Virginia HPV vaccine requirement stays on books after repeal fails

Virginia requires that girls receive the HPV vaccine before 6th grade. (Photo: Flickr/Sanofi Pasteur)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Senate has rejected legislation that would have repealed a requirement that girls receive a vaccine to prevent a virus that can cause cervical cancer.

State law mandates the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccination before girls reach sixth grade.

HPV is spread through sexual contact. Some conservative lawmakers believe the vaccine promotes casual premarital sex and say the state mandate usurps parental rights. But supporters of the current law say the vaccine can save lives.

The Senate voted 22-17 Monday to carry Republican Del. Kathy Byron's bill over to 2013, killing it for this year. Republicans Frank Wagner and John Watkins voted with all 20 Democrats.

Byron also sponsors the highly controversial bill requiring women seeking an abortion to first have an ultrasound image made of the fetus.