HPV vaccine controversial for a reason
Gov. Rick Perry’s executive order that would require girls entering the sixth grade to receive a Human papillomavirus vaccine made national headlines and angered lawmakers from both parties. But Texas lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday that would overturn this order and prevent state health officials from making the vaccine a requirement for attendance until 2011, when the issue could be revisited.
Perry has 10 days after Wednesday to veto the bill proposed by the House, the Houston Chronicle reported, but the House and Senate passed the bill with the two-thirds vote that would be required to override Perry’s veto.
HPV is becoming more common than chicken pox in children. In fact, approximately 80 percent of women are infected with this sexually transmitted infection by the time they are 50, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Not only is HPV becoming more and more common, it has also been linked to cervical cancer in women and certain cancers in men. While the vaccination effort is commendable, this vaccine is stirring more than its fair share of controversy, and there are several reasons why.
If the vaccine is issued to girls, it could encourage them to become sexually active at a younger age, which could lead to promiscuity. This could then lead to a number of other things, including teen pregnancy.
The vaccine is also only geared toward girls and women between the ages of nine and 26. The virus can affect women older than 26, and it seems they should be considered before 9-year-old girls who have probably never heard of HPV.
It is important to preserve the innocence of young children, particularly young girls and preteens. We can’t expect them to understand something like HPV when they’re still playing with Tonka trucks and Barbie dolls. Most children think that seeing their parents kiss is "gross."
There is also the issue of cost. Most insurance companies have a list of stipulations for the procedures required to diagnose, test for and treat cervical cancer, and often these companies will not pay for these things to be done. Women have to pay hundreds of dollars out of their pockets for each procedure and visit to the doctor.
These issues must be taken into consideration. Perry made an executive order without thinking twice about the consequences and repercussions. And, as many women have argued in the past and present, men and the government are trying to make decisions about women’s health but are not helping the cause.