Political battle brews over cancer vaccine

A vaccine that prevents any form of cancer has long been the holy grail of medical research. So, when one is found, of course many people will want to rush it into widespread use. But in the case of the new vaccine for human papillomavirus, some people are getting ahead of themselves, and want the law to drag everyone else with them. ...

Spending $360 for the three-injection treatment before a woman becomes sexually active can save lives and money. But making the vaccinations mandatory for minor children would be, well, an overdose. It would transform what should be a compassionate effort to educate and empower into an unnecessarily in-your-face political battle. ...

Mandating this vaccination for minors will be seen as an unwarranted interference with parental responsibilities, and as rewarding the unseemly advertising and lobbying campaign by vaccine maker Merck & Co.

A better approach is seen in places from California to Italy where, officials have decided, the vaccine won't be mandatory, but it will be free.

When the moral issues are this intense and the medicine involved is this new, families should be guided by information and judgment, not the force of law.

The above editorial excerpt is from The Buffalo (N.Y.) News.