Debra J. Saunders

Critics have noted that at Gardasil's price of $360 per child, there might be better uses for those health dollars. ?The FDA had approved the vaccine only a year before. What about potential side effects? There remain questions as to whether Gardasil will work when adolescents hit adulthood -- an argument in favor of delaying administration until children are older.

No surprise, the Texas Legislature overturned Perry's order. ?It is Perry's great misfortune that the Gardasil story emerged in the midst of the Obama administration's Solyndra scandal. The now-filing-for-bankruptcy Solyndra was the first firm to win an Obama administration Department of Energy loan, to the tune of $528 million. Texas would have been the first state to mandate the vaccine. Do I smell the whiff of, as Bachmann put it, "crony capitalism?" Yes, I do.


The Beltway take on Perry's situation is that it is difficult for him to hit former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for Romneycare's "individual mandate" when Perry signed an order mandating an HPV vaccine.

But, as the Atlantic's Megan McArdle pointed out, vaccines are mandatory for a reason: Their primary purpose "is not necessarily to protect the vaccinated individual" but to protect others and hopefully eradicate disease. "When vaccination rates fall below 80 percent or so, you create 'reservoirs' of disease that can spread to vulnerable people."

In his book "Fed Up," Perry boasts about America's role in medical innovations, including the polio vaccine and measles vaccine.

So, for the record, Perry is not anti-vaccine. ?As for Bachmann, she called Perry's executive order "a violation of a liberty interest." I should hope that view would not hold in the face of a potential polio epidemic.

Now, Perry's order was a heavy-handed use of the executive order. His relations with Merck appeared far too cozy. Also, Perry rushed the deal before the public had reason to trust that a mandatory regime would come without scary unintended consequences.

But in the end, this is all about sex.

Debra J. Saunders

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