Proposed Bill Could Require New Vaccination For Middle School Girls

By: Amy Walker Email
By: Amy Walker Email

It's a vaccine that could keep teenage girls from getting a type of cancer. Now some state lawmakers want to make it a required immunization just like polio or chicken pox.

Quincie Owens has two teenage daughters and she says they take the threat of cancer seriously.

"She has lost a grandparent from cancer, so she is well aware of it and what it can do," Owens said.

But with a new vaccine, doctors say the threat of a least one kind of cancer could disappear.

"There is a way that you can prevent cancer with three simple injections," Dr. Faye Whiting, OB-GYN.

It's called Gardasil and it prevents girls from getting the HPV virus, an STD proven to cause cervical cancer in some women. Some state lawmakers want to make it a required immunization for girls ages 9-26, but that's where the debate begins

"It wouldn't be controversial at all if it were not mandated, if parents were allowed to make educated decisions about what to do," Martin Cothran, Family Foundation of Kentucky.

Those against requiring the HPV vaccine say it could encourage sexual activity and takes away parents rights. But supporters say that just like vaccines for the measles or chicken pox, parents have a choice.

"If I had wanted to opt out of any of these because of religious or philosophical reasons, if I had a sworn statement, I wouldn't have to do this for my child," said Rep. Kathy Stein.

"I think it's going to change the face of OBGYN practice 20 years from now, because so much of what I do is related to HPV," said Dr. Whiting.

But for a mother, it's about protecting her daughters.

"If there's something out there that can prevent cancer, I'm all for it," Owens said.

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