Friday, June 20, 2008

Tuskegee revisited

Recently, the Obama chatter has been revolving around Michelle ... again. One might think it's because of the Miss Nelly Nice performance she gave on that ABC morning Cacklefest, but, no, this time it's actually about the woman and her work:

She also altered the hospital’s research agenda. When the human papillomavirus vaccine, which can prevent cervical cancer, became available, researchers proposed approaching local school principals about enlisting black teenage girls as research subjects.

Mrs. Obama stopped that. The prospect of white doctors performing a trial with black teenage girls summoned the specter of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment of the mid-20th century, when white doctors let hundreds of black men go untreated to study the disease.

It seems to me, that in denying girls access to treatment designed to prevent certain demonstrably preventable cancers, she has not chased away the specter of Tuskegee, but just brought it back to life.

The US government researchers at Tuskegee didn't overtly infect men with syphillis -- they denied some of those men treatment. They were wrong to do so on uninformed persons. It was an abomination performed in the name of scientific advancement.

Her policy choice has likely doomed these girls to a reverse-sex version of the same experiment, denying life-saving treatments to people in the name of a church-reinforced paranioa. Congratulations, Ms. Obama, you have met the enemy, and they is you.

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