The Colorado Senate Appropriations Committee failed to approve Senate Bill 80, which would have prevented girls age 12 and older from attending school without proof they had been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV).
State Sen. Suzanne Williams (D-Aurora), who sponsored the bill, said it stalled in committee while the legislature was in the midst of its annual budget planning. A vote taken in the committee in late March was tied, meaning the measure could not move forward. Williams said the bill could be offered again and then move forward or die.
Opponents of the bill said they are happy it stalled.
“We’re very excited that the bill died, because we believe this was a bill that people didn’t want,” said Christopher J. Klicka, senior counsel for the Home School Legal Defense Association, a nonprofit group based in Purcellville, Virginia.
Requiring adolescent girls to receive the vaccine is an idea without enough research to back it up and could encourage sexual promiscuity, Klicka said. Under S.B. 80, girls entering sixth grade would have to show proof they have been vaccinated to attend school, unless their parents opt out of the requirement.
The vaccine prevents four strains of HPV, which if left untreated can lead to genital warts or cervical cancer. Gardasil, manufactured by Merck & Co., is the brand of the vaccine Colorado considered requiring.
In 2005, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated about half of sexually active people will catch HPV during their lives, according to a brochure about Gardasil made by Merck and distributed by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Cervical cancer will ultimately claim the lives of about four in 10 women who are diagnosed with HPV this year, Williams said.
|Activity on HPV Mandate Bills by State, as of April|
|Arizona||S.B. 1385, S.B. 1437 S.B. 1502 – Active legislation does not include school mandate.|
|Arkansas||S.B. 954 — Active legislation does not include school mandate.|
|California||A.B. 16 – Legislation withdrawn for further consideration includes school mandate.|
|Colorado||S.B. 80, H.B. 1016, H.B. 1292 – Active legislation includes school mandate S.B. 97 – Enacted, provides state funding for vaccine only.|
|Connecticut||S.B. 86, H.B. 5485, H.B. 6085, H.B. 6977 – Active legislation includes school mandate.|
|District of Columbia||B.17-0030 – Active legislation includes school mandate.|
|Florida||S.B. 86, S.B. 660/H.B. 561 — Legislation including school mandate was defeated in committee.|
|Georgia||H.B. 11, S.B. 155 – Active legislation includes school mandate.|
|Hawaii||H.B. 590, H.B. 1000, H.R. 116, H.C.R. 147 – Active legislation does not include school mandate.|
|Illinois||H.B. 115, S.B. 10, H.B. 2033, S.B. 937 – Active legislation includes school mandate. Insurance mandate passed Senate, to House.|
|Indiana||S.B. 0327 — Active legislation passed House with amendments, to Senate, does not include school mandate.|
|Iowa||S.F. 43, H.B. 87, H.F. 661, S.F. 326 S.F. 514 – Active legislation does not include school mandate.|
|Kansas||H.B. 2227 — Active legislation includes school mandate.|
|Kentucky||H.B. 327, H.B. 143 , H.B. 345 — Session ended with legislation passing House, to Senate.|
|Maine||L.D. 137 – Active legislation does not include school mandate.|
|Maryland||S.B. 54 — School mandate legislation withdrawn; H.B. 1049 /SB 774). Active legislation passed House, to Senate. Does not include school mandate.|
|Massachusetts||Docket # 604, S.B. 102 – Active legislation includes school mandate.|
|Michigan||H.B. 4164, H.B. 4104, S.B. 133, S.B. 132 – Active legislation includes school mandate.|
|Missouri||H.B. 802, S.B. 514 – Active legislation includes school mandate.|
|Minnesota||S.B. 243 /H.B. 530 – Active legislation includes school mandate.|
|Mississippi||H.B. 895 – Non-active legislation included school mandate.|
|Nevada||S.B. 409 – Active legislation does not include school mandate.|
|New Jersey||A. 3659, S. 2286/A.B. 3920, S. 2284, A. 4050 — Active legislation includes school mandates.|
