Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) on Friday issued an executive order that made Texas the first state to require girls entering the sixth grade to receive the HPV vaccine, beginning in September 2008. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gardasil, a vaccine that prevents several strands of the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus (HPV), in June 2006. Gardasil is approved for women ages nine-26 to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18.
Though Governor Perry is known as a social conservative, his press secretary, Robert Black, told The Dallas Morning News, "He came to the conclusion it was the right thing to do. You don't have opportunities like this where you can certainly prevent a cancer. It's never happened before, so it would be irresponsible to walk away from it."
Seriously, this is such a no-brainer that I'm surprised other states haven't jumped on the bandwagon. The whole wingnut argument that this encourages girls to have sex is a bit bizarre to me. As a mom, I truly hope that my daughter will have a fulfilling sex life when she's an adult. I don't see how a shot in the sixth grade will make her more likely to have sex at a younger age. But if I can do something to prevent her from getting cancer in her 40s, what's the problem with that?