South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has vetoed a Democratic-sponsored bill aimed at providing seventh-graders with a free HPV vaccine.
Lexington (S.C.) Patch reports that the measure picked up support across both sides of the partisan aisle, with a 63-40 House vote and 40-2 Senate vote in favor of passing the initiative.
Haley defended her Tuesday veto, calling the bill unnecessary and a "precursor to another taxpayer-funded healthcare mandate," the Charleston Post and Courier reports.
State Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg, S.C.) sponsored the bill and blasted Haley's move, calling her decision one that "puts her own selfish political ambitions ahead of the people of South Carolina."
"This bill had bipartisan support and gives optional education and preventative vaccines to adolescents in an effort to thwart cervical cancer," said Sellers in a statement. "This is a common sense approach to a very serious problem. To call this measure unnecessary is demeaning and insulting to the heroic women who fight this cancer everyday. I am deeply disappointed that politics once again has prevailed over women's health.”
The governor's veto comes with its share controversy. The Anderson (S.C.) Independent Mail rewinds to Haley's 2007 tenure as a state representative, when she co-sponsored a bill authorizing mandatory HPV vaccination for seventh-grade girls. Haley eventually killed that bill on the grounds that it did not include an opt-out for parents, but Sellers' 2012 version would have given parents the ability to do so, Lexington (S.C.) Patch notes.
“It was a mistake then, I’ve said it’s a mistake now,” Haley said on Tuesday, according to the South Carolina Radio Network. “Now that I have a 14-year-old daughter, it is something that is very close to my heart in terms of what I’m going to do as a parent and what I want for my child.”