|New Mexico||S.B. 407 — Active legislation does not include school mandate Passed legislature, sent to governor; H.J.M. 39 — Passed legislature, sent to governor; H.B. 965; S.B. 1174 includes school mandate. Passed legislature, governor has said he will veto.|
|New York||A.B. 2856/S.B. 1342; S.B. 4172 – Active legislation does not include school mandate.|
|North Carolina||S.B. 260 – Legislation passed Senate, to House, does not include school mandate.|
|North Dakota||H.B. 1471 – Active legislation does not include school mandate passed legislature, sent to governor.|
|Ohio||H.B. 81 — Active legislation includes school mandate.|
|Oklahoma||S.B. 487 – Active legislation includes school mandate.|
|Oregon||H.B. 3253 – Active legislation does not includes school mandate.|
|Pennsylvania||H.B. 352. H.R. 21, H.R. 42, H.B. 845 – Active legislation does not include school mandate.|
|Rhode Island||H.B. 5061 – Active legislation does not include school mandate.|
|South Carolina||H.B. 3136 – Active legislation includes school mandate.|
|South Dakota||H.B. 1061 — Enacted legislation does not include school mandate.|
|Texas||S.B. 110/H.B. 215, H.B. 146, H.B.1115/H.B. 1098/S.B. 438 would override the executive order identified below. H.B. 1098/S.B. 438 Passed House (March) and Senate (April); to governor. H.B. 1215 – prohibits vaccine school mandate S.B. 815. H.B. 1379 does not require school mandate passed House; to Senate. Executive Order 4 signed by Governor Rick Perry February 2, 2007 – Enacted.|
|Utah||H.B. 358 — Enacted legislation does not include school mandate.|
|Vermont||H.B. 256 , S.B. 139 – Active legislation includes school mandate.|
|Virginia||S.B. 1230/H.B. 2035, H.B. 1914, H.B. 2035 – Session ended; legislation included school mandate passed legislature; sent to governor who proposed amendment; returned to House.|
|Washington||H.B. 1802 — Active legislation not including school mandate passed House; to Senate.|
|West Virginia||H.B. 2835 — Session ended; non-active legislation included school mandate.|
“In 2007, 160 Colorado women will get this diagnosis,” Williams said. “Fifty will die from it.”
But Klicka pointed out that the drug’s effectiveness has yet to be proven. Earlier this year, after a firestorm of controversy erupted when Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), mandated its use, Merck stopped lobbying state legislatures to require girls to get the vaccine, Klicka noted.
“Merck realized that more research showed the [benefits from the] vaccine actually [weren’t] guaranteed to last more than five years,” Klicka said.
Some parents felt S.B. 80 would have intruded on their parenting methods.
“We have a problem with it because we felt that it impacts parents’ rights,” Klicka said. “We think parents should have a choice to decide whether their children should have a vaccine or not.”
The bill also might encourage girls to have sex, since HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, Klicka added.
“When a girl who is 13 gets vaccinated, she’s going to feel invincible, and I think it only encourages promiscuity, when we think that’s wrong,” Klicka said.
Even though S.B. 80 failed to get Senate approval, the topic of cervical cancer remains alive in the state. House Bill 1301, introduced by state Reps. Bernie Buescher (D-Grand Junction) and Dianne Primavera (D-Broomfield), calls for creating a cervical cancer immunization program and public awareness campaign.
The bill also encourages federally qualified health centers to partner with local health agencies to do cervical cancer immunizations, and for cervical cancer immunizations to be covered as benefits for Medicaid recipients.
At press time, H.B. 1301 was stalled in the House Appropriations Committee as the state’s budget planning continues. If the measure ultimately is approved, $1.5 million from the state’s tobacco settlements could be used to cover vaccinations against HPV for Medicaid recipients, Williams said.
“[H.B. 1301 is] not quite as bad” as the dormant Williams bill, Klicka said. “It’s more informational. It’s one thing to educate the population. It’s another thing to require a vaccine.”
Mary Susan Littlepage ([email protected]) writes from Chicago.