Cancer vaccine won’t promote promiscuity, say Catholics

NZ Herald November 06, 2007
New Zealand’s Catholic Church hierarchy has rejected a claim that vaccinating 12-year-old girls against a sexually transmitted infection to prevent cervical cancer would “promote promiscuity”. John Kleinsman, a spokesman for the Catholic Bioethics Centre, said last night he could see “no necessary link” between giving the so-called cervical vaccine to girls and promiscuity. The Government is seeking advice from health officials regarding Britain’s decision to give the vaccine to all 12-year-old girls. Dr Nikki Turner, director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre at Auckland University, said vaccinating girls with Gardasil could not be linked to promiscuity, since almost all those who were sexually active had been exposed to human papilloma virus (HPV).Mr Kleinsman said as long as parents were given a choice whether or not to have their girls vaccinated, he had no objection to its being used in 12-year-olds. Previously he has said: “We recognise the severity of cervical cancer and the devastating effects it has on women.” On Sunday, Bob McCoskrie, of the conservative lobby group Family First, questioned Gardasil’s safety and effectiveness and said giving the vaccine to girls aged 12 “promotes promiscuity”. “We are accepting by default that kids are going to be sexually active at a time that is not suitable or safe for them. This vaccine is like giving a 12-year-old a condom and saying ‘just in case’,” Mr McCoskrie said.