States Resist Cancer Vaccine Mandate

Posted on Aug 19, 2009 in Cancer

Monday, May 21, 2007ATLANTA – For a time, Georgia was poised to become the latest state to require preteen girls to be vaccinated against a virus that causes cervical cancer.

A powerful state Republican lawmaker proposed making the vaccine mandatory for girls entering sixth grade, and the governor included $4.3 million in his budget to make it available to some 13,000 girls whose family’s insurance policies wouldn’t cover it.

But state lawmakers nixed the plans after aggressive lobbying by religious conservatives, who argued that vaccinating young girls could promote promiscuity. The human papillomavirus that causes cervical cancer is transmitted through sexual contact.

Similar proposals were introduced in 23 other states and the District of Columbia, but only Virginia has signed such a mandate into law.

Proposals in many states died or were watered down to only provide parents with educational materials instead of requiring the vaccine. In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry signed an executive order requiring vaccinations for sixth-grade girls, but the Legislature then passed a bill blocking the order.

health.com