A significant part of the Republican Party has really gone round the bend. They've moved from arguing that deregulation would provide lower-cost health-care to more people than would "socialized" approaches, to actively, fervently desiring a society in which poor people die as punishment for being (supposed) parasites on society.
Perry tried to mandate in 2007 that all Texas schoolgirls be vaccinated against HPV. It was actually not a bad policy (HPV vaccination helps prevent cervical cancer), but he did it only as a giveaway to Merck (makers of Gardasil, the HPV vaccine), whose Texas lobbyist was Perry's former chief of staff, and who thus got Merck to donate to his campaign and put one of his staffers' relatives at the head of a pro-HPV vaccine lobbying group, also funded by Merck, all in the hopes that Perry would institute the vaccination mandate and kick some serious state funds back into Merck's pockets.
The quid pro quo looked all set to go until the religious right realized that HPV vaccination protected girls from a virus that could be picked up through—gasp!—sexual intercourse. Well, we all know any girl who engages in such things before she's married deserves cervical cancer, so the mandate had to go.
Perry thus had to choose between two right-wing loves: crony capitalism or fundamentalist Christianity. It must have been agonizing for him.
The whole affair is actually a hilarious and depressing window into how corrupt and insane the Republican Party in Texas is.
edit: sorry, was looking at a lot of stuff while writing and posting, so this is kind of redundant now...
The Perry-HPV vaccination story is interesting, because there's so much different stuff going on. It was vetoed by the Texas legislature at the time.
has a lot of details about what the order was, and just how truthful the accusations, and Perry's walkback, have been:
Critics said the vaccine, Merck & Co.'s Gardasil, was too new to declare safe. Some said too that Perry's order would infringe on parental rights or give girls a false sense of security, leading them to be sexually active too young.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, one of Perry's opponents in the GOP gubernatorial primary, frequently slams Perry's stilled order.
Perry has stood by his action, most recently casting it as having created an optional vaccination requirement.
"That piece of legislation was not mandatory, in the sense of when you can say no, something's not mandatory," he said during the second Republican gubernatorial debate Jan. 29.
A just-say-no gubernatorial order? We decided to check.
What we found: On Feb. 2, 2007, Perry issued an executive order — not a piece of legislation, as he said — requiring the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to adopt rules mandating all girls entering sixth grade to receive a vaccination against the types of HPV, a sexually-transmitted virus, that causes most cases of cervical cancer and genital warts.
The order included an opt-out "in order to protect the right of parents to be the final authority on their children's health care." Perry ordered the Department of State Health Services to allow parents dissenting for philosophical or religious reasons to request a conscientious objection affidavit form. That form, which has been available since 2003, enables parents to enroll their children in public school even if they lack state-required immunizations. It's automatically granted as long as parents provide all required information.
Perry first said that his order wasn't mandatory, something that's technically true, because there is an opt-out form that Texas parents could fill out, but not very truthful in the spirit of the order.
The lobbyist who was pushing for the order was close to Perry and had been his chief of staff, and surprise, just happened to have formed a Super PAC for Perry's campaign. Merck, the maker of the HPV vaccine, gave Perry $5,000 in the election before the order, and gave Perry $30k in all over his time as governor.
Bachmann is coming at Perry from the religious conservative angle (Perry caught a lot of shit at the time from the right, because they think that anything that is for the benefit of women's reproductive health "encourages promiscuity") as well as a personal liberty angle:
“I’m a mom and I’m a mom of three children and to have them make 12-year old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong. That should never be done. That is a violation of a liberty interest.
She's also now hitting him from
an anti-vaccine angle
, giving the example of some woman who says her daughter suffered mental retardation after getting the vaccine.
[In reply to Tubby:] I doubt it, sadly, because this is how our political economy "works" in the U.S., and for the most part that's true for both Republican and Democratic politicians. The Republicans are more gung-ho and brazen about it, but the Democrats (other than maybe a few marginalized progressives and socialist Bernie Sanders) do the same kind of thing.
For Bachmann and other religious conservatives, the corruption aspect hardly registers. It's the idea that Texas schoolchildren are going to start having wild after-school orgies once they realize they don't have to worry about cervical cancer—and that that was just fine with Rick Perry!—that's an outrage to them.