On Tuesday, Gov. Nikki Haley vetoed a bill that would have given all seventh-graders in the state a free vaccine of the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV, which has been linked to cervical cancer.
According to the bill, parents would have been given the ability to opt-out of the injection. The HPV virus is contracted primarily through sexual contact and critics of the vaccine have said that injecting middle-school aged girls with the virus would sexualize them at too young an age.
During the 2012 GOP Presidential Michele Bachmann inaccurately linked the vaccine to mental retardation.
But in a statement quoted in the Charleston Post and Courier (subscription required), Haley did not bring up any health concerns. The bill is a “precursor to another taxpayer-funded health care mandate,” she said.
The bill, sponsored by Bamberg Democrat Bakari Sellers, received bi-partisan support, passing 40-2 in the Senate during debate and 63-40 in the House.
While in the legislature in 2007, Haley co-sponsored a bill that would have mandated the vaccine.
In a statement to the media after the veto, Sellers said:
“With this veto, Nikki Haley has confirmed everyone’s suspicions that she puts her own selfish political ambitions ahead of the people of South Carolina. This bill had bi-partisan support and gives optional education and preventative vaccines to adolescents in an effort to thwart cervical cancer. This is a common sense approach to a very serious problem. To call this measure unnecessary is demeaning and insulting to the heroic women who fight this cancer everyday. I am deeply disappointed that politics once again has prevailed over women's health.”
The issue may not be dead, however, as the House and Senate have shown a willingness to override Haley's vetoes, as they did last year when she attempted to defund ETV.