Dr. Paul Offit and Dr. Jon Poling: New England Journal of Medicine
Dr. Bernadine Healy: Don’t Make it Personal

A Prayer for Amanda Peet

Grace_of_godBy Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

In an interview with Cookie magazine when Amanda Peet first called parents who didn’t vaccinate their children over fears of autism “parasites”, I thought I should be angry and upset with her.

When she went on Good Morning America to say much of the same thing I figured maybe I should take her advice and not listen to celebrities. 

But the more I thought about it neither anger or apathy seemed like the appropriate response.

Instead I find myself looking for some word which probably doesn’t exist in the English language, but if it did would probably mean something along the lines of, “you poor, ignorant fool!  I was once in your shoes and I can’t believe I was ever so stupid!”

Because most of us started off like Amanda Peet.  I know I did.  I’m really not the rebel type.  My parents were Catholic.  I’m Catholic.  My dad was a lawyer and my mom was a teacher.  I was a lawyer and am now a teacher.  My parents voted . . .  and I pretty much vote the same.

That isn’t to say I didn’t have a few independent thoughts.  I was an English major after all.  And then there were those girls I brought home who never quite fit the parental ideal.  But for the most part I towed the party line on things.  I certainly did when it came to vaccinations.

Do you know the first time I heard that vaccinations might be related to developmental problems?  It was from a good friend who worked in epidemiology for the California public health system.  Hell, I think in a few years he might end up running the damned thing.

And do you know what I said to him?  I said, “those people are crazy.”  I couldn’t think of anything more irresponsible than not vaccinating your children. 

It was only reading Karyn Serrousi’s book on the gluten/casein free diet and having my then 18 month old son Ben go mute after receiving his shots that I started to change.  All right, let’s be honest.  When that happened I became a radical.  I’m sure for every one of you there was a similar moment.  We remember it like we remember where we were when we heard about the 9/11 attacks.

If it was “coincidental” that my son went mute after his 18 month vaccinations, then why did he recover after putting him on a gluten/casein free diet.  He was only mute for 12 days, but it took a year for him to catch up to his peers in language, and two years for his sensory problems to go away.  Ask his mother.  She’s a speech therapist with nearly 20 years experience.

My daughter started to have problems after her 6 month round of shots, right after going off of breast milk.  I didn’t make the connection with her.  It makes me shudder to think of our ignorance.  We continued to vaccinate her, even when she was having seizures in the doctor’s office!  There are times even now when I can’t fully comprehend the holocaust which is happening to our children and how for so long I was blind to it.

But I trusted the experts, just like Amanda Peet is doing now.  Who among us, with a healthy child, had enough chutzpah to disagree with the medical community?  I didn’t.

And so I won’t be angry with Amanda Peet, and I won’t ignore her.  I doubt I’ll ever get the chance to meet Amanda Peet in person, but on the off-chance that any of you do, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to educate her.  I hope you’ll remember how much you trusted the medical community before your beautiful child was brought into the world and harmed so grievously.

Because that’s where Amanda Peet is right now. 

To her we’re the barbarians, the flat-Earthers, the renegades from science who want to bring back the deadly plagues of mankind.  In reality, we’re like those cautious scientists from every science fiction movie you’ve ever seen, who say, “maybe it’s not a good idea to bring back dinosaurs”, or “maybe we shouldn’t build that bio-weapon”, or “maybe we shouldn’t put computers in control of nuclear bombs.”

I hope we will try to educate Amanda Peet.  I hope we will show her our best, that part of us which remembers when we too, believed in the medical community.  I know it will be difficult, but the legacy I want to leave my children is that in this struggle we displayed our very best selves.

Fight hard.  Fight fair.  And say a prayer for Amanda Peet. 

A prayer that she’ll soon see through the lies of people like Dr. Offit, and others in the medical community, without having to lose a child in the process.

Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor for Age of Autism.




Honestly....your words can tame a savage beast - ME!

Thank you for reminding me of the lessons autism brings. Compassion - Patience - Understanding. It is far too easy to become embroiled in it's fierce manipulation of bitterness, anger and regret. A terrible stronghold.

The heart and soul, in your words, touches that in all of us.

Mom of 1 vaccinated and 2 unvaccinated. learnedmylesson

This was very well said.


