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Obama Campaign Accepts Autism Mom's Info

Notebook By Allison Chapman

Earlier this month, Claudine Liss posted of her encounter with Senator Barack Obama… “Last Friday evening, September 5, 2008, I had the opportunity to ask Senator Barack Obama about childhood vaccine safety/choice.  His response, “I am not for selective vaccination, I believe that it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio.”

I don’t think even Claudine knew what kind of reaction this would create in a community where so many of us watched our children regress immediately following vaccines.  I know when I read those words my heart sank.  I thought; we have failed to give him the proper amount of information, does he really know what the magnitude of this question was, etc.  As a personal lifelong lefty as well as an A-CHAMP/ACC non partisan district leader, I felt I had failed in some way to make sure he was receiving the information our community so desperately needed him to have. 

Possibly I had fallen into a comfortable rut just hoping he was being informed by all sides and that we were at least being represented amongst that information.  Then I realize his answer implied that he may have thought he was being asked “are you pro or anti vaccine”, thinking only black and white vs. all of the gray we are familiar with.  The Polio response is often given when politicians are asked that question.  Obama must not be aware that the current polio vaccine in America is not a live virus vaccine and does not create herd immunity. 

Hoping that this was the case I started a call in plea, asking that he meet with someone in our community, someone with the science, the deep well of biological science.  Possibly a Dr. Poling, or someone from the organization I am proud to call myself a part of A-CHAMP or now ACC (The Autism Action Coalition).  I do know that he has promised to remove mercury from vaccines but we need broader action.  I realized the call in effort would be difficult as they get thousands of phone calls everyday and that a computer was not going to be able to separate out questions as specific as we had.  So the angle changed, I developed some questions to clarify what he meant by his statement, with the help of other ACC members and delivered them to his legislative staff via e-mail. 

Unfortunately, due to rules and regulations they cannot handle campaign questions, so I was told it would be forwarded.  The next day in my inbox was an invitation to a rally in Manchester, NH.  I decided to cover all of my bases and deliver the questions and some of the science to the rally today and hopefully get a staffer with some pull to deliver them.   
   
When the day started off this morning I didn't think I was going to be able to accomplish much.  There were thousands of people at the rally in NH and when I asked some of the volunteers if there were staffers I could talk to, they didn't know much.  They told me to keep asking as I got closer.  As I got through security and made it in, I thought I probably had gotten there too late for anyone of importance to get to.  I was shuffled along with everyone to standing room only at one side of the stage, and was in a sea of people.  Obama gave a very good speech in my opinion and it was quite a sight to see so many people anxious and excited to see him speak.

After he spoke, to my surprise, he started over in the general direction of where I stood.  However, I was about 20 rows of people behind the fence.  He went by and shook some hands but kept on going.  Many people tried to move with him so at that point I got as close as I could and took the place of where those people had been.  At this point I was 3 rows back from the fence.  Amazingly, he came back the same way and caught my eye.  I started to yell "Senator, I'm a parent……" He touched his ear to let me know he couldn't hear so people quieted down. 

I repeated "I'm a parent of a child who regressed into autism after his vaccinations.  I'm here to help clarify last week's comments. Do you think one of your staffers could take my notebook??"  He said, "Yes" and called someone over and they took my notebook and Obama shook my hand.  This is the same notebook I prepared for Senators Kennedy and Kerry for the "Green our Vaccines" rally. 

On the top was a request to clarify what he meant by his comment last week and my information.  The second page was the questions developed by myself and ACC.  So by some amazing miracle in this sea of people, I was able to hand deliver the questions…He was gracious and smiled and I really hope efforts will pay off and he will get back to us.  I will let everyone know if and or when that happens.  I want to thank everyone that called into the campaign.  Today I felt hopeful again.

Allison Chapman lives in Massachusetts with her husband and children, including a son with autism. 

Comments

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Allison C. Chapman

Allison,

I just want to say Thank you so much. It personally means the world to me that you are going above and beyond for autistic children. My name is Allison Chapman too and I have a nine year old son who has autism.

Allison C.

PhillyLisa

Thank you, Allison, for reaching out to Senator Obama. I'm going to the McCain-Palin rally in Media, PA on Monday. I don't think I stand a snowball's chance in hell of getting close enough to him to hand-deliver anything, but I'm going to give it my best shot. But, I'm going to need some help from you guys! I'm really pretty new to all this, and I need to quickly gather together the most compelling scientific information, studies, articles, etc. If anyone can post links to the most important information that will really get our message across, I can get everything together this weekend. There is so much out there, and I would need years to do this on my own. So, if I can get some help with this, I will do my best to get the info to McCain at the rally. If I'm not successful, one of the local campaign workers tells me he can forward something to McCain's daughter. I'll keep trying.

MT/hellokittiemama

Kudos to Allison for the hand-delivery.

I would love to see an official response from both platforms on the issue of vaccination choice.

