Location: Texas

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


AUSTIN – The chorus of social conservatives rose Monday against Gov. Rick Perry's executive order mandating vaccinations for girls against a sexually transmitted virus, including a public plea from an influential state senator and close ally of the governor.

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Grapevine, and state Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, said parents are flooding their phone lines with complaints about Gov. Rick Perry's executive order. Mr. Perry said Monday that he is "firmly on the side of protecting life." State Sen. Jane Nelson, chairwoman of the Senate's health and human services committee, said lawmakers should have been allowed to hear from doctors, scientists and patients before the state implemented such a sweeping mandate.

"This is not an emergency," said Ms. Nelson, R-Grapevine. "It needs to be discussed and debated."

On Friday, Mr. Perry ordered the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to adopt rules requiring Merck & Co.'s new Gardasil vaccine for girls entering sixth grade as of September 2008. The vaccine protects girls against strains of the human papillomavirus that cause most cases of cervical cancer.

Texas would be the first state to mandate the vaccinations.


Ms. Nelson said she plans to ask Attorney General Greg Abbott for an opinion on the legality of the order. Mr. Perry's office has said the Legislature has no authority to repeal his executive order.

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