As we all wait to see if Texas Gov. Rick Perry enters the presidential race, you can be sure that he’s going to have deal with an issue that got him into trouble with social conservatives in the past: the HPV vaccine.
In 2007, Perry signed an Executive Order that would have required teenage girls in Texas to be immunized against Human papillomavirus, (HPV), which is the most common sexually transmitted sexual disease. It is also a known cause of cervical cancer.
The Texas Legislature later overturned his Executive Order. At the time, social conservatives were NOT happy, saying that the vaccine would definitely encourage sexual promiscuity among teenagers. Perry maintains that the shot is important in potentially preventing cervical cancer.
A top national social conservative leader tells The Brody File that, “The vaccine issue is not helpful, and Perry will have to address it. But while it is problematic, it's not fatal."
Gary Bauer, President of American Values told The Brody File, “I disagreed with the Governor in 2007 on his decision. Having said that, I don’t think it is a serious problem with social conservatives today. Over the years he has been consistently pro-life and pro-family.”
Beyond those social value issues, Perry also might run into trouble with conservatives who at the time felt that Perry’s Executive Order was really an invasion by the state into the personal health decisions of parents.
After all, Perry made this HPV vaccine mandatory even though parents did have the option to opt out (rather than the option to opt in). It sure doesn’t sound much like a Tea Party move at all by a guy who loves to claim the Tea Party mantle. He could get beat up on this, too.
It makes The Brody File wonder the following: Will Rick Perry really have much credibility to go after Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare plan since Perry himself was calling for an individual mandate on his HPV vaccine?
After all, Perry trumpets the idea that each state should determine its own laws. (Just read his latest book). Isn’t that what Romney was essentially doing?
This is an issue worth keeping an eye on for sure.