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Anti-cancer shots are rejected in Texas

THE NATION

The Legislature blocks an effort to require girls to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus.

April 26, 2007|From the Associated Press

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Texas lawmakers rejected Gov. Rick Perry's anti-cancer vaccine order Wednesday, sending him a bill that blocks state officials from requiring the shots for at least four years.

Perry has said he is disappointed but has not indicated whether he will veto the bill.

He has 10 days to sign or veto it, or the proposal will become law without his signature.

Lawmakers can override a veto with a two-thirds vote.

The legislation passed by well over that margin in both chambers.

Republican Rep. Dennis Bonnen, the bill's House sponsor, said he thought it was fair and reasonable.

"I think the governor should see this as the Legislature making a very clear and respectful statement, and I hope he'll accept our wishes," Bonnen said.

The vaccine protects girls and women against strains of the sexually transmitted virus that cause most cases of cervical cancer and genital warts.

Perry was out of town.

His spokeswoman, Krista Moody, said his position on the vaccine law had not changed since the day he issued the order.

"The governor looks forward to a day when cervical cancer is eradicated and Texas women no longer have to cope with the devastating effects of this disease," she said, adding that the Legislature's actions would "delay that day for another four years."

Perry made national headlines in February with an executive order requiring the human papillomavirus vaccine for sixth-grade girls.

The Legislature was outraged that Perry acted without consulting it.

Just days after the governor issued the order, prominent state legislators promised to do whatever it took to overturn it, saying the anti-cancer vaccine was too new to force on Texas families.

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