As a daughter of someone born in a foreign country that for many years did not have access to vaccine programs, I am all too familiar with stories of infectious disease outbreaks and how devastating they were. Measles alone kills 250,000 children worldwide, and is entirely preventable with a vaccine.

Cherrymam, children in New Delhi face blindess, sterility, brain damage and death, and that's because so many are not vaccinate. The tone of your words is beyond belief; there is a reason we have strived to combat measles, polio, smallpox, tetanus and other diseases - because they are killers, and have killed untold millions worldwide.

I find articles like this to be directly responsible for measles outbreaks that are now occuring in this country. The more Americans that fall victim to this disease, one that is entirely preventable, the bigger outcry will come for those who choose not to vaccinate. Good luck!!


As I drive around New Delhi and gaze out of my car window at the poor children- skinny, dressed in rags, but smiling and playing with their friends I think,
Blessed are the poor in vaccines for they shall inherit the earth.
You see, THEY wont have autism and fail to marry and have kids.
And now, having said that, lets not get distracted- Lets stick to whats important like asking these AAP folks a thousand times over "Why are you insisting on giving mercury to pregnant women and 6 month old babies?"

Myra Chu

My 13mth old daughter has suffered from food allergies and eczema since she was 2 mths old. I made an appointment for her MMR today for 9am. Very unexpectedly my doctor's office postponed to 4pm. At lunch time I caught up with a friend who's friend's daughter developed autism after her MMR. I took this as a serious sign from the universe along with the postponed MMR that I shouldn't allow this to happen to my precious baby. Thankyou for this post. I cancelled the appointment immediately. This is her whole life hanging on one decision and the answer is NO! I won't throw the dice and cross my fingers. The stakes are too high.


I too said a prayer for Amanda's daughter, especially after hearing that Amanda's mom suffers from Parkinsons Disease. I recently read that there may be an environmental connection to Parkinson's. I wonder if she will release her daughters vaccination schedule. Is she getting all the vaccines, including the 2 stage flu shot with thermisol, since at the ECBT conference she did not seem to be concerned over mercury exposure. I also do not think she understands the Jenny thing. It's her story that people are listening to, the celebrity is just attracting the press part. Quite frankly, I never thought I would find myself cheering a Playboy model with a raunchy sense of humor, but autism makes strange bedfellows (LOL). I think Jenny has been a wonderful spokesperson and I am greatful she has come forward and put herself in the line of fire. As far as listening to celebrities, would Amanda suggest that we not listen to Michael J. Fox regarding Parkinsons research? How about all the PSA's with anti smoking or anti drug messages that use celebrities? I also think that the ECBT conference had an anti-parent/grass root organization spin. Once again, parent organizations have been very successful with other issues: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, National Center for Exploited Children (spured on by The Walshes), and The Love Canal Homeowners Association to name a few. Are all these "radical/fringe", ill informed, web reading parents? Or are they parents, who saw their children injured and fall through the cracks in the system. They then banded together and tried to forge a positive change SO THAT OTHER CHILDREN WOULD NOT BE INJURED! I honestly do not think that Amanda Peet understands that she has put herself in the middle of this mess.

Avery's mom

It's interesting to hear you use the word holocaust- that word flashed through my mind when I was watching video of the Green Our Vaccines rally. The part where the people there turned around and held up photos of vaccine-injured children to the media, I suddenly had the image of a memorial or monument there on the grass to all the victims of this neurological holocaust.

It's one thing for a parent to have their child vaccinated out of trust in the medical establishment- it's something else entirely to use one's position to get others to do this without understanding the issue.



This is a wonderful view of what is happening and how to look at it. Thanks for sharing! I feel the same.


i too thought vaccine's were the way to go. i remember going on the ari website after my son got diagnaosed and thinking about what a fool i had been and how the docs let me hurt my baby. i have now been yelled at by my pedi because i want to space out my daughters vaccine schedule.
i won't follow in line this time.

sign lady

I would like to say a prayer for Amanda Peet to find a new agent and a new publicist. Maybe it's not too late for someone whose knowledge goes beyond The Best Table At The Polo Lounge to mop up the mess her current handlers obviously made when they neglected to research what kind of impact her new position as spokesactress for ECBT would have on her career. Her movie premiers and other public events will undoubtedly be accompanied by parents like us, carrying signs denouncing her decision to be the vaccine industry's mouthpiece, forever more.

