Canadian Catholics come to their senses

We'll never know what role, if any, the mockery of the New Atheists had in the decision taken yesterday by the Toronto Catholic District School Board to let the girls in their charge get the HPV vaccine. But for once, it feels good to pass on the news that empirical evidence has trumped irrational faith.

The decision came just a couple of days after the news spread that that another nearby school board, just down the road from Toronto in Halton, " could become the first in Ontario to ban public health nurses from administering the HPV vaccine to young girls at local schools." From the Globe and Mail, we also learn that

On Tuesday, the Halton Catholic District School Board barely defeated a motion (in a 4-3 vote) to ban public health from administering the vaccine at their schools.

The Toronto Catholic board also voted in favour of sending home a package to parents that includes the bishops' letter and a cover letter that says the schools are simply a venue for the vaccination, and allowing their use does not necessarily reflect the board's moral views.

Phew. And the fun stuff:

After a discussion that lasted more than 90 minutes, trustees voted 9-3 in favour of the motion, rightly putting the health of their daughters over morality, one trustee said.

"I sure don't want to know that the headlines in two decades will read 'Catholic women lead in deaths for cervical cancer,' " trustee Maria Rizzo said during a passionately delivered statement to the board.

"I have a 16-year-old daughter. I'm sorry she's not in Grade 8."

In a separate motion brought forward by Ms. Rizzo, the board also agreed to lobby other levels of government to expand the free vaccination program to all eligible women.

The Toronto decision comes as several school boards across the country debate the issue of vaccinating their young female students for human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease. So far, none have banned public health nurses from coming into their schools and giving vaccinations, although some have come close.

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Sloppy reporting.

The decision came just a couple of days after the news spread that that another nearby school board, just down the road from Toronto in Halton, "become the first in Ontario to ban public health nurses from administering the HPV vaccine to young girls at local schools."

This quote above is misleading ... dare I call it a quote mine?? :-) The article actually says, "...could become the first...". The article goes on to say that the decision would be made on Tuesday evening, and it was - to allow the program to proceed.

By Scott Belyea (not verified) on 20 Sep 2007 #permalink

I don't see why the Catholic church would oppose vaccination for anything.

Surely their officials know that disease is caused by demons, not pathogenic organisms created by a loving god?

The HPV scene in Texas is confused too.
The RCCh didn't speak out. Gov. Perry (R-TX) proposed general school vaccination. Some evangelicals condemned the "permissive" message that it carried. The conservative "politically correct" definition of the program was that it amounted to "socialized medicine". It failed.

Why "young girls" only? Since lads and lasses have their frolics and not ALL lasses have had the shot why not make the immunization general? This is protection for religious lasses and older women.