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Do We Really Need Gardasil To Protect Teen Girls? | Mary Beth Bonacci | Ignatius Insight

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The vaccine is unnecessary, it's dangerous, and it's disabling and killing young women.

I'm usually not the kind of person to say "I told you so." But in this case, I'm more than happy to make an exception.

Two years ago, I wrote an article called "A Virus that Causes Cancer?" In it, I discussed the then-new vaccine Gardasil, which helps protect women against the HPV virus, a sexually transmitted organism that can lead to cervical cancer. Several states were in the process of mandating the vaccine--for girls as young as 11--under intense pressure from Merck's lobbying efforts. I pointed out that early sign were not good, with a high number of reported side effects including fainting, loss of vision and seizures. More important, I noted that there had been absolutely no studies on the long-term safety of the vaccine. Given the highly preventable nature of HPV-related cervical cancer, I thought it was senseless--downright dumb--to expose young girls to these kinds of risks.

I received a lot of feedback from that article. Some thanked me. Others re-posted and re-published it in other sources. But many, many people wrote to argue with me. Girls are going to have sex no matter what we do. We need to protect them. What kind of freakish 1950's era time warp do I live in? One doctor wrote an impassioned letter defending her practice of vaccinating her young female patients with Gardasil. She wrote about the critical importance of Gardasil in protecting our young women's futures--and acknowledged almost as an aside that yes, there are still questions about the long-term safety of the vaccine.

That was then. Let's fast forward two years.

I was flipping around the TV channels the other night, and for some reason I stopped on the CBS Evening News. (Must've been the Holy Spirit, because I'm generally not a big network news fan.) And soon I was watching a feature story entitled "New Worries About Gardasil Safety." The piece started with a very sweet-looking young girl. Gabby Swank, who got the vaccine because "we felt almost pressured by the commercials." Afterward, she got sicker and sicker, eventually suffering seizures, strokes and severe heart problems. She is now too sick to even attend school. Next we went to a heartsick mother, Emily Tarsell, whose daughter Chris wasn't as "lucky" as Gabby. Chris died after receiving the vaccine.

Chris is not alone. 29 deaths have been reported from the Gardasil vaccine. Twenty nine deaths. It almost makes me cry just to write it. Twenty nine young women's lives have been cut short, all because a drug manufacturer convinced them that a vaccine would "protect" them.

And among the living, the carnage continues. A recent study by the National Vaccine Information Center compared Gardasil side effects to another vaccine given to patients in the same age group. Gardasil led to 3 times (that's 300%) more emergency room visits, 5 times (500%) more fatalities, and 30 times (3000%) more side effects. And these are not just minor side effects. We're talking strokes, heart episodes, lupus, paralysis. Young girls seem to be winding up permanently disabled. If you want to see for yourself, just google "Gardasil video" to see young girl after young girl who has had to give up sports, social life and even attending school because of Gardasil-induced health problems.

In the mean time Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil, is standing by their product. Last July, when 15 young women had died from the vaccine, Merck said it believed that "no safety issue related to the vaccine has been identified." No statement to the contrary has been issued by Merck as of this writing, and their Gardasil web site continues to encourage young women--and their parents--to avail themselves of the vaccine. And, incredibly, Merck is now petitioning the FDA to be allowed to inject boys with the vaccine, because they may be carriers of the virus.

All of this makes me really, really mad. This is about putting profits (in Merck's case) and ideology (in the case of many of Gardasil's advocates) over the lives and health of young, innocent women (and, if Merck gets their way, men).

It would be one thing if we were vaccinating against some uncurable deadly plague that was wiping out an entire generation. Then maybe the benefits would outweigh the risks. But neither HPV nor HPV-related cancers are The Plague. The virus is sexually transmitted, so abstinence and marriage to an uninfected partner offers 100% protection. But we don't even need to tread into the treacherous waters of the "kids are going to do it anyway" debate to acknowledge that HPV-related deaths are extremely preventable.

We have pap smears, whichdetect HPV-related warts and pre-cancerous changes to the cervix. It is because of our friend the pap smear that cervical cancer deaths declined 74% between 1955 and 1992 - - the same time period wherein the rate of unmarried sexual activity was rising dramatically. Those cervical cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society, continue to decline at a rate of about 4% a year.

We don't need Gardasil to prevent cervical cancer. Gardasil is the closest thing I've ever seen to an out and out pharmaceutical hoax foisted on American women under the guise of "public health." It is dangerous, and only exists on the market today as a testament to corporate greed and the "profits over people" mentality.

Please, do not allow yourself or your daughters to be injected with the Gardasil vaccine. Tell others the same. Spread the word.

Young lives may depend on it.

This column originally appeared on RealLove.net on February 10, 2009. Click here to read more of Mary Beth Bonacci's columns.

Related IgnatiusInsight.com Links/Articles:

"What Do I Say When My Kids Ask Me About My Past?" | Mary Beth Bonacci
Parenting From the Teen Years Backwards | Mary Beth Bonacci
Focus Groups and Marriage: A Match Made for Heartache | Mary Beth Bonacci
Viagra: It's Not Just for Old Guys Anymore | Mary Beth Bonacci
God Writes Straight With Crooked Lines | Mary Beth Bonacci
My Imaginary Funeral Homily | Mary Beth Bonacci
Do All Catholics Go Straight to Heaven? | Mary Beth Bonacci
Be Nice To Me. I'm Dying. | Mary Beth Bonacci
Teens, Sex, and Real Love | Interview with Mary Beth Bonacci | Mary Beth Bonacci

Mary Beth Bonacci is internationally known for her talks and writings about love, chastity, and sexuality. Since 1986 she has spoken to tens of thousands of young people, including 75,000 people in 1993 at World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado. She appears frequently on radio and television programs, including several appearances on MTV.

Mary Beth has written two books, We're on a Mission from God and Real Love, and also writes a regular, syndicated column for various publications. She has developed numerous videos, including her brand-newest video series, also entitled Real Love. Her video Sex and Love: What's a Teenager to Do? was awarded the 1996 Crown Award for Best Youth Curriculum.

Mary Beth holds a bachelor's degree in Organizational Communication from the University of San Francisco, and a master's degree in Theology of Marriage and Family from the John Paul II Institute at Lateran University. She was also awarded an honorary doctorate in Communications from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and is listed in Outstanding Young Women of America for 1997. Her apostolate, Real Love Incorporated is dedicated to presenting the truth about the Church's teaching about sexuality, chastity, and marriage.

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