I won’t pretend to understand the politics behind it, but Texas Governor Rick Perry finally did something I can applaud: he’s ordered that sixth-grade girls be inoculated against a virus linked to cervical cancer. Of course, the virus is sexually-transmitted, which is why it’s such a controversial order.
Some people see inoculating 11 and 12-year-old girls against a sexually-transmitted disease as permission or implied permission for them to have sex. I don’t agree. Apparently, neither does Gov. Perry.
Critics rip Perry’s vaccine mandate
Governor rejects opponents’ calls to reverse order
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
Social conservatives from Texas to Washington called on Perry to reverse his order making Texas the first state to require the vaccine, saying the mandate makes sex seem permissible and that parents should be the ones to decide whether to immunize their daughters. And several Texas lawmakers expressed outrage at Perry for circumventing the legislative process.
Perry refused to rescind the executive order he issued Friday requiring the vaccine for girls ages 11 and 12 who are entering sixth grade in September 2008. Parents will be able to opt out their daughters, as they can for other required vaccines.
In a statement, Perry addressed criticism that the vaccine could send a message that teenage sex is permissible.
“Providing the HPV vaccine doesn’t promote sexual promiscuity any more than providing the Hepatitis B vaccine promotes drug use,” the governor said. “If the medical community developed a vaccine for lung cancer, would the same critics oppose it claiming it would encourage smoking?”