Perry “Hates” Cancer, but Budget Cuts Slash HPV Tests
by Emily Ramshaw and Thanh Tan
On the presidential campaign trail, Gov. Rick Perry has explained his much-maligned effort to make the human papillomavirus vaccine mandatory for school-aged girls by saying he hates the cervical cancer it causes and will “always err on the side of saving lives.”
Yet he gets some of his biggest applause in early primary states when he brags of signing a state budget that largely defunds Planned Parenthood — which provides four times more cervical cancer screenings every year in Texas than abortions.
Perry and lawmakers curtailed funding for Planned Parenthood earlier this year by cutting the state’s family planning budget by nearly 66 percent, from $111.5 million last biennium to $37.9 million in the next two years. In Texas, these state-funded family planning services have included birth control, STD testing, breast cancer exams, and pap smears that screen for HPV, the virus that can lead to cervical cancer — but not abortions.