Mandatory HPV vaccinations are once again at the top of the legislative agenda. California is the latest state to introduce a bill requiring girls entering sixth grade to receive the three standard doses of the HPV vaccine.

HPV stands for the human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted organism that is the cause of genital warts and 70% of all cervical cancers. On the surface, this may seem like a good idea to protect the lives of young women of our society. However, forcing people to vaccinate themselves against a disease that results from lifestyle choices is simply preposterous. This is no morality trip – I don’t think this mandate, in any way, is going to encourage young women to engage in sexual behavior as some suggest. But, I do think that when it comes to our health, the choice should be ours alone.

Now, this is very different from the scenario of being at risk of developing illness by being in the same room as someone who, say, has measles, or tuberculosis or even the flu. You cannot catch HPV without sexual contact, so the public health is not threatened in any way. Using the argument that mandatory vaccination will save lives is using the ends to justify the means. It would be like vaccinating people against drugs and alchohol – a la A Clockwork Orange – to prevent drunk driving deaths.

Sound like an exaggeration to you? It’s not. Consider this: I have a beautiful, healthy and happy 14-month-old daughter, Delilah, who is the apple of my eye. I don’t know anything about this vaccine other than the government (i.e. the FDA) says it’s safe. Do you know how many substances the FDA has deemed safe that we found out later were not? Here are a few:

So why would I want to give a vaccine to my daughter that hasn’t been comprehensively tested? I’m never the first to try out the new version of Internet Explorer, either. Quite frankly, I’d rather take my risk with my daughter contracting HPV, then inject her with something I know very little about. That’s just my opinion. If you want to vaccinate your daughter, go ahead. Nobody wants to stop you. If I, or she, decide down the road that we should do it, then we will – just don’t force it down our throats.

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