CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A bill that would provided parents of middle school students information on a cancer-causing virus and even free vaccines has been vetoed.
Gov. Nikki Haley vetoed the bill, saying she doesn't want the government putting out information on a vaccine parents should discuss with their family doctors.
The bill would allow informational brochures on the vaccine for human papillomavirus, known as HPV, to be provided to parents of sixth-graders. Parents could choose to have their seventh-graders receive the vaccine. The bill specifies that the brochures and free vaccines depend on funding.
Regardless of the fight over the bill, doctors say HPV is a threat and something with which everyone should become better informed.
"Getting the vaccine is a great idea," said Dr. Edmund Rhett of Rhett Women's Center. "Should it be mandatory, I don't have the answer to that. Would I recommend it to every patient that walks in, yes."
Dr. Rhett says HPV vaccinations impact cervical cancer cases in a big way. He says the number of cervical cancer cases is down 70 percent. Similarly, he says about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases begin with HPV.
"Still in this country, 12,000 women a year end up with cervical cancer and 4,000 of those women will die of cervical cancer every year. Once it gets there, it is a very hard to treat disease," Dr. Rhett said.
In addition to cervical cancer, HPV can cause a whole host of issues, including but not limited to venereal warts. Rhett said there are hundreds of versions of the virus -- the vaccine protects from exposure to the main strains.
"We find a new one every other week or so," Dr. Rhett said.
Rep. Bakari Sellers supports the bill says Haley's using political jargon to put politics ahead of women's health.
* The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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