CA law lets tweens make HPV vaccination decisions

Earlier this week Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed a new law that allows kids 12 and older to receive an HPV vaccine without the consent of their parents. The bill also allows minors to receive STD prevention treatments. Not surprisingly, the law immediately sparked debate between public health advocates and those who feel tweens shouldn't be in the position to make decisions about which vaccines they receive.

Health officials say the law will allow more kids to get the shot and stem the spread of HPV--and the diseases like cancer that it can cause--in the long run. They also point out that youth sometimes feel as though they can't talk to their parents or guardians about sexual health decisions, and that removing parental consent will allow those who feel they need the vaccine to get the necessary protection.

But critics maintain that it's not the government's place to take medical decisions out of parents' hands. Some are also concerned that young girls will think the HPV shot protects them from other sexually transmitted diseases or from pregnancy.

The law goes into effect January 1, 2012.

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