Friday, February 02, 2007

Wow! I Can't Believe This Is Texas.

I was just surprised and a little bit pleased that Governor Rick Perry (Gov. Good Hair, as Molly Ivins called him) "signed an order today making Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer." Read the full article. The vaccine is Gardasil, a product by Merck that prevents human papillomavirus, HPV, as it is commonly referred to.

There has been much discussion over the vaccine on various blogs; in fact, there was just one on feministing yesterday with many people extremely upset over the government's intervention. This is a complex issue because I agree with some of the arguments, i.e. the government is putting the burden of protection on women, forceable vaccination, unknown long-term effects.

The article I've linked to also discusses Perry's ties to Merck, which makes me a bit suspicious as well in that the article says that one of the company's lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, former chief of staff. I don't like such dealings when it comes to government. I like a government that has my best interests at heart.

However, I am also pleased that Perry went against the conservative right who argue that the vaccine will encourage and condone premarital sex and "interfere with the way parents raise their children." My response to that is twofold: It's just a vaccine. You're not handing the girl a dildo and condoms and shoving them at boys. Second, what about other vaccines that children are required to receive? Does that "interfere with the way parents raise their children"? Even if an individual is a virgin at marriage, (although according to recent reports, that is rare) - the disease can still be contracted from the other partner. Wise up. If you care so much about your child, care about their health.

So yea! Texas. I can't believe we were the first.

[Update: Additionally, those parents that would like to opt out of the vaccination may do so by filing an affidavit objecting to the vaccine (AP) so really there should be no reason for such complaints.]

7 comments:

michaela said...

Whoa! Kudos, Texas, indeed!

chapstickaddict said...

I was really glad that a pro-lifer took a stand on this issue. I can't believe that some parents would rather risk the health of their daughters rather than have some sort of sex talk with them (and few of them realize that if their kids don't hear it from them, they'll just learn it from their peers).

I'm actually originally from SC, which is also considering a mandatory vaccination for 12 year old girls (not sure if it's passed yet). So, yay for the South!

(BTW The Nation had a pretty interesting article last week about the more progressive politics in the South. It was a refreshing read.)

Jales said...

As someone from Texas, I do NOT agree. Though, anyone who would actually think the girls of Texas were waiting on Gardasil to get buck wild is in for a huge disappointment.

Quite frankly it shouldn't even be legislated until testing is thorough. Without knowing long term effects I just don't see risking my child. You could supposedly say I'm risking her by not getting the shot, however, I have taken into account that Gardasil ONLY protects against the 4 major strains of HPV that causes cervical cancer. There are MANY other strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer, so either way you're still up in the stirrups waiting to find out. And since cervical cancer is something that has been successfully treated in almost all cases (except where women did not get regular check ups, were old, or unhealthy), then I don't feel it's an overwhelming danger. At least cervical cancer is a risk we know we can treat.

While I absolutely *hate* that I'm having to agree with the fundies on this, I am doing it with my brain in full gear and not because of some BS perception of it giving my kids permission to go have sex. By legislating this, we absolve Merck of all responsiblity if it does have a negative effect, and after the Vioxx scam they pulled, I'm not ready to trust them. One should wonder why a company that lost so much money would be pushing a drug through so quick, unless it's because of the huge amount of money they'll make ($360 for the series of shots, per person) when it's mandated.

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