Governor Supports Peace Policy to Involve Parents The human papillomavirus (HPV) has been in the forefront of discussions being raised over the past few months at the General Assembly. Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Mechanicsville), who serves on the Health, Welfare and Institutions, lead the initial legislative effort to involve parents in this significant health decision that will affect many Virginians, especially middle school aged female children. Peace amended House Bill 2035 (Hamilton) to include an opt-out provision protecting a parentâ€™s ability to direct the health care of their own children.
During the regular session, Peace offered a floor amendment which was agreed to that allows parents or guardians, after having reviewed materials describing the link between HPV and cervical cancer, to elect, in writing, for their daughter not to receive this vaccine. â€œThe amendment preserves parental choice in the health decisions of their children,â€ stated Peace.
Without the opt-out amendment, the measure introduced this session is HB 2035 would have mandated females to receive three doses of properly spaced human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine beginning on or after the child's eleventh birthday. Since HPV cannot innocently be â€œcaughtâ€ in a classroom unlike measles or mumps. Before children enter school, it makes good public health sense that they be vaccinated against such diseases - diseases that can spread easily in school and cause epidemics; HPV doesn't fall into this category.
Upon review of the bill by the Governor, Kaine agreed with the spirit of the Peace amendment and decided to strengthen it further. The new amendment allows parents sole discretion over whether their child receives the vaccine. The Governorâ€™s amendment does not require that parents opt-out of receipt of the vaccine in writing. The amendment was agreed to by a vote of 83-17 in the House and 39-0 in the Senate.
â€œThe amendment preserves parental choice in the health decisions of their children,â€ stated Peace. â€œLegislators have addressed the public health needs of children across the Commonwealth while maintaining and encouraging parental involvement in the decision making process.â€