Friday, February 02, 2007

Texas governor mandates drug for schoolchildren

Jaded as I am about politics, I find this absolutely shocking. Texas governor Rick Perry circumvented the customary legislative channels and taking nanny government to a whole new level, issued an executive order mandating Merck's new vaccine for all girls entering the sixth grade. I'm shocked because it's coming from a Texas governor whose base is the fundie evangelists, who don't have a big problem with nanny government when it's legislating for its pet moral causes, but who are completely against the use of this vaccine. Seems like political suicide to me.

I find this disturbing on many levels. It's not that I don't think the vaccinating against cervical cancer is a good thing, but forcing a child to receive it as a precondition to a public education feels very wrong and taking the choice from parents over a child that young is more control than I want the state to have over personal choice. This is one time I think the fundies are going to agree with me.

But maybe the gov is thinking of giving up politics and doesn't care. One has to wonder if he cut some kind of deal with the drug company considering Perry's ties to Women in Government and Merck, who is bankrolling lobbyist efforts for the mandate in other states as well. It wouldn't be the first time the pharmas bought off a key politician with the promise of a cushy job in the private sector once the legislation passed. That is how we ended up with the obscene medicare reform bill.

But most disturbing is that the governor issued the edict in such a unilateral fashion. Executive orders have their place in emergencies, but if it's legal for him to use it mandate a universal protocol without public debate -- it shouldn't be.
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