The Corner

The Big G in California and Opting to Push Parents Out of the Picture

It’s not just on the presidential primary trail — and doctor’s offices — where Gardasil is a hot topic. There’s also the Sacramento halls of power.

Right now, Gov. Jerry Brown has legislation waiting for his signature that would allow twelve-year-old girls to get the vaccine without a parent’s permission (after efforts for a mandate failed in 2007).

The recently installed archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose Gomez, is urging the governor to veto the bill:

Parents have a fundamental right and duty to be responsible for their children’s physical and spiritual well-being. Children have a fundamental right to the guidance and protection of their parents.

This legislation would deny those rights.

AB 499 would allow children as young as 12 years old to decide by themselves — without their parents’ involvement — to get vaccines to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

Our children need the knowledge and wisdom of their parents in order to make complicated medical decisions. This legislation would leave our children to make these decisions without the benefit of their parents’ wisdom.

That does not seem to be prudent public policy. Without allowing parents to be involved, there is no way we can ensure that our children will not be pressured by parties that may not have their best interests in mind, and may in fact have financial or other motivations to encourage our children to seek these vaccines.

Also, the legislature has not shown any need for a new state-funded program to vaccinate California’s pre-teens against sexually transmitted diseases. At a time when our state has serious fiscal problems, such a use of taxpayer dollars seems ill advised.

Since California minor girls can already bypass their parents to get abortions in the state, parental rights are already on disgracefully precarious ground there. I realize there are folks on different sides of the mandate question here, but, I suppose, at least with a mandate there is the opt-out option. As the California legislation stands, it would simply push parents out of the decision.