Sunday, February 04, 2007

Is this what "compassionate conservatism" is about?

Bush's successor in Texas, Rick Perry, and his Merck friends deserves a special place in hell for this:
Texas governor orders anti-cancer vaccine for schoolgirls

AUSTIN (AP) — Bypassing the Legislature, Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed an order Friday making Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.

By issuing an executive order, Perry apparently sidesteps opposition in the Legislature from conservatives and parents' rights groups who fear such a requirement would condone premarital sex and interfere with the way parents raise their children.

Beginning in September 2008, girls entering the sixth grade — meaning, generally, girls ages 11 and 12 — will have to get Gardasil, Merck & Co.'s new vaccine against strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV.

Perry, a conservative Christian who opposes abortion and stem-cell research using embryonic cells, counts on the religious right for his political base. But he has said the cervical cancer vaccine is no different from the one that protects children against polio.

"The HPV vaccine provides us with an incredible opportunity to effectively target and prevent cervical cancer," Perry said in announcing the order.

"If there are diseases in our society that are going to cost us large amounts of money, it just makes good economic sense, not to mention the health and well-being of these individuals to have those vaccines available," he said.

Merck is bankrolling efforts to pass state laws across the country mandating Gardasil for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.

Perry has several ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.

Perry also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.


Texas allows parents to opt out of inoculations by filing an affidavit objecting to the vaccine on religious or philosophical reasons. Even with such provisions, however, conservative groups say such requirements interfere with parents' rights to make medical decisions for their children.
What that son of a bitch actually meant was that it makes good political sense if he can make legislation (the Texas equivalent of a Presidential executive order) that will benefit those who bankroll his campaign. This is so flagrantly dirty.

Parents can opt out for "religious or philosophical reasons." Why should it have to be those? Parents should be able to object simply because they don't want it. If Texas' governor (I refuse to soil my name by mentioning his) is really that worried about pre-teen girls contracting HPV, then the state has far bigger problems that can't be solved by a vaccine.

One of my friends, after I sent him the link to this story, said that infants are now being vaccinated against Hepatitis B. All I could think was, my God, what kind of a sick government do we tolerate? I IMd back, "What for, to protect them from all the pedophile medical staff and incompetent blood-handlers?" At the same time, he was replying that Hep B is contracted only through needles and sex, adding that, "Yeah, my infant's going to go out and get knocked up and shoot heroin right now." But I guess if I were Catholic, I'd insist my son get it before his first confession.

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