HPV Vaccinations: Choice or Mandate?

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Leading Jewish women’s organizations have joined another “choice” debate. This time, it’s not about reproductive choice, but about whether to require the vaccine for human papillomavirus -- or HPV -- for girls and young women between the ages of 9 and 21. Just two weeks ago, Texas became the first state to require this vaccination that protects against the most common sexually transmitted infection known to cause genital warts and cervical cancer.

Hadassah, with some Christian-Right bed-fellows, has been quick to criticize the state mandate, characterizing required vaccination as an infringement upon individual choice. It seems to me that Hadassah might be viewing "choice" from a somewhat classist perspective. Required vaccines allow the uninsured and poorest women in Texas to receive preventative treatment that would otherwise be unaffordable for them. On the other hand, Jewish Women International and the National Council of Jewish Women have voiced their support for required HPV vaccinations which they consider to be a responsible health and fiscal policy.

How do you feel about mandatory HPV vaccinations for girls and young women? What do you think about the stands taken by Hadassah, Jewish Women International, and the National Council of Jewish Women?

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