Associated Press (01.24.12) - Wednesday, January 25, 2012
A state House committee on Tuesday voted 14-8 to pass a
measure that would end Virginia's requirement that sixth-grade
schoolgirls be vaccinated against human papillomavirus. The
Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee's largely partisan
vote sends HB 1112 to the full House for consideration as
early as Friday. Conservatives have pushed to repeal the HPV
vaccination law for years.
Critics say the mandate usurps parental discretion and
facilitates premarital sex. Bill sponsor Delegate Kathy Byron
(R-Campbell) also criticized the opt-out clause for parents.
"'Opt-out' is never a choice for parents in my mind because
there are too many times that the parents really are not
aware," Byron said. "The best choice is to leave it entirely
with the parents and not have government get in the middle of
"We mandate a whole slew of immunizations for our children ...
and we don't leave it up to the parents," said Del. Chris
Stolle (Virginia Beach), a gynecologist and the committee's
lone Republican dissenter. "What this mandate does is
[require] that we inform parents that HPV vaccination is
available for their children. It ensures that the vaccination
will be provided by insurance companies and the state and by
the health departments. By removing the mandate, all we're
doing is not sending a letter."