Bizarre Consistency: Obama, Immigrants, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

By David North on November 18, 2009

Two recent decisions by the Obama Administration suggest a bizarre consistency -- no matter what the pressures are from Left or Right, the government will not do anything to or for immigrants that would discourage sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs).

It is not that there is a giant, well-funded lobby for sexually-transmitted diseases, but there might as well be one.

Last Friday, November 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that, starting December 14, the current requirements to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV), involving the vaccination of female immigrants 11 to 26, will be terminated. These vaccinations are designed to head off this condition which can lead to cervical cancer, usually among young women. HPV is transmitted through sexual intercourse.

Two weeks earlier, as Jon Feere reported in earlier CIS blog posting, President Obama announced the termination of a ban on the entry of immigrants with HIV. Feere wrote at the time: "By making this change, President Obama has declared that HIV is no longer a communicable disease of public health significance. Politics, it seems, has triumphed over public health."

What is wonderfully odd about these two decisions is that while both show the Administration's apparent tolerance for STDs – or at least a total unwillingness to do anything about the matter in the immigration context – the politics of the two decisions are as different as night and day.

The President's decision on HIV, something he announced personally, can be viewed as a small gesture towards America's gay and lesbian community, which had been wholeheartedly for Obama in the presidential campaign. Since the election he has done virtually nothing to fulfill the promises to this community he made in the campaign. He has, notably, left the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy in place.

While HIV can be transmitted through blood transfusions and through heterosexual intercourse, the relative incidence of HIV among gay men is higher than among other populations.

Generally, the left could be expected to applaud the HIV decision, or at least look upon it with favor.

The politics of the HPV decision, however, are totally different. As the New York Times put it, ever so gently: "...some people oppose the vaccine because they fear that its use will encourage promiscuity. Or they have religious objections to vaccines, or argue that the government has no right to mandate its use, as some states have tried to do," and as did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These are the views of the religious right, of the people who oppose abortion and call for abstinence-only sexual education -- a part of the population that was strongly opposed to Obama in the election.

The unifying factor behind these two decisions may well be coincidence, or more likely, it is part of a conscious or unconscious Open Borders policy.