The childless author of the now infamous “anti-spanking bill” California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, has introduced yet another bill intruding on the rights of parents to raise their children. Lieber’s AB 16 would mandate that all female students be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) before being allowed to enter the sixth grade.
Let’s begin with a few facts. First, 70% of cervical cancer cases are caused by the four strains of HPV targeted by the newly approved vaccine best known as Gardasil. But it is also important to note that all four strains are transmitted only through sexual contact; protected or not.
So the first question we should be asking is whether or not we should be mandating a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease to children who should not be sexually active. Unlike other diseases for which we mandate vaccination (i.e. Tuberculosis and Small Pox) HPV is not highly communicable. Furthermore, the ONLY method of transmitting the HPV strains targeted by this vaccination is sexual contact.
We should also question the wisdom of mandating a vaccination that has been on the market for such a short period of time. Gardasil was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration back in June 2006, less than a year ago. And while it did go through extensive trials, does it really make sense to mandate it be given to children when we have so little history upon which to determine the long-term safety of the product? What’s the rush?
Finally, the hypocrisy of the “choice movement” on the left never ceases to amaze me. Explain to me how a twelve year old girl is mature enough to “choose” to be taken from a school campus and given birth control or even an abortion without her parents’ even knowing about it, but isn’t mature enough to “choose” whether or not the want to receive a vaccine for a disease that is only transmitted through sexual contact? Why can’t she simply “choose” not to have sex until she is in a faithful, committed marriage relationship?