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March 6, 2007

The uproar caused by Texas Governor Rick Perry's Executive Order mandating the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) for 6th grade girls caused the drug manufacturer Merck to announce it will no longer lobby states to make the vaccine mandatory for school attendance.

Merck has spent enormous sums lobbying for the mandates with significant help from Women in Government, an organization of female state legislators. Its web site reveals a list of supporters consisting largely of corporations and organizations in the pharmaceutical and medical fields. The list of State Directors for Women in Government should be examined carefully, since we suspect the legislation mandating the HPV vaccine for children is being carried by individuals in this group in their various state legislatures. Please check it out in your state.

Despite Merck's decision to call off its massive lobbying efforts and the fact that bills requiring the mandate introduced in at least 20 states have been either defeated (Michigan), withdrawn (Maryland) or delayed (Florida), it passed in the state of Virginia and Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat, may sign it into law. Tony Perkins, in the March 1 edition of Washington Update, said, "Although headlines are rampant with the suggestion that one in four women (between the ages of 14 and 59) is infected with HPV, the real shock of the study, released in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was somewhat buried. Lost in the panic surrounding the high HPV-infection rate is a footnote that should cause even greater concern for Gardasil advocates. Only 3.4% of the women studied had an infection that the new vaccine protects against."

That is certainly not the kind of evidence that requires a mandated vaccine for little girls!

Bear in mind that Gardasil does not cure cancer. Gardasil is thought to protect against 4 strains of human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease which can cause cervical cancer. Since it takes about 20 years to develop cervical cancer, we'll have to wait that long to find out whether Gardasil actually works for those strains. But there is more to the story.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 100 different strains or types of HPV, 30 of which can be transmitted through sexual contact and 10 of those can cause cervical cancer. A person can be infected with multiple strains. An 11-year-old girl who receives the Gardasil vaccine could, at some point, become infected with other strains, and develop cancer anyway, so what is the point? In the meantime, the unknown long-term effects of the vaccine could do her great harm.

Governors and legislators who are truly concerned about good health should be using their influence to promote healthy lifestyles among our young people. Couples who practice sexual abstinence before marriage and remain faithful to each other need not worry about contracting any of the numerous ugly and painful sexually transmitted diseases rampant in our society today. Those who want the vaccine can have it-it is readily available. Parents have the sole right and responsibility to make decisions about their children's health care and their rights must be protected!

Parents concerned about the health and well-being of their daughters may want to visit the CDC web site dealing with HPV in men.

Please contact your state representative and senator immediately to let them know that you expect them to defeat legislation mandating the HPV vaccine as a requirement for enrollment in school.

Never forget that you were once an embryo!

Republican National
Coalition for Life

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