This whole spectacle truly underscores what a devious, selfish person Dr. PrOffit is; he knew exactly what he was getting Peet into when he ensnared her. He knew how unpopular his actions had made him, and he had no empathy whatsoever for her or her career. No doubt, he feels the end justifies the means.

Dust off your signs, folks. We can't let Amanda Peet forget what a terrible decision she and her handlers made.

Skyler's mom

I just wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you. There are no words to describe how my heart goes out to each of your precious children. I thank you today because you are helping to spread this message. My child only received one shot (the newborn Hep B) before I read some of your stories. I immediately stopped vaccinating, and I have a healthy happy baby boy. So even though there are still people out there ignorant to this ordeal, you ARE making a difference and saving some babies from your experiences. I will be eternally grateful.


I'm trying, I'm trying but it is asking a lot from me. In my eyes, there is a struggle going on with the medical community who for so long have been regarded as gods now that they are faced with an EDUCATED parent. I remember growing up with my parents treating the priests and doctors with that same reverence (yes, I'm a former Catholic). So faced with educated parents, doctors can only deny, call you crazy and tell you not to question in their attempt to maintain their status. And, celebrities? They are often the most uneducated people around. Right now I'll pray for the innocent children harmed by greed and pride. Thanks for the support your wonderful site offers my family.

Robin Nemeth

Amanda is getting paid for what she is doing. Sure, I’ll say a prayer for her children. But for her? I don’t think so. They say to be careful what you wish for, and I don’t know that I see that much difference between a wish a prayer.

Too many of the people I see around me these days seem to maintain their cozy standard of living and their security with absolutely nothing expected of them but that they say what they’re told to say, and shut up when they’re told to shut up.


When my son regressed after his 18 month vaccines, I had this mothers instinct that it was the vaccines that did it, but kept it to myself. I admitted it to my husband, but quietly felt I was crazy for thinking such a thing. When we got the internet, I remember looking up vaccines and autism and seeing I wasn't the only one out there thinking such a thing!

curt linderman sr

I have to say, I was also a member of the "I'm going to vaccinate because it's the right thing to do as a good parent" crowd, but I NEVER heard anything about the damage that vaccines could do. I don't know if it would have made a difference or not. But I can tell you one thing...now that I am "one of those radicals" I have NO tolerance for idiots on their soap box speaking on the virtues of vaccines. They are destroying kids and deserve no tolerance. Yes...they deserve our prayers, but truthfully, (and I know this is really bad) but I wish them my life. screw them!


This is one of the best pieces I have ever read on the topic.


Kent, great point. It's seems so long ago even a different life, it was a different life as a matter of fact, I had a healthy baby in that life! I thought "Oh my those earthy crunchy type people who won't vaccinate, they are over the edge and endangering my vaccinated child."

Then I read the facts and cried.

Then I became and earthy crunchy mom and lately there hasn't been a day that goes by that I don't start to cry watching my son show longer and longer periods of normalcy and just pure happiness. Joyfulness.

It's hard to face the fact(s) government/CDC/pharmaceutical companies truly put profits before the health of our children ... I sobbed reading the Simpsonwood transcript a few years ago when my son was at his worst ...


Oh dear. I remember when I first moved to the United States and heard an Every Child By Two commercial. I can recall thinking “I can’t believe they have to advertise for this, who wouldn’t vaccinate?”. Sometime later during a conversation with a chiropractor, he revealed that his children weren’t vaccinated. I can recall thinking “good for some since the rest of us are vaccinating our children”. sigh. Karma bites.....hard! My arse is still smarting! So as a parent who at one time unquestioningly trusted the “experts” I too can feel pity for Amanda Peet.

BUT.... as much as I thought those things, I would never have had the 100% confidence or chutzpah to say them out loud never mind get on a soapbox with a megaphone and call parents “parasites”.

