Gardasil vaccine final vote could be this week
August 29th, 2011
By Valerie Schmalz
The California Catholic Conference is urging Californians to call their state senators and urge them to oppose AB 499, which would give children 12 and older the right to be vaccinated against sexually transmitted disease without parental consent or knowledge.
“It’s just one more assault on parental rights,” said Carol Hogan, spokeswoman for the California bishops’ policy arm. Bill sponsors say the danger of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly human papillomavirus virus which is a known risk factor for cervical cancer, is the reason for the bill.
The full Senate may vote on AB499 as early as Tuesday. The bill was approved by the state Assembly in the spring. To oppose the bill, contact your legislator by going to : http://capwiz.com/cacatholic/home/.
The bill would allow children to consent to treatment with the controversial Gardasil vaccine intended to prevent HPV. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends young girls be vaccinated against HPV, but opponents say the vaccine’s side effects have not been studied thoroughly and evidence so far is alarming. One in four sexually active teens is infected with a sexually transmitted disease each year, according to the California Department of Public Health.
But Hogan said the real agenda is disempowering parents and the result, when this is successful, is generally damaging to children because without knowledge parents will not know why a child is ill – whether from hemorrhaging from an abortion or symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases contracted while using contraceptives dispensed at school or at a local health clinic.
Already children 12 and older may obtain an abortion or procure contraception without parental knowledge or consent in California, Hogan noted. They may also be treated for sexually transmitted disease without parental consent. The new bill, if passed by the state Senate this week and signed by the governor, would add another item to the list, Hogan said.
“This kid gets horribly ill and because it is a big secret, they aren’t going to tell their parent why they are sick,” Hogan said. “It’s a health risk to the child if the parents don’t know what has happened to their child when the child is out of their presence.”
Attending the committee hearings in Sacramento, Hogan said, she has been struck by the general belief that parents are “hapless.” The tenor of the debate and discussion among witnesses and lawmakers is: “ ‘We have to give these children the power to take care of themselves because the parents don’t care.’ There really is that mindset if you sit in the committee hearings,” she said.
“This bill appears to be an ‘end run’ following the failure in 2007 to mandate HPV vaccination for all girls entering public junior high school—a measure strongly opposed by parents rights groups and vetoed by the governor,” the California Catholic Conference said in an earlier alert.