re: Why Gardasil doesn’t bother me for Perry

Tom, the day after Rick Perry jumped in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, I thought he might be clear of the issue – he called it a “mistake.” (I said so on NRO and in a National Catholic Register piece.) But the more I hear Governor Perry talk about the issue, the more he gives me pause.

I get hating cancer, which the governor says was his motivation. I don’t get an executive order. And I don’t get not seeing any problem with assuming — and then accommodating — sexually promiscuity in the sixth grade. Rick Santorum (yes, I know he has had a few mentions here) did have a point:

MR. SANTORUM: Why — ladies and gentlemen, why do we inoculate people with vaccines in public schools? Because we’re afraid of those diseases being communicable between people at school. And therefore to protect the rest of the people at school, we have vaccinations to protect those children. Unless Texas has a very progressive way of communicating diseases in their school by — by way of their curriculum, then there is no government purpose served for having little girls inoculated at the force and — and compulsion of the government. (Applause.) This is a big government run amok.

Yuval Levin had a good postm over on NRO earlier this week on the issue. Fair-minded folks can disagree on this. But I think the governor still has some explaining to do.



  • chrysd

    Um, who does this protect? Gardisil DOES NOT protect against HPV. It only protects against certain strains. Every single year, a woman visiting her gynecologist can be screened for both HPV and cervical cancer. If detected early, nobody is at increased risk dying from this particular cancer. I am not interested in getting it. I have been married and raped by a carrier- but the markers of this drug only care about giving it to girls. Seems fishy to me. If I don’t have ant STDs, wouldn’t they want to market to those not yet exposed?

  • Whitney

    Rick Perry does not need to explain himself anymore – because he can’t. In return for a few thousand dollars of campaign money, Rick Perry has enabled all the young people in his state to be that much more promiscuous. I don’t understand why anyone could applaud his decision. On one hand, you can have the government semi-mandate an expensive vaccine that fails in many cases. On the other hand, there is a much cheaper, non-government-mandated, and 100% effective solution: abstinence. Amazingly enough, the simple vaccine of “not sleeping around” will always work! If both parties (yes, I’m giving equal responsibility to the men too) have been celibate, there is nothing to worry about. For some reason, he has chosen the expensive and risky government boondoggle over the cheaper and more moral solution.

    • Brian C

      1)The executive order was never implemented.
      2)No one on this site is applauding his decision, just discussing to what degree (if any) this should affect faithful Catholics’ presidential primary vote.
      3)Regarding abstinence preventing STDs, see Tom Crowe’s comment above.
      4)Thank you for being more tactful in this post compared to your previous posts.

    • Mike M

      I think Gov. Perry’s decision on the issue was completely wrong, but the idea that we should leave people with a higher risk of contracting an STD as some sort of deterrent against promiscuity is horrifying.

      I highly doubt that the Christ who intervened to stop the stoning of an adulteress finds joy in the prospect of someone dying for a sin of youthful indiscretion.

  • Michael F

    Mrs Lopez (Ms? Miss?), you say that Mr. Perry still has some explaining to do. If I may ask, what can he explain that he hasn’t already (at least tried to) explained? It seems to me that he has done just about everything he can, save going back in time and avoiding it (which is impossible, and puts us back to him doing everything he can). What would you have him say? Thank you.

  • Tom Crowe

    Kathryn— Heh, I didn’t think he was clear of it at that point, but I was glad to see him call it a mistake. ——— A few points on what you raise. The first is a scenario. A girl does not get the vaccine and maintains her virginity until she is married. Her husband did not maintain his virginity until marriage and is, unbeknownst to him, a carrier of HPV. On their wedding night he infects his wife with HPV. Had his wife gotten the vaccine she would have a much greater chance of not being affected by it. Now. To be sure, this alone does not warrant an EO or government mandate for sixth graders, but to suggest as strongly as so many have that we ought not include an HPV vaccine in the regimen of required or strongly advised vaccines simply because HPV is an STD rather than a conventionally communicable disease really smacks of a “God’s punishment for sin” sort of argument. And even if one thinks that is a legit argument, then one ought also trust that God will devise a new punishment to take its place. God is smart like that. But this vaccine is shown to protect against cancer. I wish we had all sorts of vaccines for other diseases that happen to be STDs. That would be great—then we could continue to focus on reducing promiscuity by training in virtue rather than in telling kids about warts and sores and oozes and burning sensations and all that pleasant stuff. ——— I can handle dinging Perry on the EO as an overreach. I believe he meant it when he acknowledged that it was a mistake, and I wish it had been done as an opt-in with a heavy awareness campaign rather than the other way around, but a single data point does not represent a pattern on Perry’s part of government intrusion into people’s lives (at least not one that I’m aware of). ——— But you’re right: reasonable people can disagree. I’m just sharing why I no longer hold the opinion that you expressed, which I did hold when I first heard about the whole Gardasil flap and continued to hold until recently.

  • Greg Smith

    Kathryn ~ Please note that in one of Tom’s links, a scientific source states that the vacination is most effective if given
    at 11 or 12 *before* sexual activity begins. No one is “assuming — and then accommodating — sexually promiscuity in the sixth grade.”
    ~ Pax ~ Greg

  • whart

    For what it’s worth..the Gardasil vaccinations were never implemented, I believe the legislature wouldn’t pass it and there was a parental opt-out included.



Receive our updates via email.