Autistic Living created "Tell Me Where You Stand" which has pre-written letters that you can click and send.. demanding the same. We, as Americans, deserve an official response to where our future presidents stand on this important issue!

http://www.tellmewhereyoustand.com/

Greg Read

Allison,

Thank you for taking the time and having the perseverance to deliver the facts to Obama.

The Autism epidemic transcends left vs right and who ultimately ends up in office. The president(whomever that may be), congress, and the general public need to be educated on vaccine and other environmental triggers as they apply to Autism.

You are a true advocate for parents and our children alike. Keep up the great work!

Grace

Carolyn,
Who would you rather deal with - a man who tells you what he thinks you want to hear but never follows thru, or a man who tells you what he thinks even when you don't want to hear it & does his best to follow thru with his convictions? (Obama's convictions are uncertain since he's never really demonstrated any - other than voting 4 against protecting infants born alive following botched abortions -- even Barbara Boxer supported that bill)

Mr. StraightTalk is hardly my ideal, but a heckuva lot more trustworthy than Mr. SweetTalk.

Here's what our country can expect with an Obama presidency -
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-oped0916byrnesep16,0,188873.story

The O looks out for himself - so only those of us who might be useful to him will get any "grease". This is anything but change - it's purely politics as usual. We dumped a legislature led by the GOP (Getting Over Paid) for one led by the DNC (Do Nothing Congress). Yes, we can change DC - from bad to worse. I can't afford to pay more taxes!!!

Carolyn Coughlin

I am terrified that anyone is trusting McCain on this. Bush said he would get rid of thimerasol in 2000. He lied. Thimerasol was slated to get removed in 1999 but that was quickly derailed and he did nothing.

And guess what, the Republicans tried to give vaccine companies RETROACTIVE immunity in the Patriot Act. I believe they will say ANYTHING and exploit ANY issue to get elected. Please do your research. McCain = Bush.

Karen

I tend to believe also that both parties will play the field in this battle. Drug companies have to much $ in the system. I would like to point out, that if Obama get elected, the parents who are using homopathic medicine to help their children will probably lose that insurance that will cover it. That is if we get universal heath care that Obama supports they will be able to dictate whatthey will cover. Scary!!

Gatogorra

Fantastic job, Allison. You went above and beyond as usual.

I hopped on the phone plea campaign. Hopefully something will come of it. If not, try, try again and again and again.

--fellow Mass mom

Cherry Sperlin Misra

Dear Alison, Thankyou thankyou, for trying to help children of the world. Your efforts give us hope renewed.

Maria Loulourgas

Great job Allison! You've got the right attitude and initiative! Thank you for work well done... I second Cheryl's comment!

Michelle O'Neil

I have chills reading this. So powerful!

Cheryl Gaudino

Great job, Allison! Proud to be your friend :)

Carolyn

Allison,

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to reach out to Senator Obama and inform him of our positions.

After receiving the facts he will be better informed to perhaps give his stance. I am looking forward to "hearing" what he has to communicate to you.


Kim Davis

Obama is not my choice for President. Still, I want to thank you, Allison, for doing your best to inform Sen. Obama.

Whether he becomes President, or goes onto other public service, I'm glad to know he will have accurate information that will enable him to make informed choices in the future

Kelli Ann Davis

Allison:

Two words: YOU ROCK.

Kelli

Elucidatus

I am torn between country and family....

The candidates still don't understand why we need to have Thimerosal removed from the vaccines in the first place. They don't understand that there are a small percentage of children that cannot detoxify from the other ingredients that are in the vaccines. It is not just Thimerosal, however, it is a start in the right place. We either need to clean the vaccines to the point where there are no toxins or stop vaccinating all together. We all know that neither one will happen.

Somehow I get a strange feeling that each party is one in the same. Each speaks about change but not once have they elucidated their plans as to how the change will begin and develop into something of true substinance. The candidates must begin to understand the synergistic effects of all ingredients within the vaccines to truly make a change in the vaccine/pharma industry. Just by removing one toxin and replacing it 10 fold with another does not make the vaccine any safer! The Autism count will continue to rise year after year and the vaccine industry will not be at fault because they did (supposedly) remove the thimerosal using the filtering process. Think of it now, Thimerosal in undetectable trace amounts and all other toxins increased sometimes 10 fold to take the place of Thimerosal.

We are fighting in a ring where the rules are made by the vaccine industry and big pharma who continue to change the rules. All we need is one lucky punch which I give credit to the Polins and McCarthy but its gonna take more than luck to stumble the vaccine makers. We need the support of the President. Please forgive me fellow parents but I don't think either candidate has what it takes to help us achieve a win for safe/non-toxic effective vaccines.

However, I think there is still hope.

Kevin Barry

Hi Allison,

Great job reaching out to Senator Obama!

