Last week, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) — who made headlines when she claimed that “women don’t care about contraception” — vetoed a bill that would have allowed free HPV vaccinations for girls. The bill passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support, but Haley blocked it, despite sponsoring a bill to mandate HPV vaccinations for seventh grade girls as a state senator. After her veto, Haley said that her 2007 sponsorship was a “mistake.”
Following Haley’s opposition to the HPV vaccine bill, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said on her show that “being against cancer in the Republican Party is a scandal now”:
This week, the aversion to preventing cervical cancer — the idea that trying to prevent it is a scandal — that idea seems to be spreading…It is 2012 now, and so Governor Haley vetoed that bill. Because being against cancer in the Republic Party is a scandal now. At least being against cervical cancer is a scandal now. What, because it is a lady cancer, maybe? There is a vaccine for preventing this kind of cancer.
Watch Maddow’s comments:
The use of HPV vaccinations as a method to prevent cancer has scientific support. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “every year about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 women die from this disease in the U.S.” By stopping the transmission of the disease, the HPV vaccine is a way of preventing cervical cancer.
Haley is not the only republican to backtrack from earlier support for the vaccine. In 2007, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) mandated the vaccine for young girls through an executive order. But when he was running for president, his GOP competitors blasted Perry for supporting the mandate. Perry eventually rescinded his position, and, like Haley, said that his support for the mandate was a mistake.