Sixth-grade girls in Michigan could be the first required to be vaccinated against cervical cancer under a proposed new law.
Leesa Tobin of Ann Arbor, who is the mother of an 11-year-old girl, says it makes perfect sense.
"This is a no-brainer, as far as I'm concerned," she said. "With a very simple decision, I can make it possible for my daughter to never have to experience a fear of this disease."
The legislation, the first of its kind, was sponsored by Republican state Sen. Beverly Hammerstrom, who says all 12 of her female Senate colleagues -- Republicans and Democrats -- immediately signed on.
"It's the fact that we can prevent cancer. We can prevent cervical cancer in our daughters and granddaughters," Hammerstrom said.
Democrat Martha Scott agreed, saying, "This will give all our young girls, just a great chance."
The proposed law would require girls headed for sixth grade next year to be immunized against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes most cervical cancers and can also cause genital warts.
Cervical cancer is second only to breast cancer in the number of diagnoses made every year.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 9,700 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year, and that more than a third of those cases will be fatal.
The vaccine, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June, was shown to be 100 percent effective against HPV.
Doctors say it works best if administered before girls are sexually active.
A Parents' Decision or a State's Responsibility
That concerns some conservative groups who worry the vaccine could encourage promiscuity.
Others say parents, not the state, should be responsible for making these delicate decisions.
"We're not talking about polio here. We're not talking about something students in the sixth grade are going to get at the water fountain or catch in the classroom," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.
"We're talking about a disease that is transmitted sexually."
If the Michigan law passes, parents will be able to opt out of the vaccinations for religious or medical reasons.
Marci Raver, a mother of two young girls, has already made up her mind.
"This vaccine would virtually eliminate cervical cancer," she said. "If we can prevent this, why wouldn't we want to do this?"
Michigan may be the first to introduce this type of legislation, but it likely won't be the last.
Women in Government, a national group consisting of female legislators, recommended that all girls entering middle school get immunized against HPV.