SACRAMENTO, September 23, 2011 ( – Outraged parents’ rights groups and religious leaders are demanding that Gov. Jerry Brown veto a bill allowing children ages 12 and older to be vaccinated with the dangerous sexually transmitted disease vaccine Gardasil without parental knowledge or consent.

Bill AB 499, also known as the Gardasil Bill, was sent to the governor’s desk on September 7, after being approved by California state senators on August 31 by a vote of 22 to 17.

In 2007 Gov. Brown vetoed a similar bill that attempted to mandate HPV vaccinations for all girls entering junior high school.

William May, chairman of the California-based lay apostolate, Catholics for the Common Good, said that after the failure of the 2007 bill because of parental backlash, the legislature is now “trying to make an ‘end run’ with a bill permitting providers to by-pass parents and give children as young as 12 years old the power to consent to vaccinations of Gardasil without their parents’ knowledge.”

“We don’t need laws to permit interest groups to go directly to children because their parents have said ‘no’,” May said in a press release. “Governor Brown should apply the same parental rights principles to AB 499 that he used when he recently vetoed the mandatory ski helmet bill and send AB 499 back to the legislature with his veto.”

In his veto of the ski helmet bill, SB 105, Gov. Brown said, “I am concerned about the continuing and seeming inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state. I believe parents have the ability and responsibility to make good choices for their children.”

In a letter to Gov. Brown dated September 13, May said AB 499 opponents were “heartened” by his concern about parents’ rights. He said that the bill “takes away the rights of parents to make consequential healthcare decisions for their children.”

May stated that the bill offers no protection to children from coercion by “adults with ulterior motives or profit incentives.”

“Children are not equipped to stand up to the authority of adults, to do research, to ask questions, and to understand statistics about health risks that would enable them to make informed decisions,” he said.

The California Catholic Conference (CCC) has voiced similar concerns.

On September 6, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles issued a statement opposing AB 499. “Without allowing parents to be involved, there is no way we can ensure that our children will not be pressured by parties that may not have their best interests in mind, and may in fact have financial or other motivations to encourage our children to seek these vaccines,” he said.

The archbishop added that the legislation denies parents their fundamental right to be responsible for their children’s physical and spiritual well-being.

“Our children need the knowledge and wisdom of their parents in order to make complicated medical decisions. This legislation would leave our children to make these decisions without the benefit of their parents’ wisdom,” he said.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins blasted the bill as “a shot at parents’ rights.”

“This debate isn’t about whether we want to protect our children from disease, but whether we want the government making decisions for our kids,” said Perkins.

Critics of the law have also pointed out there are serious questions about the safety of Gardasil.

As of January 15, 2011 the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) had received a total of 21,171 reports of adverse events and 91 deaths following Gardasil vaccination.

An online pamphlet titled “Gardasil: What Every Parent Should Know about the New HPV Vaccine” is available from the Family Research Council website here.

Contact information:

Governor Jerry Brown
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160
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