• Teen’s virginity pledge plays role in denial of citizenship

    Date: 10.01.09 | by Natalie Jacobs.

    Simone Davis is 17 years old and was born in Britain. The teen currently lives in Florida and recently was denied citizenship based on her refusal to receive Gardasil, a vaccination which protects against a sexually transmitted virus linked to cervical cancer. 

    Photo by lu_lu

    Photo by lu_lu

    Simone came to the U.S. when her grandmother married an American approximately 10 years ago.  Her grandmother adopted Simone and has complete parental rights and responsibility to raise her.  However, the U.S. does not recognize the type of guardianship granted to her grandmother in Britain, so they have been seeking U.S. citizenship for Simone for the past 9 years.

    U.S. law requires immigrants seeking citizenship to receive a number of vaccinations including Gardasil which protects against human papillomavirus (HPV).  Specifically, all women and girls between the ages of 11 and 26 who are applying for citizenship, permanent residency or refugee status must receive the vaccine.  However, U.S. citizens are not required to receive the Gardasil vaccine.

    Simone is not sexually active. Her strong Christian beliefs and faith do not condone pre-marital sex. Therefore, she believes that she is not at risk of getting an STD and also believes that there are adverse health effects to the vaccine.  For these reaons, she rejected the vaccine and requested a waiver for moral and religious reasons.  Simone also feels that since citizens are not required to receive the vaccine that the government could be using immigrants to test the drug.

    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service recently rejected Simone’s request for a waiver. She can now try to appeal the waiver, but she has a limited amount of time and it will cost money. Simone also faces the possibility of being removed from the country. She will not be able to attend Pensacola Christian College in Florida where she was conditionally accepted unless she is a U.S. citizen.

    Do you believe that immigrants trying to become citizens should be required to receive vaccinations like Gardasil even though U.S. citizens are not required to do so?  Do you think there is a difference between required vaccinations for STDs which are not airborne and vaccinations for airborne diseases?  Should Simone’s religious views and virginity pledge be considered a reasonable cause for receiving a waiver to the required vaccine? On a related note, should laws allow minors to refuse medical treatment?

    Natalie Jacobs

    This post was written by Natalie Jacobs. Prior to joining the AsktheJudge.info team, Natalie worked as a criminal attorney for over five years. She also has worked with Innocence Projects as well as Girls on the Run of Northern Arizona, a character development program for girls in 3rd through 8th grade. When she's not reading and writing about youth justice issues, she thinks about becoming a farmer, chef, world traveler, Bikram master, dogwalker and 80’s film reviewer.

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    2 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • me
      Mon, 09 Nov 2009 at 04:36

      Woah, there. This shouldn’t even be a requirement. It’s a choice, right? And if your not sexually active, who’s to say you have to get the shot. Just be sure to get it before your marrige.

      And that’s how Sue Cs it (-Glee)

    • KellyAnn
      Mon, 25 Jan 2010 at 07:04

      It isn’t some sort if disease that would case some sort of plague or something, and americans don’t need to take it so it’s a ridiclious requirement.

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