'Bypassing the Legislature altogether, Republican Gov. Rick Perry issued an order Friday making Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.
By employing an executive order, Perry sidestepped opposition in the Legislature from conservatives and parents’ rights groups who fear such a requirement would condone premarital sex and interfere with the way Texans raise their children.*Beginning in September 2008, girls entering the sixth grade — meaning, generally, girls ages 11 and 12 — will have to receive Gardasil, Merck & Co.’s new vaccine against strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV.
Merck is bankrolling efforts to pass state laws across the country mandating Gardasil for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.
Read more: Texas Governor Orders STD Vaccine for All Girls