Entries in HPV (4)


HPV Vaccine Fact Check: Perry Misstated Relationship with Dying Woman

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Although Rick Perry said at a debate Thursday night that he was “lobbied” by a 31-year-old woman suffering from cervical cancer to require young girls to receive the HPV vaccine, he did not meet the cancer patient until after he had already issued his executive order mandating the vaccine.

It was a rhetorical high point for Perry at the debate in Florida, when he put a personal face on the story and pointed to his friendship with a woman who later died of cervical cancer.

“I got lobbied on this issue.  I got lobbied by a 31-year-old young lady who had stage 4 cervical cancer,” said Perry.  “I spent a lot of time with her.  She came by my office.  She talked to me about this program.  I readily admitted we should have had an opt-in but I don’t know what part of opt out most parents don’t get and the fact is I erred on the side of life and I will always err on the side of life as a governor, as a president of the United States.”

The woman Rick Perry mentioned in the Republican debate Thursday was Heather Burcham.  But what Perry left out in his answer was that he met her after he issued his executive order.

Perry issued the executive order requiring sixth grade girls receive the HPV vaccine in early February of 2007, and he met Burcham while she was lobbying the Texas legislature to uphold the governor’s executive order.  The legislature ultimately ruled against Burcham and Perry and did away with the vaccine mandate.

As first reported by Ted Oberg with ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston, the pair struck up a friendship despite the Texas legislature revoking the governor’s mandate.  Perry invited Burcham to a ranch, rode motorcycles with her and even sat at her bedside during her final days.  Burcham died in July 2007.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Former Adviser: Bachmann Blew Her Momentum with Vaccine ‘Mistake’

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Rep. Michele Bachmann just can’t seem to hold onto any momentum for long, a fate partly of her own making, according to one former top staffer.

The Minnesota Congresswoman won the Iowa straw poll a month ago, only for her victory to lose some of its luster as Texas Gov. Rick Perry leapt into the presidential race and instantly surged to the front of the GOP pack.  But Bachmann didn’t help herself any by joking about a deadly hurricane.

Then, this week, she stole the show at Monday’s debate in Tampa, Florida by going toe to toe with Perry.  Not only did she criticize his executive order to require young girls to receive inoculations against a virus that can cause cervical cancer, but she questioned whether the mandate was made in exchange for help -- financial and otherwise -- from pharmaceutical giant Merck.  But just like her Ames win, Bachmann’s impressive debate performance has now been overshadowed, in no small part by her own doing.

No sooner had she won praise for rejuvenating her campaign with her aggressive showing at the debate than Bachmann opened herself up to criticism by claiming that the vaccine can cause mental retardation.

“I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate,” Bachmann told NBC’s Today Show Tuesday morning.  “She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.”

The pushback to that claim -- that the vaccine can cause retardation -- came hard and fast.  Perry Wednesday said Bachmann’s statement had “no truth and no basis in fact,” although such criticism was to be expected from the rival on the receiving end of the statements.  What really hurt Bachmann’s case were the responses that came from outside the GOP race, even from her former campaign manager, no less.

Ed Rollins, who up until Labor Day weekend was running Bachmann’s campaign, told NBC’s Hardball that “she’d have been better if she stayed on issue.”

“The quicker she admits she made a mistake, the better,” Rollins said.

The pushback didn’t stop there either.  The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement denouncing Bachmann’s suggestions.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to correct false statements made in the Republican presidential campaign that HPV vaccine is dangerous and can cause mental retardation,” it said.  “There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement.”

Bioethicist Art Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania said he would donate $10,000 to the charity of Bachmann’s choice if she can produce a patient who was left mentally retarded by injections of the Gardasil vaccine.

For her part, Bachmann later said she was merely “reporting what this woman was reporting last night at the debate,” as she told Chris Matthews on Hardball.

But it was Bachmann who called attention to that woman’s unverified statements, relaying them to a national audience as if they were fact.  For a candidate who already has a reputation for gaffes, such comments are nothing new and, therefore, could prove all the more harmful.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bachmann Needles Perry on HPV Vaccines

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, New Hampshire) -- Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., made HPV vaccinations a sticking point in Monday night’s Republican presidential debate.

Bachmann slammed Gov. Rick Perry for his 2007 executive order mandating that all sixth-grade Texas girls be required to get vaccinations against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus linked to cervical cancer. Bachmann said Perry’s mandate was a “government injection through executive order” and a “violation of a liberty interest.”

She charged that Perry’s order also endangered young girls who might experience negative side effects to the vaccine.

Perry said his 2007 order was “a mistake,” as he did earlier this year. But he also defended his decision, saying that it was an attempt to protect young women against cervical cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost all cervical cancer is caused by HPV.
The Texas legislature voted to override Perry’s order, and the law was never enacted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry Changes Tune on HPV Vaccine after Entering 2012 Race

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- There was a break in Gov. Rick Perry's Texas swagger this week as he dialed back his previously unwavering support for the vaccine Gardasil, which protects against the human papillomavirus, or HPV.

The most recent entry into the 2012 GOP presidential field said this week that it was a "mistake" to issue an executive order in 2007 requiring all sixth-grade Texas girls to have the vaccine, which prevents cervical cancer, in order to attend public schools.

"I'm one of the first to say we didn't approach this issue right at all," Perry said Monday in an interview with Des Moines, Iowa-based WHO radio.  "We shouldn't have done it with an executive order.  We should have worked with the legislature."

Perry's change of heart comes in the same week that he officially announced his candidacy for president.

"He's got to appease the far right to win the primary, then he's got to go back over the bridges he's burned" in order to win a general election, said Texas Democratic Rep. Jessica Farrar, who supported the vaccine mandate.

But a Perry spokesman said the issue was about perserving life, a stance the Texas governor has maintained throughout his 10-year tenure.

"The Governor stands on the side of life and thats what this issue was about.  The Governor erred on the side of life," said Perry spokesman Mark Miner.

Perry's decision to mandate the vaccine through an executive order instead of pushing the measure through the Texas legislature -- where it was unlikely to pass -- caused some people to question his motives, said Farrar.

The legislature quickly overturned order, preventing it from being enacted, but prior to this week, Perry had defended his decision.

Some argue that Perry's mandate had less to do with getting ahead of the curve on cancer prevention and more to do with his campaign donors.

Merck & Co., which at the time was the sole manufacturer of the HPV vaccine, contributed $6,000 to Perry's re-election campaign in 2005 and 2006, and Perry's former chief of staff, Mike Toomey, formerly worked as a lobbyist for the drug company.

"That's why his motives were questioned," Farrar said.  "I don't even try to second-guess this governor.  He has a pattern of doing things for large donors.  Public policy is not at the front part of his mind.  He's looking for votes and he's looking for campaign contributions."

Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner dismissed that criticism.

"Governor Perry has always stood on the side of protecting life, and that is what this issue was about," Miner said Tuesday, according to the Washington Post.  "These allegations are false and have no merit."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio