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Hastings Women’s Law Journal

Authors

Pauline Self

Abstract

This Note discusses the recent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, whether the vaccine should be mandated for minors and the vaccine's legal, and medical implications. Presently, there exists a unique opportunity to significantly reduce the rate of HPV-associated cervical cancer through anti-viral vaccination strategies using the HPV vaccine. Despite the apparent public health benefits of the HPV vaccine, the desire of some lawmakers to mandate the vaccine for schoolgirls has placed it at the center of political, medical, and moral jousting throughout the country. The multiple state and federal proposals as well as a state bill signed into law making the HPV vaccination a school requirement, have caused great furor and debate between health care advocates who prefer aggressive use of the injections for minors and social conservatives and parents who feel that readily available vaccines will encourage sexual activity. This article examines various factors regarding this topic, including the HPV disease and its nation-wide impact, United States history regarding mandatory vaccination laws, the current exemptions for mandatory vaccinations, arguments for and against mandating the HPV vaccination for female minors, and an effective approach to the mandatory vaccination issue.

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