Gov. Rick Perry – usually a hero to social conservatives – surprised many of them Friday by making Texas the first state to mandate a vaccine for sixth-grade girls to prevent a sexually transmitted infection that leads to most kinds of cervical cancer.
In his executive order, Mr. Perry said girls must receive the human papillomavirus vaccine before school starts in September 2008. While noting that parents may opt out of the vaccine for conscience or religious reasons, he said it "provides us with an incredible opportunity to effectively target and prevent cervical cancer."
The move was applauded by many women's groups but harshly denounced by social conservatives for its intrusion into parents' control over their kids' health. Some also alleged that Merck – the pharmaceutical company with the only vaccine on the market – was responsible for the initiative.
And, in the Dallas Morning News today: