January 30, 2012 — The Virginia House of Delegates on Thursday approved legislation (HB 1112) repealing a 2007 state law requiring that girls receive the human papillomavirus vaccine before entering sixth grade, the Washington Post's "Virginia Politics" reports. The state was the first in the nation to mandate the vaccine after a federal advisory panel recommended it for 11- and 12-year-olds in 2006.
Supporters of the bill -- including Del. Kathy Byron (R), who introduced the measure -- say that parents rather than the government should decide whether girls receive the vaccination. The House rejected an amendment by Del. Chris Stolle (R) that would have provided information to parents about the vaccine. Stolle, a gynecologist, said that even if the mandate is repealed, the Virginia health commissioner should still be required to send information to parents.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where similar legislation died last year, when Democrats controlled the chamber. Supporters of the bill hope it will pass now that Republicans are in the majority (Kumar, "Virginia Politics," Washington Post, 1/26).
Va. Senate Panel Advances Ultrasound Bill
In related news, the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee on Thursday voted 8-7 along party lines to advance a bill that would require women seeking abortion services to view an ultrasound image of the fetus, the AP/WTOP reports.
The House has passed similar legislation in recent years, but the measures failed to clear the Senate Education and Health panel for a floor vote (Lewis, AP/WTOP, 1/26).