I no longer live in the US nor do I watch much American television. Consequently I am at times oblivious to many celebrities including Jenny McCarthy and Amanda Peet. But if you took away the celebrity aspect of Jenny McCarthy, you would still have a mother of a child that was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. What value would Amanda Peet have to ECBT without her celebrity? And doesn’t it take on a whole HUH? moment when Amanda Peet states that the reason she wanted to be a celebrity spokesperson for ECBT is to tell others not to listen to celebrities?


Great piece. I have friends who recently had beautiful baby boys, one of them with family history of autoimmune/gastro problems whose baby already has had some of those issues. I've tried my best, gingerly and then not so gingerly, to warn them about vaccines. These are PhD type women who know, in an off-hand sort of way, what we've been through. The response I get is generally along the lines of "thanks for the info, but I just really think we're going to vaccinate because it seems irresponsible not to." And there it is, with only a hint of condescension, probably parroted back from their AAP pediatrician. All that's left is to pray that they are among the lucky ones and be there for them if they aren't.



Great piece!

I used to be a member of the "those people are crazy" club. I come from a long line of government employees, military men, and proud Americans.

I continued vaccinating my child when he was no longer speaking, was having severe diarrhea, and had been diagnosed with autism. It wasn't until he started having seizures and migraines after his last set of vaccines that I woke up and realized what was happening, what had happened.

When I see/hear Amanda Peet, I feel a rush of anger and sadness over what she is saying; but then I hurry and say a quick prayer to the Universe that her child (and any future children) not be injured by vaccines as our children have been.


At this point it is probably more about the paycheck to Amanda Peet than anything. Since she has put herself on the line inpublic, she will only dig in deeper on her position both consciously and subconsciously. It's only human nature.

I too thought it was stupid to no vaccinate. I made fun of my sister-in-law who decided to delay the hep-b based on advice from her sister-in-law who was a speech therapist. Now her daughter has a full-blown case of ADHD and I can't help but wonder how much worse she'd been off had she accepted the full mercury hep-b at birth.

I always considered myself an educated health consumer. I was always very interested in CAM. I though vaccines were actually GOOD for you - like pilates for your immune system . I am not sure why I thought that, but I'm thinking this is not an uncommon misconception.

Had someone (perhaps other than one goofy sister-in-law who couldn't even begin to explain her concerns) said there was a controversy about vaccines, I might have stumbled across enough information to give me pause. Aside from that, I never even CONSIDERED the issue.

This is why I think programs like Vaccinate Your Baby are playing right into the hands of those of us that want the truth to be revealed. I think this campaign is a lot more likely to make people actually consider that there is indeed a debate, rather than sway those that are on the fence.

CJ's Mommy

you havta climb to get to the high road... but usually the view is better and it's worth it... very nice.



"Instead I find myself looking for some word which probably doesn’t exist in the English language, but if it did would probably mean something along the lines of, “you poor, ignorant fool! I was once in your shoes and I can’t believe I was ever so stupid!” "

In German, there is the phrase "Ach, Du armer" (as in Ach, Du armer Mensch"). It conveys exactly what you are trying to communicate; pity, regret, even a little anger.


Beautifully stated Kent.

I would like to add one prayer. A prayer for Amanda Peet's daughter. That this little girl will not become one of 150 (95?) (76?) affected, and that this little girl will never have to go through what so many of our kids are going through.

It's prayer I say every single time these days when I meet a beautiful, engaging, smart, fully engaged in life, child under the age of five.

In agreement

Amanda Peet, there are so many like you who refuse to even look at this first hand information/observation provided by the parents of children with autism. This information cannot continue to be ignored and pushed aside. Too many people now have questions. Just think of how much more educated the NEXT generation of parents will be when it comes to vaccines. I am confident the NORM will NOT be to vaccinate without question. So let's all say a prayer that one by one people will listen to us and begin the journey from trusting the vaccines 100% to questioning everything.

Anne Dachel

You said it all. I remember thinking, "Parents think vaccines cause autism? That's crazy."

Then I remember the first time I read about mercury in vaccines. Mercury? Isn't that the stuff that's dangerous in fish? Why is it is vaccines.

That was the end of being naive and trusting for me.

I had thought there was just too much oversight for something like this to happen.

I figured health officials devoted their careers to making sure our kids had the best, safest health care in the world and I had no idea that everyone was focused on profit and self-protection before all else.

Anne Dachel
Media editor


Beautifully written!

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