By John-Henry Westen

SAULT STE. MARIE, October 18, 2007 ( – The Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board has rejected administering a vaccine for the sexually transmitted disease HPV on school property.  Trustees voted last night 5-4 to reject a motion by administration to allow local health officials to inject the controversial vaccine into girls as young as 12. 

The HPV vaccine known as Gardasil has been linked to 11 deaths of young women and hundreds of hospitalizations in the United States in the first year of its availability.  Moreover, the vaccine is a product of the Merck company which supports the largest abortion organization in the world, Planned Parenthood.

However, the Catholic Trustees rejected the STD vaccine on moral grounds, saying that sexually transmitted diseases are best prevented by abstinence.  The Halton Catholic School Board, which was the first Ontario Catholic board to accept the controversial vaccine last month, was subsequently followed by other Catholic boards in the province.  However, the three female student representatives on the Halton board saw that the administration of a vaccine on Catholic premises to combat sexually transmitted diseases presented a mixed message to students. 

“I’m taught every day to save myself for marriage and practise abstinence,” said 16-year-old Erin Gamble. “Giving the vaccine to Grade 8 girls contradicts what I have been taught.”  She added, “I go to a Catholic school every day for a reason, I have a big problem with this.”

Had the student reps on the Halton board been given a vote, the board would have rejected the HPV vaccine.  Since the vaccine is to combat an STD and lasts a maximum of five years, having the Catholic schools involved in administering the vaccine, is giving the message that the schools believe the girls would be promiscuous prior to age 18, suggested the students.

  Echoing the arguments from the students, Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board trustee Grace Tridico told the Globe and Mail, “When someone says one thing and does another you’re called a hypocrite, teaching abstinence and supporting the HPV vaccine clinics, for me is a clear case of hypocrisy.”

Voting to keep the vaccine out of Catholic schools were trustees Grace Tridico, Kathleen Rosilius, Regis O’Connor, Laurie Aceti and Gerald Beerkens. Trustees who voted to permit the STD vaccine in Catholic schools were Sandra Turco, Conrad Bobiwash, John Caputo and Lindsay Liske.

See related coverage:

US Death Toll Associated with HPV Vaccine Jumps to 11 with 3779 Adverse Reactions Reported