The Texas House voted today 119-21 to overturn governor Rick Perry’s executive order requiring mandatory vaccination against HPV (human papilloma virus) for girls entering the sixth grade. The bill, HB1098, still requires final approval in the House before moving along to the Texas Senate. Perry could attempt to veto the bill, but his veto could be overridden with a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate. The House demonstrated today that it already has the necessary votes to counter a veto.
The House bill takes things a step further by preventing the adoption of any HPV vaccination requirements, an option that would usually still be available to the Health and Human Services executive commissioner. Today’s vote comes as New Mexico is poised to become the second state to adopt mandatory administration of the vaccine, Gardasil, which protects against the strains of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancers.
This is an unfortunate development for Texas, which had the opportunity to be a trailblazer on this issue as the first state to adopt these standards. Now, instead of taking a step forward, the legislature has taken a step backward by explicitly ruling against the vaccination requirement.