Monday, October 10, 2011

New California law lets 12-year-olds consent to "preventive care for STDs" aka Gardasil/ LA Times

From the LA Times:
California Gov. Jerry Brown stepped into the middle of a debate over parental rights Sunday by signing legislation  giving children 12 or older the power to consent to medical care involving the prevention of sexually transmitted disease.

Asssemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) sponsored AB 499 with the aim of providing young people with timely preventative treatment, including the human papillomavirus [HPV] vaccine that proponents say can reduce the risk of certain cancers, precancerous cervical cell changes and genital warts.

The measure was backed by groups including the California STD Controllers Assn., the Health Officers Assn. of California, ACT for Women and Girls and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The bill was opposed by the California Catholic Conference, which opposed previous measures that allow minors to consent to certain treatments without the involvement of parents.

That group wrote to legislators that "this bill is dangerous because it expands a faulty law which assumes that children know better than their parents and because it will allow minors access to HPV vaccines which may cause them permanent harm."
And who will be able to link the Gardasil shot to any adverse side effects, when the shots are "secret":  obtained in the absence of parental consent, so the pre-teens and teens would not have to disclose sexual activity to their parents?  See"Gardasil Side Effects Tough to Monitor" in US News. 

Who pays for treatment of the side effects?  Since sexually transmitted diseases should not be getting transmitted at schools,  why has the state of California chosen to bypass parental consent?  What is its interest in this matter?

A national organization of female state legislators has been blessed by Merck largesse since at least 2004.  The organization, Women in Government, wants to wipe out cervical cancer, using Gardasil as its primary weapon, while becoming a well-funded organization in the process.  Here is how Women in Government wrap themselves in the cloak of science.  Here you can see how they pay lip service to other cancers, but cervical cancer and Gardasil vaccine are the major issues of concern to this group.  Here you can see how Women in Government have mapped out a plan to increase (and government fund) Gardasil vaccinations state by state--except some of the links have been removed.

When candidate/Governor Rick Perry of Texas mandated Gardasil vaccine in 2007 for all girls entering sixth grade, the Associated Press/MSNBC ran an excellent piece pointing out how Merck had funded this initiative through funding Women in Government and using well-placed lobbyists.  Here's an excerpt:
Laws could mean billions in sales
The New Jersey-based drug company [Merck] could generate billions in sales if Gardasil — at $360 for the three-shot regimen — were made mandatory across the country. Most insurance companies now cover the vaccine, which has been shown to have no serious side effects. [This claim is questionable--Nass]
Cathie Adams, president of the conservative watchdog group Texas Eagle Forum, said the relationship between Merck and Women in Government is too cozy.
“What it does is benefit the pharmaceutical companies, and I don’t want pharmaceutical companies taking precedence over the authorities of parents,” she said.
Adams said Merck’s method of lobbying quietly through groups like Women in Government in addition to meeting directly with legislators are common in state government but still should raise eyebrows. “It’s corrupt as far as I’m concerned,” she said...
But Merck has doubled its spending on lobbyists in Texas this year, to between $150,000 and $250,000, as lawmakers consider the vaccine bill for girls entering the sixth grade.
The drugmaker has hired one of the state’s most powerful lobbyists, Mike Toomey, who once served as Republican Gov. Rick Perry’s chief of staff and can influence conservatives who see him as one of their own...
Drug-industry analyst Steve Brozak of W.B.B. Securities has projected Gardasil sales of at least $1 billion per year — and billions more if states start requiring the vaccine. “I could not think of a bigger boost,” he said.

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