A shot for citizenship

I choose what goes in my body.I eat delicious food, drink Vermont beer and take some Tums when all that food and drink does not agree with me.I also choose what I want kept out of my body.I do not use narcotics, take pills for my moods or stick pennies in my nose.The choice of what we put in or keep out of our bodies is, and forgive me for a lack of a better term, a God-given right. Nobody has the right to walk up to you and make you eat, drink or inject you with anything you do not want.That’s the American way.Well, in order for one Florida teen to become American and choose what she wants or does not want in her body rests on the tip of a needle.Simone Davis, born in Colchester, England, and now a resident of Florida in the good ‘ole U. S. of A., is one injection away from becoming a citizen and being able to attend Pensacola Christian College. As mandated by law, all female immigrants between the ages of 11 and 26 seeking citizenship must be inoculated against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), while their American counterparts of the same age are merely “recommended” to get the vaccine.Here’s the catch: Simone, at 17, is sexually inactive — for religious reasons — and plans to stay that way until after she gets married.  She could not have contracted HPV and she will not be able to transmit it. She says she does not see the point in getting the vaccine when her chances of contracting it are zero and the vaccine could result in side effects ranging from fainting and blood clots to — in some rare cases — death, according to an investigation this August by CBS evening news.And I agree with her.Unless there are extenuating circumstances, everyone has the right to choose which inoculations they receive. I’ve never had a flu shot, but there are no immigration officials banging on my door threatening to take away my citizenship.I’m firmly against many inoculations for more reasons than the space in this column will allow, but I am for more equal rights than anything. So if it is mandatory for one group of people to be inoculated, shouldn’t the same apply for everyone?And we’re not talking about an immigrant pig farmer refusing an H1N1 vaccine here, we’re talking about a sexually inactive girl from England who wants to attend a Christian college.In my book, Simone is more of an American than any injection could make her. She stands up for what she believes in and we could all learn from her. She truly is the epitome of the American way — I bet Ben Franklin would have told the inoculators to get lost, too.