Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Promote Abstinence, Not Disease Control: Vaccination Plan Sends Wrong Message To Girls

Yesterday I received email from the Right to Life Association of NL. It was news to me but the email informed me that on Monday of this week the provincial government had issued an announcement that a vaccination program is to begin this school year to protect approximately 2,800 Grade Six females against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is known to cause many types of cervical cancer. The vaccine to be used is the Gardasil brand.

In response to that announcement, the Right to Life Association issued the following press release:

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Concerns Over Government’s Human Papilloma Virus Vaccination Program

The Right to Life Association applauds the provincial government for showing concern for preteen girls by introducing a plan to vaccinate them against the human papilloma virus (HPV), a STD which could lead to cervical cancer. The Right to Life Association believes that this plan, while it has good intentions, is a cause for great concern because of its imperfections.

If the government was really concerned with the teenage STD infection rates, they would introduce an abstinence education program. The province’s current sex-ed curriculum may contain an abstinence element, but it is given only a fleeting mention, if any. The Right to Life Association has heard many complaints from parents, students, and teachers, that abstinence is not given enough attention in the school system. Many of those involved in the school system have asked for a comprehensive abstinence-ed curriculum.

As it stands now, the sex-ed curriculum may actually contribute to teenage pregnancy and STD infection rates. It could give children an impression that they have a green light to sexual activity. It can give them a false sense of security in their knowledge about the risks of sexual activity, resulting in them being less hesitant to engage in promiscuity. For example, HPV may be so widely spread because teens may not understand the instruction that condoms are not perfect. Clearly, a curriculum focusing on sex rather than abstinence does not work.

The HPV vaccination program may lead to the same result as contraception and sex-ed. If those receiving the vaccination are ill-informed about its limitations, they may embrace promiscuity more willingly. Therefore, the Right to Life Association encourages the government to present a strong message of abstinence along with the vaccination. It is through this message that these preteens can learn of the inherit value of their bodies, the sacred gift of sex, and the risks of promiscuity. Armed with this knowledge, preteens can truly begin to protect themselves from STDs such as HPV.

The news release garnered some good reaction, netting many media interviews for Patrick Hanlon, President of the Association, and securing a good report on the second page of the local newspaper entitled “Promote abstinence, not disease control: Health Association believes vaccination plan will send the wrong message to girls.”

For those unfamiliar with this subject matter, you can refer to a report compiled yesterday evening by Apparently Ontario also announced plans to introduce the vaccine.

There have been many alarm bells rung over recent months concerning the Gardasil vaccinations. The story really hit hard after the announcement earlier this year from the Texas governor that mandated every school age girl in Texas as young as eleven receive the Gardasil HPV vaccination shots. The governor however was forced to rescind the order in early May due to public outcry and a vote from state lawmakers.

Aside from the question of mandating such a vaccine—an action not contemplated by the Newfoundland government—many other concerns about the use of the vaccine have come to light. WorldNetDaily has a useful account of the recent questions raised about the Gardasil campaign.

Parents should think very hard about the safety of this vaccine as well as the moral issues surrounding use of the vaccine.

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