Thursday, September 20, 2007

Health Trumps Religion

In a rare display of good sense, the Halton Catholic School Board narrowly voted down a motion to ban the new HPV vaccine from their schools. Instead, they have opted to leave the decision up to parents.

Imagine that.
HPV vaccine not a threat, Catholic board deems

BURLINGTON, ONT. AND TORONTO — The debate about the controversial HPV vaccine that has been playing out across the country came to a head Tuesday night after trustees for the Halton Catholic District School Board decided that the Catholic faith was not being "threatened" by allowing the program into their schools.

In a 4-3 vote, the trustees defeated a motion to ban public health officials from administering the vaccine for human papillomavirus, which causes 70 per cent of all cervical cancer and 90 per cent of genital warts, to its students.

"I'm not sure what elements of our Catholicity are being threatened here," said trustee Rev. David Wilhelm. "What the bishops are telling us is that parents have the right and the responsibility to make these decisions for their children and I don't think any of us have the right to take that away, as difficult as that may be.

I know there is a lot of concern about the speed with which this vaccine has been approved, and that concern may or may not be justified. However, that is an entirely separate issue from the asinine arguments being raised by certain members of the Halton and other Catholic school boards - namely, that administering a vaccine for a sexually transmitted virus will somehow encourage their dear darling daughters to have sex before marriage. Because of course they would never, ever do that otherwise.

I have a family member who was infected with HPV. She never developed cervical cancer, but did end up with serious cervical scarring that very nearly cost her her child.

By all means, deal with the medical issues. But don’t you dare bring religion into this.

1 comment:

  1. I think in this case I would have been fine wit the school board voting it down. People choose to send kids to Catholic schools, and sex is something you choose to do (or not), so public vaccinations just don't sit right with me. It just seems to me as silly as vaccinating toddlers against HepB.

    But anyways in regards to the medical side, I was reading somewhere (probably that Maclean's article about the vaccine) that we don't know what this vaccine will do to the other variants of HPV (HPV vaccine-resistan superbugs perhaps) since it only protects against to forms of HPV IIRC.

    In any case, the bribing accusations with the Texas governor, Merck, mass vaccinations of girls, and Gardasil are very serious in light of the health concerns you mention. Plus the advertisements for the vaccine are so exploitative. So the whole business sets me off.