In 2007, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed an executive order requiring that all girls entering the sixth grade in his state be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer. The move was controversial at the time — and that's putting it mildly. The order was quickly overturned but the decision — and the motives behind it — are back in the spotlight now that Perry is hoping to snatch the GOP presidential nomination.
Perry's vaccination order was vehemently opposed by social conservatives and green parents alike who rebelled against the idea that the state could mandate a vaccination for girls as young as 11 to protect them from a cancer caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease. Perry's order would have made Texas the first state to mandate the vaccine.
The mandate, and the possibility that Perry's decision was influenced by political contributions from the vaccine's maker — Merck — came under attack at this week's Republican debate in Florida.
Here's the footage:
Both Michele Bachmann and fellow Republican candidate Rick Santorum put Perry on the hot seat over his vaccination policy and continued to do so after the debate in fundraising appeals to their supporters.
For his part, Perry has admitted that the mandate was a mistake, but he insists that he was erring on the side of caution and protecting young girls from cancer. What do you think of Perry's decision?