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HPV Vaccine Bill Passes SC House




|| By FITSNEWS ||  S.C. Rep. Beth Bernstein‘s bill requiring the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) to provide information about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to parents of sixth grade girls cleared the S.C. House this week.

“The fact that our state has one of the highest cervical cancer mortality rates in the nation is unacceptable,” Bernstein said.  “By providing parents with information about this very important and safe vaccine, we can help prevent thousands of cancer cases in South Carolina each year.”

By an 83-27 vote, the measure cleared the “Republican-controlled” chamber.  It also has the support of S.C. governor Nikki Haley – who has a tortured history on this issue.

As a state lawmaker, Haley co-sponsored legislation in 2007 requiring every eleven-year-old girl in the Palmetto state to receive a vaccination against HPV.  In fact Haley refused to take her name off of this controversial bill even after nearly two dozen of her colleagues (Republicans and Democrats) pulled their support in light of its failure to include “opt out” language.

On the campaign trail in 2010, Haley flat out lied about her position.

“Through the legislative process, it became clear to me that an opt-out provision was not going to be included in the bill and it sought to mandate that middle-school girls obtain a vaccine – and strip parents of the right to make the choice for their daughter(s),” Haley wrote on her campaign website in 2010. “In light of that turn of events, I voted to kill the bill.”

That statement was totally false, though.  Haley voted at least once on the record to kill an amendment that would have added a parental “opt-out” provision to the bill.  Then there was another “off the record” vote offering up similar “opt-out” language she voted to kill as well.

As governor, Haley flip-flopped completely and vetoed legislation that would have provided free HPV vaccinations – with a parental “opt out” clause.

Now she’s apparently flipping back …

Bernstein said her office worked to negotiate  “a compromise with the Governor that allowed her to support a bill that she has vetoed in the past.”

“Politics killed this bill in the past, but I was determined to not let that happen again,” she said.

Even if it meant Kabuki-dancing with the governor, apparently.

Similar legislation was championed in previous years by former S.C. Rep. Bakari Sellers.  In fact his legislation was the focus of this expansive piece by former FITS columnist Amy Lazenby.

Pic: Travis Bell Photography