Lead sponsor Sen. Beverly Hammerstrom said the legislation is the first of its kind in the United States, and said the group believes the law could save girls' lives. American Cancer Society numbers estimate that 9,700 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2006 in the United States alone, and 3,700 women will die from the condition.
The new three-shot vaccine has been lauded as a breakthrough in cancer prevention for its ability to prevent infections from some strains of the human papilloma virus, which can cause cervical cancer and genital warts. Since the human papilloma virus is sexually transmitted, a government advisory board proposed that the vaccine be administered before girls become sexually active.
Hammerstrom said Michigan employers would cover the $360 cost of each shot, except for uninsured girls, whose vaccines would be paid for by the federal government's Vaccines for Children plan.
Conservative opponents say they fear the vaccine may be made a requirement for enrollment in schools, that it oversteps parent rights, and could be misconstrued as an endorsement for underage sex.
Health freedom opponents say the legislation is an affront to parent and patient rights. Critics such as health advocate Mike Adams point to the harmful ingredients found in vaccinations, plus the flawed theory that viruses alone are responsible for cervical cancer. "Cervical cancer is not caused solely by the presence of Human Papilloma Virus," Adams explained. "Rather, it occurs when an opportunistic virus meets an unhealthy host with inadequate defenses. There are countless young, healthy women who have been exposed to the virus but do not have cervical cancer. A healthy body naturally resists infection and subsequent cancer."
The proposed law fails to consider studies finding that vaccines can be harmful to health, as many of them use formaldehyde and thimerosol, a form of mercury, as preservatives. "The idea that the State of Michigan would impose a mandatory injection of mercury into the bodies of teenage girls is bewildering," Adams said, "and it demonstrates just how profit-driven public health policy has become. The primary beneficiaries of this policy would of course be the drug companies who sell the vaccinations and who are strongly supporting this legislation."