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New Mexico governor vetoes cervical cancer vaccine bill

[JURIST] New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) [official website] on Tuesday unexpectedly vetoed a bill [legislative materials] that would have required girls to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. AP reported that Richardson, who last month announced his intention to sign the bill [PJEPHL report], said the legislation's June 15 enactment date would not have given parents, school officials and health care providers enough time to learn about the vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) [JURIST news archive; US CDC fact sheet]. The bill would have allowed parents or guardians to opt out of the mandate after reviewing information about the vaccine.

The governor did, however, sign a bill requiring that insurers pay for the HPV vaccine [legislative materials], whose cost approaches $400. Similar measures are pending in other states [PJEPHL report]. AP and the Santa Fe New Mexican have more.

Richardson is the second governor in the past week to change position on a bill requiring HPV vaccination. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) [official website], who pledged to sign such a bill, last Tuesday proposed amending the legislation [JURIST reports] to allow parents to opt out more easily.

This report was prepared in partnership with the Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law.

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