by Brian Shilhavy – Editor, Health Impact News

In 2007 Governor Rick Perry signed an executive order mandating that girls in the state of Texas be vaccinated with the Gardasil vaccine. It was later over-ruled by the Texas state legislature. Watch how he handles the criticism over this executive order in the most recent GOP debate:

Rick Perry basically made two statements in defense of the criticisms. First, regarding the executive order, he states that there was an “opt out” for parents. But was there really an opt out? Here is what the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc. said at the time about this supposed “opt out’:

“Opting-Out” of HPV Vaccine WILL NOT WORK for Many in Texas

Governor Perry is misleading legislators and families in Texas by claiming that they will be able to “opt-out” of having their 6th grade daughter vaccinated with the vaccine for the sexually transmitted virus HPV. For many families currently, the exemption isn’t worth the piece of paper it is printed on. Besides the simple fact that parents should not have to get permission from the state to make informed consent medical decisions for their own children, here are four reasons why “opting-out” of sate mandated vaccines doesn’t work for many families in Texas:

  1. “Opt-out” or Conscientious Exemption to Vaccination Process is a Bureaucratic Nightmare To get the exemption form, parents must first submit a written form to State Health Department in Austin which forces the disclosure of the child’s full name, birthdate, and mailing address. The Health Department takes those written requests and creates yet another form on which they print the child’s same personal information that the parent had to send to health department, and the Health Department sometimes takes weeks to mail out these forms inevitably disrupting the child’s school attendance. The Health Department only sends the forms by U.S. mail, and once the parent receives the forms, they must be notarized within 90 days of submitting them and then repeatedly resubmitted every 2 years even though there is no expiration set in statute. [1] Because the Health Department further eroded parental rights by publishing more rules getting rid of provisional enrolment for exemptions, (families used to have 30 days at the beginning of school to get their paperwork in), now schools participate in aggressive misleading education campaigns touting “no shots – no school” while not informing families of the exemption or the instructions how to obtain it.
  2. Private Schools Deny Admission The Texas attorney general issued an opinion in April of 2006, ga0420, that states that private schools do not have to accept the conscience exemption to vaccination in Texas Law[2], and many private schools do not. For example, the Dallas Diocese for Catholic Schools policy number 5024 states, “Schools will comply with immunization requirements established by the Texas Catholic Conference Education Department. Conscientious objections/waivers are not accepted in schools of the Diocese.” [3] Every new vaccine mandate causes more children with valid legal exemptions to be denied their private school education.
  3. Doctors Refuse Medical Care Even though you may be able to get a piece of paper from the state health department affirming your right to refuse state mandated vaccines for your child, just try and find a doctor who will honor it! According to a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 39% of pediatricians surveyed said they would throw kids out of practices who are not vaccinated. [4] PROVE has documented this rampant problem of doctors dismissing families utilizing a vaccine exemption in Texas to the legislature in previous sessions. Please review our report entitled “The Erosion of Public Trust & Informed Consent through Immunization Harassment, Discrimination and Coercion” prepared for the House Public Health Committee in 2005. [5]
  4. Insurance Rates Rise and Accessibility Affected Responsible parents who have secured health care coverage for their children will be forced to pay higher insurance rates whether they want the HPV vaccine or not. Even if you “opt-out” of the HPV vaccine mandate for Gardasil by Merck by securing a conscientious exemption waiver, there is no way for Texas parents to “opt-out” of the corresponding rise in their insurance premiums. § 1367.053. (a) (2) of the Insurance Code REQUIRES that any vaccine required be law must be covered by insurance. [6] This first-dollar coverage requirement results in corresponding direct hiking of insurance premiums to meet costs, and for a vaccine as expensive as this one, an HPV vaccine mandate risks putting premiums for basic health care coverage out of reach financially for even more Texas families. Additionally, we have received complaints from families where insurance companies are harassing parents with letters and discriminating on coverage based on whether or not the child has had all their state mandated vaccines.


Second, when Michele Bachmann correctly pointed out the governor’s link to the company Merck, the maker of the vaccine, and how Merck stood to make millions if not billions of dollars from his executive order, he responded that Merck had only contributed $5000.00 to his campaign and that he was “offended” that it was suggested he could be “bought” for such an amount. Here is what Dan Eggen of the Washington Post had to say about that:

Campaign disclosure records portray a much deeper financial connection with Merck than Perry’s remarks suggest.

His gubernatorial campaigns, for example, have received nearly $30,000 from the drugmaker since 2000, most of that before he issued his vaccine mandate, which was overturned by the Texas legislature.

Merck and its subsidiaries have also given more than $380,000 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) since 2006, the year that Perry began to play a prominent role in the Washington-based group, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Perry served as chairman of the RGA in 2008 and again this year, until he decided to run for president. The group ranks among the governor’s biggest donors, giving his campaign at least $4 million over the past five years, according to Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog group.


Rick Perry also defended his actions by saying he would rather “error on side of life” when making such decisions. Unfortunately, the US government’s own vaccine adverse reaction database documents that girls have died as a result of the Gardasil vaccine. Here some facts regarding Gardasil:

It’s tragic that millions of women in the U.S. have been scared by Merck’s powerful ad campaign into getting vaccinated with Gardasil. Sadly, an increasing number of formerly healthy girls are experiencing serious adverse reactions, as Barbara Loe Fisher explains in this video commentary.

In 2008 alone, the FDA documented 6,723 adverse events related to this supposed cancer-preventing vaccine, touted to be the world’s answer to cervical cancer. Two years later, there have been a total of 20,727 Gardasil-related adverse events reported to the government, including 68 deaths and 8,600 emergency room visits and 2,000 hospitalizations after Gardasil vaccinations. And it is known that less than 10 percent of all adverse events following prescription drug or vaccine reactions are ever reported so this is only the tip of the iceberg.


Michele Bachmann has since been attacked by medical groups and the national media for reporting what a mother told her about the Gardasil vaccine after the debates earlier this week. Bachmann herself was not making the statement, but reporting what a mother said regarding how her daughter was injured by the vaccine. But should parents whose children have been damaged by vaccines be silenced?

Listen to one mother speaking out regarding her daughter’s death due to the Gardasil vaccine:

I am glad that the dangers of the Gardasil vaccine are getting some media exposure. Unfortunately, most are continuing to tow the party line that these vaccines are completely safe, ignoring evidence to the contrary, and trying to silence those that question the vaccine, or vaccine policy. I hope more people will take a serious look at the vaccine issue, and that parents will be empowered to make their own decisions regarding vaccines, rather than be forced to comply with what the pharmaceutical companies want and what politicians feel are best for other people’s children.

Related article:

Vaccine Wake Up Call for Parents: Your Children Are Being Taken