October 10, 2011
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct 10, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) –– Edward E. “Ned” Dolejsi, Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference–the public policy office of the Catholic Bishops of California–issued the following statement in response to the governor’s approval of AB 499, allowing minors to receive the controversial HPV vaccine Gardasil at state expense and without parent or guardian approval.
“We are puzzled and disappointed by Gov. Brown’s signature on AB 499, a bill opposed by the California Catholic Conference and literally thousands of people and community groups who support parental involvement and decry the continuing efforts of government officials and others to interfere with a parent’s right to raise their children.
“We are disappointed because AB 499 will undermine parental authority by allowing children as young as 12 to make important medical decisions in secret, denying parents a valuable opportunity to discuss sexual health and values with their pre-teen children. We are also concerned because in these fiscally troubled times, the State of California–not parents and families–will become fiscally liable for the cost of expensive treatments such as Gardasil, as well as any costs associated with reactions and complications a child might suffer.
“We are puzzled because on the same day he signed AB 499, the governor also signed SB 746, a ‘first-in-the-nation’ law to prevent children under 18 years of age from using tanning beds, and, just a month earlier, he vetoed SB 105, a bill to mandate ski helmets on underage youth, citing his concern with the ‘seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state,’ saying ‘I believe parents have the ability and responsibility to make good choices for their children.’
“We recognize that it is a challenge to create good public policy, but we believe that if long-standing and generally accepted principles are upheld, the common good is served. In this case, it appears that by signing AB 499, the Governor abandoned the principle of parental responsibility he so eloquently stated earlier. We find his action both regrettable and inexplicable.”
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