I knew that there had to have been a previous example of an inappropriate Executive Order by Rick Perry that usurped the Legislature, and Paul Burka reminds me of it: the Sixty-Five Percent order for public schools. If anyone can find me an example of Sen. Jane Nelson, Rep. Charlie Howard, then-Rep. Glenn Hegar, or any of the other strident objectors to the HPV vaccine directive raising a fuss about proper procedure at that time, then I'll take their current complaints seriously. Until then, all I can say is welcome to our world, folks. This is the Rick Perry we've been dealing with all along. If you don't like it, well, you missed your chance to do something about it. Suck it up like the rest of us have been told to do.
I also see that Sen. Nelson has written a letter to Governor Perry asking him to respect the legislative process, which 25 of her colleagues have signed, with Sen. Gallegos to follow. I'd like to ask the Democrats who have joined in on this effort, in particular my own Senator, why they haven't asked Sen. Nelson where her letter to Gov. Perry regarding the 65% rule is. Why are they being asked to act like grownups on a matter that they might have otherwise supported when Sen. Nelson and her partymates are apparently under no such burden to do the same?
Meanwhile, my State Rep., Jessica Farrar, who was the House sponsor of the legislation that Perry enacted by fiat, has been on TV talking about the HPV vaccine. See here (scroll down to Monday's Video, then click on 'HPV vaccine mandatory in Texas') and here (on the right side, click 'Launch' underneath the picture) to watch the clips, or go to Muse Musings, where there's embedded YouTube video. A letter from Farrar to her constituents regarding this is beneath the fold.
In an effort to update you on what I have been working on here at the Capitol, I'd like to let you know what is happening with HB 215. HB 215 would require girls entering the 6th grade to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV). As you may be aware, Governor Perry issued an Executive Order on Friday requiring this. As a result of the Governor's decision, much media attention has been shed on this very important legislation that I am continuing to carry here in the House. I would like to share two of the interviews I gave in the last few days with you, and I hope that these provide some insight into why I feel this is such a crucial piece of legislation. The national media coverage, which has included the Today Show, Paula Zahn Now, Washington Post Radio, and MSNBC, has been a chance for me to educate the public on why I feel so strongly that we should do what we can to protect Texas girls and women from cervical cancer. (Links to the two mentioned interviews are located at the end of this letter.)Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 07, 2007 to Show Business for Ugly People
HPV causes virtually all cases of cervical cancer. By the age of 50, over 80% of all women will have been infected with this virus. Certain types of HPV cause dysplasia, which is when abnormal cells develop in the cervix. Regular pap smears many times catch these abnormal cells early, but not all abnormal cells are found in time and not all women have access to regular preventative screenings. When precancerous cells are not caught, dysplasia many times turns into cervical cancer. In 2007, the American Cancer Society predicts there will be 44,000 cases of non-invasive cervical cancer and almost 10,000 cases of invasive cervical cancer in the US alone.
This vaccine will prevent many cases of cervical cancer in the future. Requiring it is important because it will now be covered by health insurance companies, CHIP, and Medicaid. In addition, more people will be know about the vaccine and its benefits, increasing the rates of immunization.
The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) approved the vaccine, and the following organizations recommend it:
· American Cancer Society
· American Academy of Pediatrics
· American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
· Society of Gynecological Oncologists
As always, state law continues to ensure the rights of parents to object to the vaccine for religious or philosophical differences. Parents are allowed to opt out through a simple process, just as they may for any other required vaccination. This process is now able to be completed online.
In order to improve the health care system for all Texans, placing science before ideology is crucial. We have the capability to prevent numerous occurrences of the 2nd most common type of cancer in women. We must embrace this medical victory in order to ensure that our girls benefit fully from this scientific advancement.