TX Governor Rick Perry mandates cervical cancer vaccine for girls
"Bypassing the Texas Legislature, Republican Gov. Rick Perry issued an order
Friday making Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls get
vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical
cancer.By employing an executive order, Perry sidestepped opposition in the
Legislature from conservatives and parents' rights groups who fear such a
requirement would condone premarital sex and interfere with the way Texans
raise their children.Beginning in September 2008, girls entering the
sixth grade — meaning, generally, girls ages 11 and 12 — will have to
receive Gardasil, Merck & Co.'s new vaccine against strains of the human
papillomavirus, or HPV.Perry also directed state health authorities to make
the vaccine available free to girls 9 to 18 who are uninsured or whose
insurance does not cover vaccines. He also ordered that Medicaid offer
Gardasil to women ages 19 to 21."
"Perry has ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.The governor also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.The order is effective until Perry or a successor changes it, and the Legislature has no authority to repeal it, said Perry spokeswoman Krista Moody.Legislative aides said they are looking for ways around the order for parents who oppose it.''He's circumventing the will of the people,'' said Dawn Richardson, president of Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education, a citizens group that fought for the right to opt out of other vaccine requirements. ''There are bills filed. There's no emergency except in the boardrooms of Merck, where this is failing to gain the support that they had expected.''The federal government approved Gardasil in June. "
Now this is what I had written to send in to the Austin-American Statesmand but they accept letters to the editor with only 150 words. At this point I would need to do a little editing..ehem!
Having this mandated vaccination law actually undermines the validity of the abstinence programs here in Texas which actively misrepresent the effectiveness of using condoms (negatively) or not mention condoms at all. (See Human Rights Watch Report http://hrw.org/reports/2002/usa0902/) To me, it seems like a backwards way to ensure the same thing. Instead of educating and informing children about the dangers of sexual activities (the various sexually transmitted diseases, emotional and inter-social effects), and/or the prevention of them, be they abstinence or proper protection using condoms, the Perry administration sooner inject girls with a vaccine who’s long-term efficacy has not been proven. It is like a parent who’d rather sneak in ‘the pill’ in his/her daughter’s food rather than talk straight about the birds and the bees!
Now to the mandate of vaccination. First of all, since this is not a contagious disease such as Hep A, I am opposed to having this be mandatory. According to the American Cancer Society, they estimate 940 new cases of Uterine/Cervix cancer. Their report on estimated new cancer cases for selected sites in the US for the year 2007 shows that Texas has the highest number in the country. The overall estimated number of new cases in the whole of the US is 11,150. This from an overall population of 300 million Americans and the number is split between uterus and cervical cancer. If the relation of the HPV virus to the cervical cancer is because of sexual transmitted disease, then clearly, knowing the high rate of teen pregnancy in the state of Texas, a vaccination program is not the answer to the root of the problem. Social and educational issues can eliminate a whole slew of issues surrounding teen pregnancies and teen sexual transmitted diseases, some of them, which lead to cervical cancer. Also, the information surrounding the efficacy of this vaccination is suspect, please check out the National Vaccination Information Center.
Mandating this vaccine will only make the rates go up for health insurance and I would be curious to know how much money Merck spends in campaign donations. If anyone looks at funding they deem important and necessary here in Texas, anyone can find areas that can benefit so much more from the millions of dollars that will be spend on these vaccinations: law enforcement, education, increased health coverage for the uninsured you name it. Oh hey, and honest and effective sex education programs! I will not have my daughter be vaccinated. I will do my parental job and talk with her about sex, the pressure of having sex at a young age, and boys! If I could, I would mandate that men and especially the Perry administration watch a few Oprah episodes. Maybe they will learn what goes on with teenagers today in this country.