Until a few months ago, I was completely on board with vaccines. Both my children received routine vaccines. Even our two dogs and two cats got their regular shots too. Personally, I’m not so good about my own. Needles make me ill. I’m fairly healthy. Why go through it? I never questioned vaccine safety or necessity. I must admit, I thought parents who didn’t vaccinate their children were a bit odd, over-concerned, and occasionally paranoid. However, I have always believed it is the parents’ right to decline vaccines or any other medical treatment. Sometimes, it was a matter of religion. For others, vaccines are unnatural. They prefer a natural, organic, hippie sort of lifestyle. Of course, some people thought the government was out to control, sterilize, or kill them. Then there is medical corporate lobby that pushes vaccines on politicians, and an unreliable FDA that approves them with little testing or documentation. Whatever their reasons, parents have the right to refuse vaccines for their children.
Governor Rick Perry doesn’t agree. A few years back, he signed an Executive Order mandating that little girls receive the Gardasil shot, a vaccine that protects against an STD. A what?!?! Yes, an STD. And yes, he mandated it! In Texas, parents can refuse to vaccinate their children. Despite the wealth of misinformation, children can attend public school without vaccinations. At the time I was a strong proponent of vaccines, but requiring one without any option to refuse rings of Nazi Germany and concentration camps. If you think that’s a hyperbole, think about the scenario for a while. You have an 11 year old daughter. She’s a bit boy crazy, but really doesn’t have much of a clue about sex. You take her to the pediatrician for her yearly well visit. You expect her to measured and weighed, and to have conversations about deodorant and healthy eating. Instead your doctor says she’s required to get a shot that will protect her against an STD. “Thank you, but I think we’ll wait on that,” you say as you snarl at the doctor for bringing up STDs. You’ve raised your daughter to be modest and respectful of her body. You have an open relationship with her. You are on the path to abstinence and would prefer to deal with the issues of sex in a different environment. Maybe you’re a bit naïve and a little nervous, but this isn’t at all how you pictured it. The doctor responds that you actually don’t have a choice. The government requires it. She will get the shot. Sorry that you disagree, but it’s mandatory. It will be ok. It’s for her own good. Think of all the disease and heartache we can prevent. Work will make you free. Oh sorry, wrong propaganda phrase.
If it were me in this scenario, I probably grab my daughter and run. Unfortunately, parents didn’t. The death rate for this vaccine is abnormally high. I’ve seen claims of sterilization, repeated miscarriages later on, and other disastrous effects. So it turned out to be a bad vaccine. That’s not what concerns me as much as that it was required, forced. No choice allowed. Fans of Rick Perry say he saw the error of his ways. I disagree. He didn’t reverse his order when parents and legislators cried out. The Texas legislator passed legislation overriding that Executive Order. As a final act of his defiance of parental rights, Perry would not sign it. It went into law without his signature. Parents today again have choice and rights. But not with the help or support of Governor Perry.
Why did Rick Perry assault parental rights? I have no idea. Perhaps he thought parents were incapable of dealing with sex education and STDs. Maybe he really thought he’d rid the world of cervical cancer and later be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Conceivably he had a buddy pedaling a vaccine that no one else would buy. Maybe he’s a control freak. I can’t answer the why. All I can say is that it was wrong. I hope parents remember Perry for what he is when it comes to parental rights. Your children are the most precious people in the world. None of us are perfect parents and we will make mistakes. Those are our mistakes to make and the responsibility rests fully on us as parents. We don’t need a governor making more mistakes for us.
As a side note, recent personal research has led us to no longer vaccinate our children. We’ve found the risks often outweigh the benefits. There is a wealth of propaganda in favor of vaccinating, but one must really dig to find opposing facts. I urge you to read and research. Come to an informed decision, whatever it is. I wish I would have researched sooner.