However, universal mandatory vaccination is inconsistant with Catholic ethics. 

 From the Archdioces of Louisville Catholic Record:

Kentucky bishops say no ‘moral objections’ exist to HPV vaccine

Joseph Duerr
Record Editor

Statement recognizes the right of parents ‘to access’ need for vaccine for daughters

There is “no inherent moral objection” for girls to be immunized with the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, according to a statement approved by the Roman Catholic bishops of Kentucky.

From a Catholic perspective, the vaccine “can be viewed as a responsible and acceptable measure for preventing cervical cancer,” said the statement approved by the bishops at a meeting Aug. 13.

The statement also recognizes the right of parents and guardians “to access the necessity and appropriateness of HPV (vaccine) for their daughters.” This right “should be exercised after seeking competent medical advice” and “must be respected” by law, said the statement.

The statement added that public policy mandating “universal school-based vaccinations is not supported as appropriate by the Catholic Conference of Kentucky,” the public policy arm of the state’s bishops.

However, the statement said one’s “ability to pay” for the HPV vaccine should “not be a determining factor” for immunization. “Access to the vaccine should be made available for those children who are uninsured and are without means to pay for the immunizations,” the statement added.

State legislation on immunization against HPV was filed in the 2007 Kentucky General Assembly but did not pass. One bill would have required all girls entering middle school to be vaccinated against the virus, and another measure would have given parents the right to exempt their children from required vaccination.

Ed Monahan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, said he expects similar legislation to come before the 2008 General Assembly, which convenes in January.

He noted that statements on the HPV vaccine were also issued this year by Catholic conferences in Illinois and Texas.

The only HPV vaccine that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is Merck’s Gardasil, which protects against four HPV strains.

Bishops’ statement

Following is the statement on HPV vaccination and parental responsibility approved by the bishops of Kentucky (Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville and Bishops John J. McRaith of Owensboro, Roger J. Foys of Covington and Ronald W. Gainer of Lexington):

“Immunization of young females with the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine as a protection against cervical cancer poses no inherent moral objection. Rather, from a Catholic perspective, the HPV vaccine can be viewed as a responsible and acceptable measure for preventing cervical cancer.

“Consonant with parental and guardian obligations toward good medical decisions concerning minor children, parents and legal guardians enjoy the right to assess the necessity and appropriateness of HPV (vaccine) for their daughters. This right should be exercised after seeking competent medical advice. This right must be respected by statute.

“Parents are primary educators and care-givers for their children. As such they are obliged to instruct their children and to model for their charges responsible civic and moral behavior. Since HPV does not in itself promote sexual immorality or permissiveness, and since the HPV vaccine is not a panacea for preventing all strains of HPV infection, parental responsibility for the moral and spiritual formation of their children in the virtue of chastity is indispensable. Chastity before marriage and fidelity within marriage serve as the best defense against such infections.

“HPV is categorized as a behaviorally transmitted communicable disease and not a contagious disease. As such, advocacy for a public policy to mandate universal school-based vaccinations is not supported as appropriate by the Catholic Conference of Kentucky.

“The ability to pay for the HPV vaccine should not be the determining factor for such immunization. Access to the vaccine should be made available for those children who are uninsured or are without means to pay for the immunizations.”

(I was raised in Kentucky, and I came into the Church in the Diocese of Lexington.)

WAC

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