Perry’s vaccine initiative needed

Gov. Rick Perry crossed the party line during Tuesday’s State of the State address, and he did so in favor of women’s health.Perry ordered that beginning September 2008, sixth-grade girls should be vaccinated for the human papilloma virus. The vaccine can prevent HPV virus types that cause 70 percent of cervical cancer, according to the Gynecological Cancer Foundation.

But some of Perry’s conservative Republican base is up-in-arms about the mandate.

Some legislators argue that the order encourages girls to be sexually promiscuous and strips away parental rights.

As Perry pointed out, though, saying that is just like saying a cancer vaccine encourages smoking.

Legislators are already threatening to block funding for the mandate, and others are attempting to overthrow the mandate altogether.

They’re playing with women’s health.

About 4,000 women died of cervical cancer in 2002, according to the most recent statistics provided by the Fort Worth Health Department. That’s about one-third of the women who were diagnosed.

Because the vaccine has proven to be less effective on anyone exposed to the virus, it just makes sense to give the vaccine before young women become sexually active.

At an age when young women are becoming sexually active earlier, this move by Perry doesn’t encourage sexual promiscuity.

It’s almost inevitable that, at some point, women will become sexually active. Therefore, reducing the consequences of an almost-inevitable occurrence just makes sense.

Hopefully, legislators can take their heads out of the sand and realize that some young women are having sex – and it’s time to start doing something to reduce the consequences.

News editor Andrew Chavez for the editorial board.