated with Gardasil, a compound that targets human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
Davis, who was adopted by her paternal grandmother in Port St. Joe, Florida, applied to Citizenship and Immigration Services for an exemption on moral and religious grounds, saying she is not sexually active and does not plan to be in the near future. Her exemption application was denied. Davis's citizenship quest has been funded thus far by church groups, but her grandmother, Jean Davis, says she cannot afford an appeal. Other opponents say the requirement places an unfair financial burden on women because a three-shot series of Gardasil costs between $300-$1,400.
Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman Chris Rhatigan told ABC News, "The decision to include HPV as a required vaccine was made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] … The objection to a waiver would have to be to all vaccines, not just Gardasil." But the requirement differs from other vaccines in that it is the only one that targets a virus spread through sexual contact. The other 13 target highly contagious diseases.
Davis's grandmother says her objection is not only religious and moral. In an interview with ABC News, she said, "All I want is the rights of a U.S. citizen. It's not mandatory for them to get this …. My choice to make an informed decision for the health of my child has been taken away."
What strikes me as a serious blind spot in the moral-religious opposition argument is its failure to consider the risk of sexual assault. ...1
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