Betsy Hart

Here's why: That same daughter recently came home talking about the anti-smoking campaign that goes on in her school. No cigarettes. Ever. I'm all for it.

So then, if a vaccine were invented that could largely protect children from getting one or two of the many serious diseases and chronic conditions caused by smoking cigarettes, would we say, "So many kids are going to smoke whether we like it or not, let's mandate this vaccine for every child"?

Not an exact analogy, but imagine if Big Tobacco were secretly behind the move to mandate so that it could "safely" sell lots more cigarettes.

Somehow, I don't suppose the same people who advocate mandating the Gardasil vaccine would be for such a thing. I think most people would say that it's fine the vaccine is out there, and if some parents want to pay the big bucks for their kids to get it, or if adults want to receive it, OK.

But smoking is still a terrible habit that causes all kinds of collateral damage that can't be protected against. And for the government to mandate the expensive vaccine for children would be for Big Brother to reach past the parents and into the home, and seek to "protect" children _ in a way that doesn't really protect them at all. That in fact, by essentially throwing in the moral towel on the smoking issue and taking parents out of the equation when it comes to their kids, it may leave kids more vulnerable than ever on smoking and other matters.

Apparently a lot of parents, including this one, get that, even if our elites don't. And that's why I have a feeling that the uproar over mandating Gardasil is not going to die down until the state legislatures back down on mandating it.

Betsy Hart

Betsy Hart is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service. Her column on cultural and family issues, “From the Hart,” is distributed each week to hundreds of newspapers cross the country. Betsy’s first book, "It Takes a Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parenting is Hurting out Kids – and What to do About It," was released in September, 2005, and was a top seller for its publisher, Putnam Books.