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First Hearing on Tuesday for Teen HPV Vaccination Bill

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Aired 4/19/09

A controversial measure to require a new cervical cancer vaccination for teenage girls had its first hearing before the Assembly Health Committee at the state Capitol on Tuesday.   From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

The bill would require girls entering the seventh grade to be vaccinated against HPV. That's the human papillomavirus, a sexually-transmitted disease which can cause cervical cancer. Patricia Carthew is a survivor who is battling the long-term effects of the cancer treatment.

Carthew : It's too late for me and it's too late for a lot of women but it's not too late for our daughters.

Some parents are concerned the measure would encourage teen sex. And parent Richard Ackerman says the vaccine is too new for a mandate.

Ackerman : And we have a right to protect our daughter from being a guinea pig of the state.

The bill's author, Democratic Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, says he'll clarify language allowing parents to opt out.  The committee could vote on the measure in April. Jenny O'Mara, KPBS News.

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