Contact: Karen England, Executive Director, Capitol Resource Institute, 916-212-5607
SACRAMENTO, June 7 /Christian Newswire/ -- Early this afternoon the state assembly voted to pass AB 16, the mandatory HPV vaccination bill. After heated debate over the dangers of the HPV vaccination and relinquishing legislative oversight to an unelected bureaucrat, the bill passed 44-28, with one Democrat crossing over to vote "no".
"It is terribly disappointing that the state assembly decided to force a dangerous, inadequately tested STD vaccine on 11 year-old girls," stated Karen England, Executive Director of Capitol Resource Institute.
Rising in opposition to AB 16 were seven legislators who boldly defended the health of young girls and the rights of parents. Assemblyman Ted Gaines, father of five daughters, described the awful experience for his family when one daughter had a bad reaction to a vaccine. He implored other lawmakers to respect the rights of parents in making such important health decisions for their children, especially when it comes to a vaccine for an STD.
Assemblyman Doug La Malfa, also a father of several daughters, described his wife's adamant opposition to a bill that would directly affect their children. The assemblyman stated that while everyone wants to end HPV and cervical cancer that desire should not trump parents' rights to care for their children. Assemblyman Martin Garrick expressed his belief that AB 16 "goes too far" and breaks with the traditional government decision to honor the judgment and discretion of parents.
Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi, a medical doctor, declared that he voted against the original version of the bill and would once again oppose it because "this has evolved from a bad bill to a worse bill."
Assemblyman Joel Anderson rose to ask questions of the author, including "If you really care about parental rights, why didn't you make this an opt-in?" The author of the bill did not answer the question.
Former co-author of the bill Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, who withdrew support after the bill was amended, expressed her dismay with the bill's total revamping of the vaccination approval process. She warned lawmakers against ceding their vaccination oversight to a single unelected, unaccountable official. She also cautioned that the legislature should "take its time" before introducing new chemicals, via vaccines, to children. One of the strongest opponents to AB 16 was Assemblywoman Audra Strickland, who courageously spoke out against the bill in committee hearings, raised several concerns about mandating the HPV vaccination while handing over power to an unaccountable official. She pointed out that the legislation failed to address girls with allergies to the vaccines, the fact that boys are the carriers of HPV, and that there are several documented cases of serious reactions to the vaccine. In addition, why should we hinge children's access to an education on whether they receive an STD vaccine? The assemblywoman declared that one can still be in favor of the vaccine while voting against mandating it for young girls.
"Proponents of this bill have argued that an opt-out provision should placate 'parental rights advocates'," stated Karen England. "However, an opt-out provision is simply the government telling me that they have taken away my parental rights and in order to regain them I must file an affidavit with the school. That is an appalling view of parental rights and displays a complete disregard for the sanctity of the family unit."
"We are encouraged that so many lawmakers recognized the danger of granting their oversight and decision-making powers to a federal bureaucracy in Washington, D.C.," stated Meredith Turney, Legislative Liaison for Capitol Resource Institute. "AB 16 specifically states that a single, unelected person shall approve all current and future recommendations of a 15-member committee unaccountable to the people of California. While we are disappointed the bill moves forward to the senate, we believe that senators and the governor will recognize the inherent dangers not only in the HPV vaccine, but in the flawed approval process AB 16 creates."
Read Family Research Council's The HPV Vaccine and School Mandates: Questions and Answers