GOP Candidates on HPV Vaccine

Social issues such as abortion and gay marriage were almost entirely absent from last night’s Republican Presidential debate, but that didn’t stop some candidates from flexing their anti-choice muscles — in this case over the vaccine to prevent HPV.

Via Huffington Post:

Rick Perry has taken some heat for his executive order mandating young girls to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, the most common sexually transmitted disease and the principal cause of cervical cancer.

He has since walked back that order, saying that instead of an executive order, he should have created a program that allowed young girls to opt-in.

Ron Paul, a medical doctor, said forcing girls to take the vaccine was “not good medicine.” “It’s not good social policy,” he said.

Michele Bachmann said it was up to parents to make that decision and that governments shouldn’t do it.

Mitt Romney also said he believes in parental rights and responsibilities, and while he disagreed with the way Perry went about mandating the vaccine — through executive order, rather than through legislation — he believed the governor’s heart was in the right place.

I will never understand why anti-choice advocates want to eliminate abortion and birth control pills because they believe they cause breast cancer, but demand their daughters never be exposed to the HPV vaccine that could prevent cervical cancer.

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  • hpv

    What Is the meaning of HPV?
    Genital HPV (human papilloma virus) is the most common sexually transmitted HPV in Women disease and it’s believed that up to 70% of women will have come into contact with HPV by the time they’re 60 years old.

  • reproductivefreedomfighter

    Yeah, but I think most people’s problem with Gardasil (OK, my problem with it as a pro-choicer) is that first, it vaccinates against a very small number of HPV strains, sort of like the ubiquitous flu shot we’re told to get every year, so I’m not even that convinced it does that much good.  Second, it has not been researched enough to verify there aren’t terrible side effects. Rick Perry tried to mandate it–not his best move.  I certainly don’t want my daughters or my son to get the Gardasil vaccine. 

  • prochoiceferret

    it vaccinates against a very small number of HPV strains


    But the small number of strains that it does vaccinate against together cause 70% of all cervical cancer cases, and 90%+ of all genital warts.


    Second, it has not been researched enough to verify there aren’t terrible side effects.


    Neither have the ubiquitous flu shots. It’s not like Gardasil is all that different from most other vaccines.


    I certainly don’t want my daughters or my son to get the Gardasil vaccine.


    Are you feeling lucky?

  • reproductivefreedomfighter

    Right, which is why I don’t get the flu shot.  HPV is also often cleared by the body without vaccination.  I certainly don’t mind if the vaccine is available, but I do not want it to be mandatory, or to have to go through a bunch of administrative red tape to opt out.   I suppose when my daughters are twelvish, we will do the research together and then they can make their own decisions.  By then hopefully more research will have been done. 

  • freedomist

    Rick Perry’s vaccine mandate included an opt-out. Some of the other Republican candidates have criticized “opt-out”, and prefer “opt-in” instead. Your article claims they are flexing their “anti-choice” muscles, but I don’t see it that way. The debate IS about choice. If both parents and the daughter agree to, or, not to be vaccinated, their combined agreed preference should trump the anti-choice state mandate. The issue gets a little more complicated should the daughter want the vaccine and one or both parents don’t, or, when the daughter doesn’t want the vaccine and one or both parents do, or, when parents disagree. Most people would agree the daughter’s choice should prevail in cases where people agree the daughter is old enough to override her parents’ preferences. The question becomes: How young is too young?

    Not just how young a daughter should legally decide these issues. When a mandate requires a younger age than the age a daughter may make her own decision, the mandate will induce, if not require, parents involvement in the decision process. One possible motive is the theory that law compliance is higher when 2 or more persons are required for compliance. Again, how young is too young?

    This debate reminds me a case where a 13-year-old girl got pregnant. One parent wanted the daughter to get an abortion, and the other parent wanted the daughter to give birth. The case ended up in court, where, if one believes the news accounts, a judge was to decide if the 13-year-old was to receive an abortion. The news accounts made no mention of the 13-year-old’s preferences. When I told my “pro-choice” friends that I opposed court-ordered abortions I was attacked for being “anti-choice”. I contend they held the “anti-choice” position by supporting court-ordered abortion, and I hold the “pro-choice” position by opposing court-ordered abortion. News accounts later reported the 13-year-old did give birth, but did not disclose whether the 13-year-old was “forced” to give birth.

  • jennifer-starr

    I don’t support forced abortions any more than I support forced births.  And I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that in the US case law has already set the precedent that you can’t force anyone, even a minor, to have an abortion against their will.    And I don’t know of any reputable clinic that would perform this procedure on an unwilling patient. The last case that I’ve heard of was with a mentally ill woman in 1990–they ruled in her favor and she gave birth. And prior to that there was a 14 year old whose mother wanted to force her to abort and the court told her that she couldn’t; it was up to her daughter.  

    I don’t know where you’re getting your information from, Freedomist, but I don’t know of any pro-choice person who supports ‘court ordered abortion’.  We believe the decision should rest in the hands of the person who is pregnant. 

  • crowepps

    Parents who tell a girl they will throw her out of the house if she doesn’t abort, parents who tell a girl they will never speak to her again if she doesn’t continue the pregancy, parents who enlist the pastor in an intervention to pressure the baby be given up for adoption because “what kind of a life would it have with YOU”, schools who expell pregnant students, the (thankfully rare) social workers who insist teenagers should abort and “get on with their lives”, ProLifers who reference God’s anger and making the Virgin Mary cry and ‘if you have an abortion you’ll commit suicide (we hope and pray because it would serve you right)’.

    Sometimes I think it would be interesting to see what would happen if people weren’t allowed to use all the different kinds of psychological torture that we tolerate now.  Just as a for instance, the “Bethlehem project” in Chicago is ProLife Action League sidewalk ‘counselors’ attaching themselves to women who have just gone through the first step of their abortion, having laminaria inserted, when they leave the clinic, and love bombing them so they can get them down to the nearby Catholic hospital where the laminaria can be removed.  It may be a good idea for those who want to support women in their ability to make their own choices to provide escorts so they can avoid/escape the godbots outside, ready to kidnap them.


  • jennifer-starr

    Very true, yes. Good information, Crowepps–thank you :) And escorts would be a good idea–no one should have to endure that kind of harassment. 

  • freedomist

    The case of the 13-year-old occurred in Kalamazoo Michigan in the early 1980’s. My knowledge of the case came from news reports by my local newspaper, The Ann Arbor News. Why the reporter didn’t report the preferences of the 13-year-old I can only speculate. The “pro-choice” friends I speak of are 2 women: a close friend and her attorney girlfriend. Neither of them are activists, and I suspect they did not fully understand my arguments. I am, as are most of my friends, “pro-choice” and favor legalized abortion. Most of my friends agree with you and me that forced abortion is “anti-choice”.

  • crowepps

    Why the reporter didn’t report the preferences of the 13-year-old I can only speculate.

    I would hope that everyone involved in the case had the good sense to keep the reporter away from the girl and to keep their mouths shut about her preferences, since it is NEVER a good idea to publicize any aspect of children’s participation in court cases.