"ACHAMP: What will you do to protect Americans, especially young children and pregnant women, from exposure to mercury through vaccines?

Obama: (1) I support the removal of thimerosal from all vaccines and (2) will work to ensure that Americans have access to vaccines that are mercury free."

(1) The question neither candidate has answered is will they ORDER the removal of thimerosal from all vaccines. If the next President does not ORDER removal, nothing will change. Support is not enough. We don't want Obama/McCain to support a bill banning Thimerosal that may not get through Congress.

(2) Obama/McCain do not have to do anything to ensure access to Thimerosal-free versions of vaccines. For example, Americans already have "access" to the @ 8% of flu shots made without Thimerosal in 2008. Access won't protect 92% from a neurotoxin.

Garbo

I am always so moved by all the gutsy parents on this site! Way to go!

Cathy R.

Allison,
thank you!
Cathy

Allison Chapman

I would like to clarify something. Robyne mentioned she thinks McCain already has a handle on our situation. Unfortunately that is really just a guess in reference to his selective vaccination stance. McCain has met with our parents, did write a letter to the HELP committe to do hearings but hasn't answer the A-CHAMP/ACC questionnaire yet nor has he ever come out with his stance on selective vaccination that I know of.
Both Candidates have said that thimerosal should be investigated. But for this specific issue I would not feel safe with the other camp either. Obama and Biden both answered the A-CHAMP/ACC questionnaire during the primaries and Obama said he would remove mercury from vaccines. His answers to the questionnaire can be viewed at http://www.autismactionnetwork.org/

Donna

Way to go! You can't get any better than that as far as delivery. Not sure where my vote is going yet, though I think I know, but whichever candidate brings it to the forefront more will inspire the other to do so as well, or at least hopefully. Kudos for your refusal to give up!

Pasquale R. Notaro

Agreed no matter who wins there needs to be change. Perhaps "Autism Yesterday" can be sent to both parties. Life does imitate art.

Well done Allison!

Marty Johnson

I tend to lean more Conservative/Independent on issues (smaller government/less gov. in my life) but I always vote for whomever I feel best represents me whatever the party. That being said I agree with the other poster, McCain is the only politician who's said he wants to investigate the link between vaccines and Autisma and admits there could be a link. Very couragous to say as a US Senator. Here's our group on Facebook, Parents of Special Needs Children for McCain/Palin. http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=25806337103&ref=share
WE have tried to put as much info on it about them so people don't have to search all over the net to find it. Regardless of your choice in November, thank you for being such an advocate for our kids and great mother.
Marty

WRY

Thank you so much for doing this. I know those rallies are overwhelming. You made it sound less difficult than it was I'm sure.

I understand that Senator McCain has been more outspoken about the vaccine/autism link. He said publicly he was open to exploring whether they were dirty, didn't he?

KarenAtlanta

Thank you a million times over from a Republican. No matter who wins this race we want "whoever" occupies the White House to have their facts straight.
Thank you for fighting through the crowds for our kids, who fight each and every day to overcome vaccine damage.
AWESOME!
Good that your concerns were accepted and you were not brushed away by security.
You are one gutsy Mom Allison!

robyne rohde

As a Reagan Republican who votes for the person, not the party....I believe that McCain and Palin have a much better handle on our plight. I too have a child with regressive autism and I didn't hear Obama or Biden mention anything about 'special needs' or autism in their acceptance speeches. Thank you for working so hard to be heard....but it appears that McCain/Palin are already aware of the problem and I'm putting my money on them.

Maurine Meleck

The above is the reason you are super mom, super advocate for the autism community and super friend to me.
Thank you, thank-you, thank-you.
maurine meleck

Christopher Chapman

Proud to have 3 beautiful kids with you and that you are taking action in their behalf.

It will be in his interest to take this seriously as I know there are many people basing their voting decisions on the action/inaction he responds with.

Dana Read

Allison,

Thank you for your efforts. You are amazing.

sdtech

Allison:

Your persistence is such an inspiration. Thank You.

Tanners Dad

Great Job... I know I have called, written, and emailed. I asked for clarity on that statement and a response to his home state voting down our Insurance bill for our kids. Now we now the troops have been notified by land, sea, air, and Hand... Any one have a fire that we can send smoke signals or just light one under their A@@:). Thanks again!

Fielding J. Hurst

OK. I could not be any more impressed! Great job.

Jeanne

Awesome!

dan olmsted

way to go! i've hand-delivered some of my own reporting to people like tom insell, william raub of hhs and others. that can't say they never knew ...

Theresa

Great job Allison! please let us know what happens.

Teresa

Allison,

This was so great to read! Thank you for your diligence and optimism as it paid off. I hope he answers you soon and more importantly, demonstrates his concern for this issue. Asking for more information, committing to a plan that has our children's best interest laid out, and understanding the need for flexibility in regards to the vaccine program, would be key.
Keep us posted!

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