The Scientific Activist

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.


  1. #1 Sir Oolius
    March 13, 2007

    Pro-cancer lobby defeats pro-cervix lobby in Texas House. Erring on the side of life…uh, I mean choice!

  2. #2 TEBB
    March 14, 2007

    When I first heard about the vaccine I was wholeheartedly in support of requiring all girls in public schools to get it, and was hoping to see it expanded to boys as well. However, after the pricing was announced (over $300 for the series of shots) and then I learned that it is not known how long it will be effective, I started to have second thoughts. Governor Perry’s requirement was likely related to a desire to benefit the firm selling the vaccine. And I noticed that he said nothing about the state of Texas picking up the cost for all lower income families. I’d argue that lower income girls are more in need of it as the poor are less likely to get the annual pap smear that can catch cervical cancer very early, and result in a cure. If I had a daughter I’d want her to get the vaccine, but I’d be even more concerned about her getting an annual gynecology exam, including a pap smear. If Perry really cares about teenage girls, he’ll have the state negotiate a good price for buying a large amount of the vaccine, and offer it for free. I can tell you THAT’s not happening here in Texas.

  3. #3
    March 16, 2007

    I would not be to quick to say that mandatory vaccines are socially or scientifically progressive. A little more homework might be in order, if you can manage to break free of your established views.

  4. #4 PJ
    March 28, 2007

    “I noticed that he said nothing about the state of Texas picking up the cost for all lower income families. ”
    The whole point of Perry’s mandate was for taxpayers to pay for it, and low-income Girls would be covered under Medicaid.

    This rollback was a victory for freedom and a defeat for the social engineers who want to intrude on decisions for kids and their parents. Mandates like this intrude on freedom yet in this case are questionable (or at least unproven) in terms of cost-benefit. Here’ a hint – if the cost/benefit were really good, people would do it voluntarily. Funny how ‘choice’ over ‘life’ is only important to some folks when there is a preborn human to get rid of.

    Part of the aburdity was mandating it to 6th graders as a requirement for school attendence. This kind of mandate in the past was intended for highly communicative diseases only not STDs. There is no stopping any adult, or even a child and their parents, from making their own decision on this without the mandate; of course another choice that would be more cost-effective would be to avoid unsafe sex. But apparently stating the obvious offends those who find some freedoms more important than other freedoms.

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