MI: Vaccinating Against Cancer

A bipartisan group of Michigan legislators have made a bold move to fight cancer by announcing new legislation to require a cervical cancer vaccination in students entering the 6th grade. 70% of cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection that can now be prevented through vaccination, although the vaccine is ideally administered at a young age.

The vaccine has drawn rightwing ire in the past, when far-right special interests attacked the vaccine for promoting sexual indiscretion. Republican Senator Bev Hammerstrom rejects that line of thinking:

"We're immunizing girls to protect them from cervical cancer," she said. "The discussion that parents have with their kids doesn't even have to go into the whole issue of how you get it. It's a drug against cancer."

Michigan law also allows parents to exempt their children from required vaccines for religious or philosophical reasons.

The simple fact is that we have a solution in our reach to stop 70% of cervical cancer cases. The politicization of medicine is the wrong course. Kudos to these Michigan legislators for rejecting that approach.

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