U.S. Senate candidate Jamie Radtke called Virginia’s mandate for girls to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus, or HPV, “offensive” in a phone interview Thursday and said the requirement takes away parental rights.
Radtke, a Republican and a former leader of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots, in 2007 fought against the legislation that made the vaccination mandatory.
She said she was “frustrated and disappointed” at Republicans who supported the measure.
“That’s just an area where it’s very convenient for pharmaceutical companies to get something mandatory – that sure makes the demand of their drug much higher than it would be,” said Radtke, who is speaking tonight in Annandale and Arlington.
“I absolutely do not think the state government should be doing my parenting for me. And an HPV vaccination, it deals with the private lives of your children and their sexual activity and all these other things. And that’s a parental role.”
The national spotlight has been on HPV, which medical authorities call the most common cause for cervical cancer, since Monday’s Republican presidential debate, where Rep. Michele Bachmann criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry for signing a 2007 executive order to make the vaccination mandatory in his state. Bachmann later cited an unnamed woman who said her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result of being vaccinated.
Nationally, doctors fear more parents will opt their children out of the vaccination in the wake of Bachmann’s comments – easily done in Texas, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Republicans have pushed efforts to repeal the mandate in Virginia’s House of Delegates but have not been successful in the state Senate – which the GOP is targeting for takeover in November.
When asked about Bachmann’s comment on the vaccination causing retardation, Radtke said she “hadn’t heard that” but said the biggest concern during the fight against the 2007 legislation was that there were “too many unknowns.”
“Any time you’re going to have a forced injection you want to make sure you understand any side effects,” she said. “There’s just a lot of things around it that are offensive.”
Radtke will speak tonight to the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights group, in Annandale, and then head over to the Arlington Republican Women’s annual fundraiser.
At the former, Radtke said she will talk about fighting against attempts to limit gun rights at the federal level; at the latter, she will talk about jobs and the economy, with particular emphasis on the Fair Tax.
Radtke said she plans to spend "a tremendous amount of time" in Northern Virginia in the next six months building her name recognition here.