California Allows Young People to Access the HPV Vaccine Without Parental Consent

On Sunday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law which allows minors to access STD-prevention services, including the now highly political HPV vaccine, without parental consent.  California already allowed teens to access many other types of confidential care including contraception, pregnancy care, mental health care, and drug abuse treatment.  The author of the bill says that it merely updates state law to include newer treatment options including the HPV vaccine, vaccines for Hepatitis, and drug regimens that can prevent HIV transmission when taken after exposure to the virus.

Still, because sex was involved the headlines focused on “children as young as 12” and many opponents urged the governor not to sign the bill.  The Bishop of the Sacramento Diocese, Jaime Soto, said the law undermines parents’ relationship with teens: “I am very concerned the governor has done something that has really pushed parents aside…I’m dismayed that the governor would put aside the voices of so many families who said that this is not right.”  Others reiterated old (and tired) arguments that the HPV vaccine will lead to rampant promiscuity.  Randy Thomasson, president of, “worried the law will deceive preteen girls into believing they can freely engage in sexual activity without risk.”

Several parents were quoted in articles as being concerned that their children would receive any medical care without their knowledge.  One mother of a teenage daughter explained:  “I think it’s wrong, because we need to know.  What if something happened to [our teenage kids] and we didn’t know?”  As the mother of two daughters, I can relate to her concern though I think the law is not the problem.  My children at 1 and 5 are still at an age where I know where they are and roughly what they are doing at any given moment.   I certainly know all of the medication they have taken and I have missed only two trips to the doctor between them.  There is a certain amount of comfort in that level of knowledge and control, and I am dreading their independence as much as I am looking forward to it.

That said, I believe the responsibility for open and honest communication about sexuality and health care falls on the parents not the kids and we all know that some parents fall down on this job. Most young people become sexually active at some point during high school and some of them cannot talk about their sexual health with their parents.  It would be wrong to deny these teens potentially life-saving prevention services (remember the HPV vaccine protects not just against an STD but against cervical cancer).

The law provides an important safeguard that allows these teens to protect their health and well-being.  Now it’s the responsibility of educators and health care providers to encourage young people and parents to talk each other about these important issues.

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  • reproductivefreedomfighter

    I think this is a very bad idea, and I hope my state doesn’t follow suit.  But my reasoning has nothing to do with sex.  I’m just a skeptic when it comes to vaccines.  I’m not anti, but I am sick of being pushed to get more and more vaccines, especially when the long-term effects and success rates haven’t been studied enough.  My kids aren’t old enough yet, but by the time they are you can be I’ll have had this discussion with them, and they will be saying no to Gardasil. 


    I read this morning that now there’s some company who wants to test anthrax vaccines on children.  Now that’s just terrifying. 

  • crowepps

    You’re aware that anthrax is a potential bioweapon?

    And that inhalation anthrax has a mortality rate of 75%?

    Those facts are terrifying.  Vaccines?  Not so much.

  • reproductivefreedomfighter

    Of course I’m aware that anthrax is a potential bioweapon.  Still, I don’t want my kids to be the ones they test dosage on.  Someone else can offer up their children, I suppose, but that scares the crap out of me. 

  • sayna

    You’ll allow your kids to decide for themselves (as long as they agree with you) but you’re against letting other teens choose for thmselves?

  • reproductivefreedomfighter

    Nope, I’m pro-choice.  I will amend my comment to say that when I talk to my kids about it, I will present my skeptical view of Gardasil, to go alongside the FDA and CDC view.  I think they should get both sides.  Then they can make their own decisions.  Am I going to sway them my way?  Of course I am, just like the school discussion will try to sway them their way.  Just like I sway my kids my way when we talk about homosexuality, birth control, and abortion.  I don’t think they should be vaccinating without parental consent, but if they do, my kids will be informed on both sides, and they’ll probably be home sick on vaccination day. 

  • crowepps

    Oh, well, sure.  It’s always better if somebody ELSE’S children are the ones put at risk so that protection will eventually be available for your children.  That’s just common sense.  Since you’re so sure that the researchers are inhuman monsters who don’t care if their child guinea pigs survive the testing process, just whose children do you suggest they use up?

  • reproductivefreedomfighter

    I suggest no one’s kids be used up.  I think it’s a terrible idea.  Animal testing = bad.  Children testing = bad. 

  • colleen

    polio = good?

    yellow fever = good?

    cervical cancer = good?

    Do you know anything about the regulations and construction of clinical trials? Do you even care to find out? Do you believe drug companies and the FDA trick people into participating in clinical trials?





  • reproductivefreedomfighter

    I’m not anti-vaccine, I’m just skeptical.  I’m OK with a lot of vaccinations, but with things like chicken pox or the flu, conditions that are not normally deadly in healthy persons, I skip them.  I want to know a LOT more about the success rates of this vaccine over time, as well as side effects, short-term and long-term.  Thing is, it’s hard to verify side effects came from a vaccine, which means there’s no one culpable, which means if something does happen, no one’s going to care or even necessarily believe it.   I don’t give a blanket-OK or nay to all vaccines, I take it on a case-by-case basis, which decision I feel is quite reasonable.