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Trouble for Texas Catholics: Governor Violates Parental Authority – Kowtows to Merck
Children of God for Life – For Immediate Release, February 5, 2007
(Murfreesboro, TN) Children of God for Life is urging Texas Governor, Rick Perry to reverse his decision mandating Merck’s new Gardasil HPV vaccine for school children in Texas. In an unprecedented move, Perry showed his gratitude to the bankrolling efforts of Merck by issuing an Executive Order requiring the shots for girls as young as 9-11 years old.
“It is an outrage that Governor Perry is forcing this vaccine on families”, stated Children of God for Life Executive Director, Debi Vinnedge. “His actions clearly contradict the advice of every major medical, ethical and pro-family organization in the country.”
Numerous groups such as the Catholic Medical Association, the American College of Pediatricians (ACP), Focus on the Family, the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the Pro Family Law Center all agree that use of the controversial vaccine is a decision to be left with the parents – not the State.
On Jan 22, the ACP stated, “HPV is spread only by intercourse. Keeping children out of school because they have not been vaccinated with the HPV vaccine is a serious, precedent-setting action. It replaces parental medical decision-making with government regulation.”
Last year, Focus on the Family’s Linda Klepacki likewise warned, “The (FDA) panel has placed strong pressure on state governments to make HPV vaccinations mandatory. If that happens, state officials, not parents, would become the primary sexual-health decision makers for America’s children. That’s the way things are done in dictatorships, not democracies.”
But Children of God for Life notes the situation in Texas is far more serious for parents there than in other parts of the country. In 2005, Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott wrote that private schools not receiving State Funds could refuse vaccine exemptions – and that would include Gardasil.
“Since Abbott made that decision, dozens ofTexas children with legitimate medical and religious exemptions have been expelled from Catholic schools”, stated Vinnedge. “Generally, those exemptions have been for aborted fetal vaccines, even though that’s a valid exclusion under recent Vatican directives.”
“But their latest Gardasil mandate presents a new twist to a very bad situation”, Vinnedge continued. “Federal Law prohibits favoring one’s religious beliefs over another’s. Therefore, it could be legitimately argued that allowing the HPV vaccine exemptions while denying those for abortion-derived vaccines would be discrimination. Texas Catholic schools will have three choices: force all students to get the HPV vaccine, abandon its no-exemption policy for Catholics or face Federal lawsuits.”
“Perry’s assurance that State law protects parents’ decisions on Gardasil is a farce”, she added.
Vinnedge urges Texas legislators to take immediate action if the Governor does not reverse his decision.
Meanwhile, the AP reported last week that Merck contributed $6,000.00 to Perry’s re-election campaign, while one of Merck’s Vaccine Division top officials is a Board member of Women in Government, the agency lobbying for mandates nationwide.