Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Gardasil Controversy

Received this today:

Although headlines are rampant with the suggestion that one in four women (between the ages of 14 and 59) is infected with HPV, the real shock of the study, released in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was somewhat buried. Lost in the panic surrounding the high HPV-infection rate is a footnote that should cause even greater concern for Gardasil advocates. Only 3.4% of the women studied had an infection that the new vaccine protects against. While many are touting the epidemic as justification for mandating the shots, the reality is that Merck's vaccine still leaves women vulnerable to a significant number of HPV strains, including those that cause 30% of the cases of cervical cancer. This news should give pause to Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) as he considers whether or not to sign a bill that would require the shots for schoolgirls. In an interview, Kaine said that he may try to amend the bill to include a more "generous opt-out provision" for parents. However, as FRC has said all along, the burden should be on the government--not parents--to convince Americans about the need for the vaccine. FRC is contacting Gov. Kaine and asking him to reassess his idea of expanding the opt-out criteria and instead promote an opt-in measure that would affirm parents' rights. In the meantime, legislators should ponder the greater cultural crisis of experimentation and promiscuity that created the epidemic in the first place. Along with the option of vaccination, states should educate children on an even better way to fight HPV--abstinence and monogamy.

From the Family Research Council

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