Ever since drug-makers announced the availability of a vaccine against the sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical and other forms of cancer, religious-righters have shrieked that the shot will turn girls practically into harlots. In 2007, for example, Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams sharply criticized Gov. Rick Perry for issuing an executive order mandating that sixth-grade girls get the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV):

“We’re very unhappy because it’s not a crisis, because parental rights are being usurped and we believe young girls are being experimented upon. Would they be more promiscuous? Chances are very good that they would be.”

Actually, no. A new study published today in the journal Pediatrics finds that girls vaccinated around age 11 were not more likely to engage in more sexual activity than peers who didn’t get the vaccine. From the New York Times:

“I’ll now be able to use this study as a piece of evidence to show them that it’s not going to give girls a license to sexual activity,” said Dr. Alderman, an adolescent medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

Dr. Jonathan Temte, a family doctor in Wisconsin… Read More

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has vetoed a bill that would have provided the HPV vaccine free to the state’s seventh-graders after opponents said the measure would sexualize girls at a young age.

South Carolina lawmakers had passed the bill by large bipartisan majorities in the state House and Senate. Moreover, Haley had co-sponsored a bill mandating the vaccine when she was a legislator in 2007. Haley later killed her 2007 bill because it didn’t offer parents an opt-out. Getting the vaccine was optional under the bill Haley vetoed on Tuesday.

Haley said she opposed the new bill because it was “a precursor to another taxpayer-funded healthcare mandate.”

The vaccine protects against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. HPV causes venereal warts and can lead to cervical and other types of cancer. Health officials say the vaccine should be given to patients before they become sexually active.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued an executive order in 2007 mandating the HPV vaccine for young girls in Texas. The Legislature later passed a measure overturning that order. Critics noted that Perry issued his executive order after a… Read More