The South Dakota Senate voted yesterday 33-2 in favor of funding human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines for all girls age 11-18 who want it. The House passed a slightly different form of the bill last week 61-9; now off to conference committee and quite likely the governor's desk. The bill is blessedly straightforward: no intrusion in the doctor-patient relationship, no requirements for certain official statements to be read about promiscuity or abstinence, not even any income guidelines, just a straight-up commitment from the state to protect public health. The bill also does not mandate the vaccine; it leaves the choice to parents. Imagine that: the Legislature respects both the wisdom of medical professionals and the freedom of choice of parents and their daughters.
Of course, Roger Hunt voted against this measure. Surely he expects that with the passage of this bill, all those teenagers who've been terrified of getting cancer from fooling around will all race to the nearest backseats and get busy fornicating. Fortunately, the vast majority of our lawmakers -- even Hunt's puritan pal Rep. Howie -- recognize the absurdity of the argument that the fear of cancer has been keeping kids abstinent. Now if we could just get the legislature to find funding to provide more health care to all of its citizens. Hey, Governor Rounds! How about funding the maternity costs for every South Dakota woman?
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