CBS Chicago, June 29, 2012 by Bill Buck
The Governor of South Carolina is unconcerned with women in South Carolina dying from preventable cancer. This week she took steps to promote cervical cancer in South Carolina.
Nikki Haley, the Governor of South Carolina, vetoed a bill that that would help prevent the spread of the virus that can cause cervical cancer. The South Carolina legislature was unable to overturn her veto.
The measure gave optional health education and vaccines to 7th grade girls in South Carolina.
The vaccine in question prevents the spread of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The science behind the vaccine for HPV is sound. The vaccine stops the transmission of the disease that causes cervical cancer.
In 2007, as a state legislator, Nikki Haley did not just support access to the HPV vaccine; she sponsored legislation increasing access to it.
Because of her veto, South Carolina women will likely die from a preventable death. This in a state that has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in the country.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12,000 women are diagnosed with and 4,000 women die from cervical cancer every year in the United States. Governor Haley isn’t the only Republican to retreat from supporting this lifesaver. During the Republican Presidential debates, Texas Governor Rick Perry was blasted for mandating the vaccine for young girls in Texas by Executive Order.
Perry ultimately called his support for the mandate a mistake after defending his actions and saying he would “error on the side of saving lives.”
So much for women’s lives.
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, in a moment of shocking dishonesty, told a national television audience that the HPV vaccine causes “mental retardation”.
It is unclear why Republicans are playing politics with women’s cancer and why any politician with national ambitions will happily step over the bodies of future cancer victims to bolster their career.
Republican candidates won’t come out and say it but the Family Research Council has said that the vaccine “could be potentially harmful” to women “because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex.”
It turns out that social conservative leaders are more frightening than cancer to Republican politicians.
Both the American Cancer Society to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend routine vaccinations for girls, particularly those age 9 to 11. The controversy over the HPV vaccine is going to increase as it is now recommended that boys be vaccinated for HPV so that they do not transfer the virus.
Millions of men and women bravely fight cancer in America – any one of whom would have preferred a vaccine.
Unfortunately, Republican policy will add to their numbers with cancers that could have been prevented.