In 2007, Texas Governor Rick Perry went around the state legislature and signed an executive order mandating girls entering the sixth grade receive the Gardasil-HPV vaccine. He signed the mandate only after the vaccine had been on the market for less than year, prompting questions about liability from doctors and sparking a debate about parental rights.
Gardasil was developed to prevent the human papillomavirus (HPV), the most commonly transmitted sexual disease in the United States. In June 2006, the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug, which is made by the pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. The treatment was initially hailed as a breakthrough in protecting against four strains of HPV that are responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases and 90 percent of genital warts.
In January 2007, Gardasil was put on the "recommended" immunization schedule issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control. Merck immediately mounted a massive lobbying effort of state legislatures around the country to get Gardasil added to their respective lists of state-mandated vaccines.
And the controversy didn't come without a little crony capitalism attached:
The controversy over Perry's decision deepened as it came to light that his former chief of staff was a lobbyist for Merck and that his chief of staff's mother-in-law, Rep. Dianne White Delisi, was the state director of an advocacy group bankrolled by Merck to push legislatures across the country to put forward bills mandating the Gardasil vaccine for preteen girls.
Now, Steve Ertelt over at LifeNews writes Presidential Candidate Perry has admitted the mandate was a mistake:
On his first day on the campaign trail, Texas Gov. Rick Perry admitted he made a mistake on the sole issue pro-life advocates bring up as the lone black mark in an otherwise sterling pro-life record.
Perry, in a conversation with a New Hampshire voter, walked back his decision to mandate the vaccine Gardasil to 11-year old girls. According to a Politico report, a voter confronted him on the issue — explaining his remorse for the decision and indicating he put an opt-out provision in place allowing parents to decide not to have their young girls receive the vaccine.
Perry explained that, in his zeal to protect children, he went too far.
“I signed an executive order that allowed for an opt-out, but the fact of the matter is I didn’t do my research well enough to understand that we needed to have a substantial conversation with our citizenry,” he said. “I hate cancer. Let me tell you, as a son who has a mother and father who are both cancer survivors.”