Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Mess in Texas

Texas Governor Rick Perry, normally a friend of conservative families, rammed a controversial edict into Texas law, requiring young girls entering the sixth grade to be injected with a human papilloma vaccine (HPV). HPV is a horrible (sexually transmitted) disease and the vaccine does show promise of protecting against cervical cancer, though evidence is not conclusive.

However, some concerns are readily apparent.

Why by-pass the legislature? This seems to be an area where public participation, parental concerns, religious viewpoints and political debate should be expressed. Governor Perry has squashed this great hallmark of American government and is acting more akin to the British monarchy from which we revolted. And the requirement is a further erosion of parents’ rights over their children’s health. Parents, not government, are responsible for their children.

Why the hurry? Seems like the pharmaceutical company Merck’s monopoly on the vaccine and their subsequent contributions to Governor Perry’s political campaigns and that of a Republican Women’s group might be in play. With Merck’s rival GlaxoSmithKline close to releasing their own vaccine (Cervarix) perhaps that’s why Governor Perry is acting so hastily and irresponsibly.

Dawn Richardson, co-founder of Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education (PROVE) said of Perry's order: "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."

And why vaccinate? HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. Sure, some young girls will behave in a sexually irresponsible way. But we are now going to forcibly vaccinate young girls who are chaste?

This is another sad example of a pro-family leader’s betrayal of causes important to American families. Let’s pray this injustice is corrected.

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