Saturday, March 28, 2009

More on the HPV Vaccine

Following the furore that arose in Ireland when Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, announced that – ostensibly because of necessary Government financial cut-backs – she would not proceed with her plan to have twelve-year-old girls vaccinated with the anti-cervical cancer drug Gardasil, a number of doctors declared that they would provide such vaccination, at their own expense, and cost-free to parents, for some hundreds of girls in the Dublin area. These vaccinations were carried out early in March. The actual vaccines were bought by a consortium of businessmen.

See also ELN Open Letter to Health Minister Mary Harney which sets out the problems associated with the use of the vaccine.

The following piece is taken from Witness to Love, in relation to a similar programme put in place in the United Kingdom.
This consequentialist approach to what is in fact an ethical issue typifies the utilitarianism of contemporary society. Although the potential for saving lives comes with the HPV [Gardasil] vaccination, it would be far less necessary if parents and young people learned about responsibility, purity and marriage as the safest way to avoid HPV and cervical cancer. To vaccinate my child against a disease that she is most likely to get from taking multiple sexual partners seems to me to capitulate to a culture in which the image of the human person has become grossly distorted. It is to admit and promote the idea that sexual activity between young people before marriage is inevitable and unstoppable despite being potentially harmful.

At the age when young boys and girls are just beginning to learn the fuller use of reason, to offer them drugs in the place of virtue is not only a capitulation to a materialistic view of man, but it diminishes the meaning of their freedom. Instead of teaching children self-control, temperance and purity, giving them a drug communicates to them that their capacity for this is limited and unreliable.