The State (Columbia, S.C.) (04.18.12) - Friday, April 20,
A South Carolina House committee on Tuesday approved a bill
requiring the state to provide educational brochures about
human papillomavirus to parents of male and female seventh-
graders. The brochures would encourage, but not require,
parents to get their children vaccinated against HPV.
"There is a growing need for this type of prevention," said
House Rep. Terry Alexander (D-Florence). "It's cheaper to
prevent than to [care for] someone who has this particular
disease." HPV infection, which can be symptomless, is the
leading cause of cervical cancer.
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control
predicts that distributing the brochures and providing the
vaccine to an anticipated greater number of students through
public health clinics would cost the state nearly $312,000
annually. Under the measure, DHEC is not required to offer the
program unless lawmakers fund it.
The committee-approved bill may face opposition as it heads to
the full House. In 2007, a bill requiring middle-school girls
to get the vaccine, with an opt-out provision for parents,
drew sharp opposition from the S.C. Baptist Association and
was defeated unanimously. The new bill's sponsor, Rep. Bakari
Sellers (D-Bamberg), said he hopes to avoid problems this time
by making the vaccination optional. So far, no one has
objected to the bill publicly.