Thursday, September 8, 2011

Governor Rick Perry takes on cancer at the Reagan Library presidential debate

From the Politico/NBC Republican presidential debate last night: 

PERRY: But here's the facts of that issue. There was an opt-out in that piece of -- it wasn't legislation. It was an executive order.

I hate cancer. We passed a $3 billion cancer initiative that same legislative session of which we're trying to find over the next 10 years cures to cancers. Cervical cancer is caused by HPV. We wanted to bring that to the attention of these thousands of -- of -- of -- tens of thousands of young people in our state. We allowed for an opt-out.

I don't know what's more strong for parental rights than having that opt-out. There's a long list of diseases that cost our state and cost our country. It was on that list.

Now, did we handle it right? Should we have talked to the legislature first before we did it? Probably so. But at the end of the day, I will always err on the side of saving lives.

Rick Perry was responding to questions about his controversial 2007 executive order to vaccinate girls in Texas with Gardasil, as a way of warding off the human papilloma virus that can cause cervical cancer.   Obviously anything to do with sex--especially teen- and pre-teen sex--gets into touchy issues of family and family values and parental rights, but equally obviously, vaccinations as a whole are a good idea.   Think polio vaccine, for example, or, in an earlier era, the smallpox vaccine.   Perry has since expressed regret for the way that the Gardasil issue was handled, but the larger story of how Texas is fighting cancer is quite interesting--and quite compelling.    

And fighting cancer in Texas--or anywhere--isn't just a good thing for compassionate health reasons, it's also a way to job-creator.  The Texas Medical Center in Houston, for example, employs 61,000 people.  Statewide, and nationwide, medicine is a much bigger industry--one of the most dynamic industries we have. 


  1. Gardasil has several serious, life-threatening side effects and I wouldn't get jabbed with it myself. I can only imagine the nightmare of being a parent trying to protect my child from this egregious government overreach. Plus also, it's not just about sex. The first dose of the three-injection vaccination is recommended when a girl is still a virgin. This adds on an entirely new layer of offensiveness for me.

  2. Governor Perry is as we know an iconoclast at times but at least he has the fortitude to take action. All child vaccines have a degree of risk and when our kids were that age, we asked the same fearful questions. The focal point here is that government handling is frequently off kilter but it is the results and mission that counts.The benefits sometimes outweighs the risk.

  3. I do not know what stronger for parental rights, than to have that abandon. There's a long list of diseases that are worth the cost of our state and our country. It is in this list.
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