HPV Debate Heard In Austin & East Texas - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/19/07 - Nacogdoches

HPV Debate Heard In Austin & East Texas

bY Donna McCollum

Dorothy Kelly cherishes every day spent with her ten year old granddaughter. When the child was born, Kelly's first prayer was to please protect this child against cancer. Kelly is a cancer survivor and cancer education advocate. She's knows women, who for years, have battled all kinds of cancer, including cervical cancer. Kelly refers to a friend's experience.    " If she could have prevented, the what, five years of suffering that she went through with a shot...." Kelly's statement trails off with an expression of, 'Of course, why not?'

The shot is against human papillomavirus, or HPV. Obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Kim Schaus says, " 70-75% of the adult sexually active population has been exposed to or carries the virus." The vaccine protects women from the four most common HPV strains, the kind that kills 3700 American women annually.

Lifesaving or not, conservatives, including Vision America's Rick Scarbrough opposes the mandate. He's written articles against the governor's mandate and will be following the hearings. Scarbrough asks,  " I have to say Governor Perry, why did you you bypass the legislature? To mandate something that, in the first place, be questionable in it's effect and more important than that something that's going to cost the taxpayers millions." Conservatives also argue the mandate contradicts Texas' abstinence-only sex education policies. Scarbrough said, " That for me on a moral ground is the chief concern."

Schaus shares many physician's viewpoints.   " The purpose here is not to give anybody a free ticket to do anything. The purpose here is to protect people from developing something that could be potentially fatal."  

Kelly is confident her granddaughter will learn proper morals. She can't be so sure the child and other young women will be protected from cancer. Kelly said,  " That's the family's position to teach morals. It has to be separate from the cancer aspect."  

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