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House Passes Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act of 2005 (Johanna's Law)

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On November 14th the House voted to approve bill HR 1245. The Bill authorizes $16.5 million over two years to create prevention education materials for gynecologic cancers. The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to use the funding to create public service announcements and written materials about the symptoms and early detection of gynecologic cancers. HHS would distribute the $16.5 million dollars in grants to entities that would direct information to health professionals and families on such things as early warning signs and treatment options of gynecologic cancers.

 We applaud this legislative effort because it addresses an important need in the Latina community: preventative education on cervical cancer, which Latina women are twice as likely to get as white women. However, HR 1245 neglects to address the role that the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can play in preventing cervical cancer. In addition, it neglects to address how this information will incorporate culturally and linguistically competent information as well as how such educational materials will be disseminated in Spanish speaking communities. Therefore, NLIRH will continue to monitor HR 1245 to see if and how it will address the reproductive health needs of Latinas.