SACRAMENTO, July 5, 2011 ( – A proposed law in California that would allow minors to obtain vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases without parental consent is being strenuously opposed by the state’s Catholic bishops.

California law currently permits children age 12 and older to consent for themselves to diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. The proposed law, AB 499, would extend that right to include preventative care, such as immunizations.

The bill has been approved by the State Assembly and was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 14th.

If passed, the bill would give minors access to controversial vaccines intended to prevent Human Papillomavirus (HPV), an STD which can cause cervical cancer in women.

“This bill appears to be an ‘end run’ following the failure in 2007 to mandate HPV vaccination for all girls entering public junior high school — a measure strongly opposed by parents’ rights groups and vetoed by the Governor,” said an action alert from the state’s bishops.

Gardasil, approved by the CDC for use on females age 9 – 26 in 2006 and on males age 9 – 26 in 2009, and Cervarix, approved for females age 10 – 25 in 2009, are the two HPV vaccines currently on the market. Gardasil can be given to males as protection against genital warts.

The CDC maintains their safety and effectiveness, and recommends full immunization against HPV, which requires three doses of the vaccine.

The bishop’s action alert, however, noted that 21,171 adverse reactions and 91 deaths associated with Gardasil had been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System as of January 15, 2011.

According to the CDC website, there have been 39 reports of adverse events associated with Cervarix as of June 2011. The drug’s safety has also been called into question in England, where 12-year-old Ashleigh Cave collapsed shortly after receiving the vaccine at school and was left paralyzed from the waist down.

The bishop’s action alert questions whether minors should be considered to have mature enough judgment to make their own decision about drugs of such questionable history.

“Most parents are involved in the lives of their minor children and need to know if they are seeking medical care — regardless of whether the care is curative or preventative,” said the statement.

According to a National Catholic Register report, William May, chairman of the California-based lay apostolate, Catholics for the Common Good, pointed out in his testimony against the bill at a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, that without parental involvement, adverse reactions to the vaccine may go unnoticed and untreated.

“Children can be easily intimidated or influenced by the authority of adults,” said May “There is money to be made by administering these vaccines and other drugs by the drug companies and service providers, like Planned Parenthood. What protects children from coercion driven by the profit motive?”

To contact the California legislature click here.