Molly Ivins used to call Texas governor Rick Perry, "Governor Good Hair," or Governor Rick "Good Hair" Perry.
But Molly would have had a field day with this news: Texas on Friday became the first state to require school-age girls to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus that has been shown to cause cervical cancer.
The LA Times reports that Perry "signed an executive order mandating that most girls, starting in September 2008, receive the vaccination against the human papillomavirus before entering sixth grade. ... By sidestepping the Texas Legislature, Perry — a conservative Republican — avoided a showdown with GOP lawmakers and Christian organizations that oppose mandatory HPV vaccinations."
In so doing, Governor Good Hair was praised by some liberals and public health advocates. But, the Times reports, "the move drew criticism from conservative groups, which noted that the governor had accepted campaign contributions from the vaccine's manufacturer, Merck & Co.
'All Merck wanted was a mandate so the insurance companies would have to pay for this. Follow the money,' said Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, an organization that promotes socially conservative government policies. ...
Merck has been pushing for laws mandating its Gardasil vaccine in numerous states. It has also launched a TV ad campaign featuring girls and the slogan 'One less,' to signify one fewer cancer patient for each person vaccinated.
The New Jersey-based drug company donated $6,000 to Perry's reelection campaign last year, Texas campaign finance records show. One of its top Texas lobbyists, Mike Toomey, is Perry's former chief of staff."