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Should the HPV Vaccine be Mandated? I Say No

After thinking about the current debate on the HPV vaccine, I decided getting the vaccine is a personal decision that should be left up to families, not lawmakers.

It is estimated that 80 percent of women in the United States will be infected with , the most common sexually transmitted disease in the county, at some point in their lives. Of the more than 40 strains of HPV, most lead to unsightly genital warts or benign warts found on the woman’s cervix. However, there are a handful of strains that can lead to cervical cancer. 

According the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are an estimated 13,000 diagnosed cases of cervical cancer each year, with approximately 4,000 ending in death. With routine pap smears, cervical is one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer. Although routine pap smears have allowed gynecologists to catch the cancer before it spreads too far, the end result is young women having hysterectomies (the removal of their female reproductive organs) too often--dreams of birthing their own children taken away by something that can so easily be prevented.

In 2006, the FDA approved Gardasil for use, one of the two HPV vaccines currently on the market. Just three short years later, Cervavix, another HPV vaccine, was approved, and put on the market. The releases of these vaccines were immediately met with outrage by many parents who claimed that the vaccine promoted sexual promiscuity. Most recently, the vaccine has gained public attention in the GOP Presidential campaign trail.

In 2007, presidential hopeful and current Governor of Texas Rick Perry pushed to mandate the vaccine. His push led to a heated debate with Minnesota representative and presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann. She made claims that, not only did mandating the vaccine promote promiscuity, but also was associated with mental retardation and even death.

So what do we do? Should there be a nationwide order for all young girls to receive the vaccine? Why should anyone have to face the risk of getting cancer when there are preventable measures that can be taken?

I think at the heart of this debate is something very personal. Cancer isn’t like the other diseases that vaccines help prevent, this is cancer we’re talking about here. We’re talking about our daughters’ futures. I have friends that have lost so much of their cervixes that they are unable to have children of their own. A vaccine that is said to prevent cervical cancer coupled with routine pap smears could allow us to eventually stop the spread of the disease.

But, should it be mandated? I have to say "no" to this one. I think this vaccine is different from others because the disease it is associated with is caused by sexual activity. For many families, this causes a big problem. Why would they want to get their young daughters vaccinated when they are trying to teach abstinence and saving themselves for marriage?

The decision is a personal one that parents are perfectly capable of making. They know what is best for their family and their children. I will even go as far as to say I think young women should be able to receive the vaccine without their parents consent at a clinic.

While I don’t like to think about my daughter being sexually active someday, I know it’s going to happen. Will we vaccinate her? I honestly haven’t made a decision yet. We’re fortunate enough to have time on our hands. By the time my daughter is old enough to receive the vaccine, I hope there is more information regarding its safety. And when the time comes, we’ll make a decision together, as a family, because nobody will ever know my children as well as I do.

Bobbie Jo Justice September 24, 2011 at 11:29 PM
government needs to get out of people's personal lives
Kathy September 25, 2011 at 11:23 AM
While on the whole I do believe this is a personal decision, I think that anyone who doesn't get this vaccine for their daughter is making a mistake. There is absolutely no credible evidence that this vaccine is harmful. (This "mysterious" woman who supposedly came up to Bachman after the debate has never been produced, despite rewards offered.) The one benefit to making the vaccine mandatory is that it protects the girls whose parents are too irresponsible or uneducated to get them to a doctor. Like many laws, this is unnecessary for most of us, and so we have the luxury of choice. But what about others? Is it ok for the government to get into people's personal lives, when those lives are a mess? We wouldn't object to the government taking a child out of an abusive or neglectful home would we? It is just not a black and white question.
withavengeance2 September 25, 2011 at 01:19 PM
No mandate.....get OUT of my life, nanny government! I do NOT need you telling me what I must or must not do! I am so sick and tired of government mandates, whether it be federal, state or local, esp. the unfunded ones. That being said, I would not hesitate to get my daughter this vaccine. At age 25, I had to have part of my cervix removed (this was in the late '70's) due to a precancerous condition. I had a difficult time getting pregnant. My dr. told me that I could carry a baby perfectly fine, but would need a c-section for delivery. And that's how it turned out. Whether people's lives are a mess or not, it's still THEIR lives! What constitutes a 'mess' to some is not necessarily a 'mess' to others. Removing a child from a bad home is one of the few exceptions. I'm just waiting for cameras to be mandated in our homes to monitor every single thing we do. Sound paranoid? Maybe, but there are already cameras watching us everywhere else, stores, roads, red lights, parking lots....all in the name of safety. But is that really all there is to it? Nothing would surprise me. This vaccine is a very personal decision....I choose to get a pneumonia vaccine every five years, a flu shot every year, a tetanus shot every 10 years...these aren't mandated, but they're a very good idea. These are MY choices...I am an adult and have the right to make my own choices! So not only get out of my life, government, but get out of my pocket too >_<
Hilde Schirmer September 26, 2011 at 02:23 PM
Mandating vaccines is a violation of the 14th amendment. We must not subjugate our children to mandatory gov't sanctioned poisoning. The gov't wants to control what we do to our bodies by fluoridating the water & allowing chemicals in our food and mandating vaccines. Vaccines ARE dangerous. And if you don't understand this then go do your own research. How about starting with Ty Bollinger's book, " Cancer, step outside the box." You might learn a whole LOT more about the truths. Vaccines do NOT eradicate diseases! Cases of diphtheria, measles, mumps and whooping cough declined by 79% PRIOR to vaccines!!!! Due to improved hygeine, sanitation, better housing and nutrition. Wake up and do some self educating. Stop relying on MD's who trust the pharmaceutical reps OR studies done and sponsored by phamaceutical companies. Wake up! Don't be a sheep. I am a health care provider with 5 years medical education, my father is a retired Hopkins physician with 60 years in medicine, so I know a lot about medicine, nutrition, chemistry, physiology and the body. The HPV vaccine is young and we do not know long term effects so there is no data proving safety or danger. But we do know that tax payers will pay and the money will go to Merck.

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