Monday, May 21, 2007

Catholics and Gardasil

The Gardasil issue is no longer new, but it is still very much alive. I get a lot of search hits from people wanting to know what the Catholic Church officially has to say about Gardasil, the new vaccine that "may" protect young women and girls from HPV, which causes genital warts, and in some cases cervical cancer.

I have already said plenty of the subject, including whether or not the state has any business requiring the vaccine for school enrollment.

For those who want more official statements, the Texas Catholic Bishops have put out a statement on the matter, in response to Governor Rick Perry's infamous executive order. They state that the vaccine is an acceptable means of protecting oneself (or ones children) from HPV. However, the bishops oppose public policy requiring vaccination for school attendance. They find it to be highly problematic, and state that the decision to get the vaccine should be left with parents, and individual women who are legally old enough to decide for themselves. I highly recommend reading the statement in its entirety. It is available in HTML and PDF formats. It is also available en EspaƱol.

The Catholic Medical Association has also put out a press release and a position paper (in .PDF format) on Gardasil. The National Catholic Bioethics Center issued its own statement. Both of these organizations concur with the opinion of the Texas Catholic Conference.

For further reading on related issues, refer to the sections in The Catechism of the Catholic Church dealing with conscience, marriage, sexuality, government, and human dignity. The Theology of the Body is also a useful resource.

A grateful nod to Kitchen Madonna for posting the online location of The Theology of the Body on her blog.

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