Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Do You Want Easy Girls to Get Cancer?

This is the question that constituents and reporters need to ask every far right god bully in the Texas Legislature who opposes Governor Rick Perry’s executive order requiring all Texas schoolgirls entering sixth grade to receive the HPV vaccine.

Leading the charge is Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville), chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. On Monday, Nelson asked Perry to rescind his order, saying that the availability of a vaccine that can prevent most cases of cervical cancer does not constitute a public health emergency. Tell that to the 391 women in Texas who died last year of a potentially preventable cancer.

Nelson plans to ask state Attorney General Greg Abbott for an opinion on the legality of Perry’s order. Other Republican lawmakers are also filing bills to overturn the order.

I suspect Nelson’s bluster may be merely a carrot to placate the insane religionists who really do believe cervical cancer is god’s special gift to sluts. She’s not a stupid woman and it won’t help her political career to be forced into carrying water for moral degenerates who masturbate to Revelations. I can’t imagine Perry doing this without letting Nelson know about it first.

Meanwhile, Perry issued a statement to the faithful on Monday explaining that his order would do more than just keep sexually active young women from getting HPV.

"In the past, young women who have abstained from sex until marriage have contracted HPV from their husbands and faced the difficult task of defeating cervical cancer," he said. "This vaccine prevents that from happening."

Put another way, have pity on the virtuous virginal brides whose white wedding was besmirched by HPV, but not necessarily the women who get the virus outside of marriage. I also love the sexist double standard that accepts non-abstinent, disease-carrying grooms without judgment.

Some Republicans are griping about how this order usurps parental authority. They are full of hard poo. State law continues to permit parents to not vaccinate their kids for religious or philosophical reasons.

I should have known Texas could not do something proactive like this without it turning into a sad and disgusting spectacle.


Anonymous said...

Here's the problem:

It reeks of pandering in a bad way. 400 deaths from cervical cancer last year and we will have to foot the bill for these shots so Slick Rick can stand up in 2008 and tell voters how much he cares about women's issues. Why aren't we mandating flu vaccines and footing the bill for those? The flu kills more people every year. Oh yeah, children and sick, elderly people probably don't hit the polls as hard.

Doesn't bother you Greg that his former campaign chief is now lobbying for Merck? No issues there? Isn't Merck the same company that claimed Vioxx was perfectly safe. How'd that turn out. What long term studies do we have about this vaccine. As a parent that might be concerned about exactly what the state is forcing on their child, I can concede a problem with this entire thing. If this were entirely a health issue, it'd be one thing, but Rick ain't that concerned about our daughters. Take that to the bank.

As for the state law permitting parents to refuse vaccinations for their children, it's not that easy to do. Go try it sometime. Enjoy health and human services and child protective services coming to examine every aspect of the way you raise your child. Don't think I'm kidding.

Anonymous said...

I oppose this, Greggie. Why should Little Ellen, who is in 6th grade currently and is super Christian,be required to get this? I admit, her parents are more responsible than most, and I am sure, at the appropriate age, her medical savvy mom would make sure to discuss this with her and her doctor; Lacy is doing this for her girls, at the more appropriate ages of 17 and 15. It makes me uncomfortable to do this to such a young girl, especially one so sheltered, innocent, and just plain too young!
It's not Baby Ellen's fault that other parents (like those of my high school students) don't have the time to pay attention to their insanely sexually active kids and do the resposible thing and get them immunized. It is not the job of the state to be parents; if it was, I would be demanding laws like, "Read to Your Children as Infants and Toddlers, otherwise they will end up in my class and be functionally illiterate at 17". That is a better law.

Greg said...


I’ve never been entirely happy with Perry’s rationale for mandating the HPV vaccine, and I’ve noted that his former chief of staff is now lobbying for Merck. Others have speculated that Perry is trying to cinch Merck an exclusive vendor deal since rival vaccines to Gardasil will be introduced soon. I certainly wouldn’t put that past him.

However, the motivations of moralists who don’t want to “send the wrong message” regarding sex scare me a lot more. They have
a long history of using HPV as a bully pulpit to derail comprehensive sex education and they don’t want this vaccine to take that away from them. If Perry’s motivation is coming from the wrong place, at least the result is fewer women getting cervical cancer.

I will concede that opposition to Perry’s order from the medical lobby (Texas Medical Association, American Association of Pediatrics) points out some rather glaring logistical problems. I still think it is the right thing to do from a public health perspective, but cost and education will need to be addressed. I would also hate to see existing vaccination programs gutted to pay for this.

Yes, drugs sometimes have adverse side effects that aren’t known for years and drug companies try to weasel out of responsibility. I'm all for holding them accountable.

I can’t speak to the difficulty of opting out of vaccinations in Texas, but I do support the right to do this in an expedient manner that doesn't invoke the wrath of social service agencies.

Greg said...


I think if the HPV vaccine was given as a matter of course along with other vaccines, it would no longer evoke the unpleasant association between 11-year-old girls and sexually transmitted disease.

I know it's human nature to feel protective of children and their innocence, but one of the main reasons America has such high STD rates compared to Europe is stigma. To me, disease is disease, whether you get it from sex or not.

About one in four sexually active people carry some form of HPV. Males typically have no way of knowing they have HPV unless they get genital warts, and condoms can’t prevent HPV transmission in the genital regions they don’t cover. As much as I detest the implied value judgment in Rick Perry’s statement (referenced above), the high prevalence of HPV makes it a real (though less likely) possibility for women who have remained abstinent until marriage to contract a cancer-causing strain of HPV.

I respect the right of parents to decide what’s right for their own children, but making this an opt-out proposition rather than an opt-in proposition would protect a lot of kids whose parents don’t care either way.

While it’s true that the state can’t protect kids from lousy parenting, that doesn’t mean society shouldn’t enact laws to promote the general welfare of children.

Anonymous said...

I also take issue with the fact the Perry is trying to mandate a vaccine that is still in clinical trials and may yet have an adverse effect on a woman's reproductive system in later years. Not enough is known about the ramifications of this series of shots.

Let's not forget that it is also not within the stated powers of the governor of Texas to issue such a decree. I'm tired of politicians playing fast and loose with the rules. Look what the Bush administration has done to our Constitution in the last six years. I care not if his motives are reasonable.

I too hate the conservatives and religious zealots throwing out a bunch of venomous lies to scare people, but I'm against this because I value the freedoms we were given in this country, but have been continuously eroded day in, and day out, in the name of protecting the populace.