I refuse to look a young woman in the eye who suffers from this form of cancer and tell her that we could have stopped it but we didn’t. Others may focus on the cause of this cancer. I stay focused on the cure.
These are the words of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, defending his executive order making Gardasil a mandatory vaccination for young girls going into the sixth grade. Gardasil, produced by Merck, prevents women from contracting HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer, through sexual contact. Perry’s right-wing base has slammed the governor for requiring the vaccination, because it allegedly strays from Texas’ abstinence-only sex education policy. This — coupled with a $120 per-shot price tag — has many questioning Perry’s motives.
News Hounds points out some of the ties that Perry has with Merck:
Two of Perry’s former chiefs of staff currently work for Merck, and the mother of one of them is involved in lobbying for this … Has Perry just caved in for Merck? … His former c-o-s is being paid $250,000 by Merck to lobby for this, a Texas state legislator (Diane White Delisi) is pushing for it and working with Merck, and her daughter-in-law is the current chief of staff.
I believe that the vaccine is helpful and that girls should receive it. However, Perry’s unilateral approach suggests that he may be pushing a personal agenda. Texas politicos — Republicans and Democrats alike — are urging him to recall the mandate. Republican state senator Kevin Eltife expressed the same thoughts that I have on the matter when he said,
I am not opposed to the state providing funding for those who want the vaccine, but to mandate the vaccine is government interference at its best. This is an issue that should be taken up by the Legislature and fully debated with input from the public. The issue in no way warrants an executive order.
Perry can’t “look a young woman in the eye,” but he can sign an executive order to mandate an unproven medication that’s been on the market for less than a year? His words say he wants what is best for young girls, but his actions say he wants what is best for him.