Flare-Up In Texas Over HPV Vaccine

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said he will not veto a bill passed by lawmakers that will override his February executive order requiring all sixth-grade girls in Texas to be vaccinated against human papilloma virus (HPV). Perry’s order would have made Texas the first state to make the vaccination mandatory. A bill that would have made the vaccine mandatory in Colorado stalled in the Senate appropriations committee last month.

The Fort Worth Star Telegram published the text of speeches on the subject given this week by Perry and Texas Rep. Jessica Farrar, who supported mandating the HPV vaccine.

continued…From Perry’s speech:

The sad irony is, if you or I had a family member suffering from cervical cancer, there is no treatment we would rob them of if it could take away the pain and bring them back to health. And yet, we won’t provide them the vaccine that can prevent all that pain and suffering – that death sentence – to begin with because of the message it might send? What about a message of grace, compassion and forgiveness for anyone who has made wrong choices? Have we lost sight of that?

Banning widespread access to a vaccine that can prevent cancer is short-sighted policy. Critics cannot legitimately point to science or medicine to back up their claims. Nor can they hide behind the veneer of parental rights when parents can opt out. Nor can they say that it encourages wrong choices with any real legitimacy, and even if they could, they do so without regard to a higher imperative: which is to save lives.

Read Perry’s entire speech.

From Farrar’s speech:

Yesterday, Governor Perry decided he would not veto HB 1098 due to the fact that he knows the legislature has the power to override his veto. Perhaps he also decided to not veto the bill for other reasons. I cannot speak on Gov. Perry’s behalf nor do I want to. Instead, I am here today to speak for myself and the many girls and women affected by the fact that we as a legislative body have essentially blocked access to this life-saving vaccine for so many of our Texas girls.

When HB 1098 was debated on the floor, we heard Rep. Bonnen and others repeatedly say they had nothing against Texas families having access to the HPV vaccine for their daughters. I’m here to tell you that in blocking the school-based requirement for the vaccine, these people did indeed deny many of our girls access to the HPV vaccine.

Read Farrar’s entire speech