Henry Waxman: Father of the Autism Epidemic as Supreme Court Reviews Vaccine Court
Managing Editor's Note: We ran this post in October of 2008. We're running it today as background about the 1986 law that is being challenged in the Supreme Court (see HERE.)
By J.B. Handley
Almost 22 years ago, on October 20, 1986, the Los Angeles Times ran a story regarding a controversial bill making its way through Congress, the headline shouted:
REAGAN LIKELY TO VETO VACCINE COMPENSATION BILL
The story went on to explain the highly divisive nature of the bill, intended to shield vaccine makers from liability, and the Reagan administration was speaking out to express their opposition:
In a strongly worded letter to House Speaker Tip O'Neil, the then secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Otis R. Bowen said, "The bill is likely to do little to assure the vaccine supply or to improve our childhood immunization efforts."
Assistant Attorney General John R. Bolton, writing to the Head of the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of the Department of Justice, said the White House opposed the legislation because it was creating, "a major new entitlement program for which no legitimate need has been demonstrated."
Ronald Reagan himself was troubled by the vaccine compensation bill and was quoted as saying, "Although the goal of compensating those persons is a worthy one, the program has…serious deficiencies."
The Reagan administration seemed to be particularly concerned with two issues: who was going to pay for the compensation required for vaccine injury, and the precedent of the federal government indemnifying private companies from liability.
The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was actually part of a larger bill, the Omnibus Health Bill (S. 1744), that was introduced in the waning days of the 99th Congress in late 1986. Leading a four-year effort to pass the controversial legislation on vaccine liability was a Congressman from the 30th District of California, Henry Waxman. Waxman's bill was supported by vaccine manufacturers, who were lobbying very hard on its behalf, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
To be fair, like many pieces of legislation, the bill had some reasonable intentions. The old DPT shot's rate of damage to children was skyrocketing, lawsuits were mounting, and vaccine makers were headed for the exits. And, the bill proposed the establishment of VAERS -- today's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System -- which beat the hell out of the non-existent system in place at the time.
In the waning days of the 99th Congress, the bill's passage was up in the air, with the White House declaring plans to veto the entire Omnibus package, due almost exclusively to the provisions in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Congressman Waxman, the bill's author, was unyielding, and worked the press to his advantage in the final days declaring:
"This bill is the first step to taking care of children hurt in the process of protecting society from epidemics and to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines. If the President vetoes it, he will leave these children to fend for themselves and leave the country with risks or shortages or skyrocketing prices. If he vetoes it, I hope he has some emergency plans to start making vaccines himself because the manufacturers tell us they may very well stop."
And, with the final threat of losing the entire manufacturing base of vaccine makers coming from Henry Waxman and the AAP, Ronald Reagan made the bill law on November 15, 1986 "with mixed feelings."
I really don't believe Henry Waxman had any idea what a monster he had actually unleashed with the passage of this 1986 bill. Reading the newspaper articles discussing the bill before it passed, I was struck by the complete absence of one idea from any of the people or organizations advocating for its passing: the need to create a supportive environment for producing NEW vaccines.
Not once, in any of the dozens of articles I read on the bill, did anyone even hint that our kids were in trouble unless many more vaccines were introduced. Waxman and others were focused solely on keeping the handful of vaccines we did have from disappearing -- the bill’s purpose was to save the existing vaccine program, not create a foundation for tripling the number of shots given to our kids.
I found a 1986 article from a Texas newspaper, the Mainland Extra, to be particularly revealing. In reminding its readers why vaccines were important, the Mainland explained that children in Texas needed to have three shots: DPT, MMR, and Polio, between the ages of 5 and 12. Shots before Age 5? Not even part of the agenda – just make sure your kids have them before kindergarten. (Who knew that only six years later, the CDC would be pushing to give Hep B on Day 1 of life!)
So, let's pause and think about this again:
The 1986 law was really enacted to save the existing vaccine program from collapsing.
At the time, the CDC's official schedule included 10 total vaccines that children were recommended to receive by the age of 5.
But, as the Texas article revealed (and the shot records of most kids born in the early 80s would corroborate) children were vaccinated with less regularity, when they were much older, and with even fewer vaccines than the recommended schedule.
Not one proponent of the bill advocated a need to motivate manufacturers to create NEW vaccines or ever cited anywhere that we were experiencing an epidemic of diseases for which we did not yet have vaccines – this notion had nothing to do with why the bill was passed.
And yet, as we all know, the passing of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986 was a watershed moment for the vaccine industry, unleashing two decades of escalating vaccine mandates, culminating in the bloated, 36 shot schedule we have today for kids under 5. The act sheltered vaccine companies, and they turned their R&D budgets back on, figured out how to ensure they bought the bureaucrats who decided which vaccines are added to the schedule through the ACIP, turned vaccine development into a profit growth engine, and the rest is history.
I believe that we won’t end the autism epidemic until we reform the vaccine schedule. While our enemies try to label us as “antivaccine,” the truth is that most of us are looking for moderation and a higher standard of caution in how and when vaccines are administered.
When you mention to a public health official the idea of reducing today’s vaccine schedule to a shorter list, like the one we used to give in the 1980s, they immediately kick into their pre-recorded lecture about the return of deadly disease, etc., etc. And yet, a close look at history, the history before vaccine manufacturers were indemnified, shows a very different truth.
In the early 1980s, with only 10 vaccines on our schedule, deadly diseases had been dealt with. There were no frightening childhood disease epidemics scaring parents and wreaking havoc on our kids. And, during the very time when the fate of the entire vaccine program potentially hung in the balance because of the liability produced from DPT, NO ONE WAS ADVOCATING THE NEED FOR MORE VACCINES.
Oh, and the autism rate was 1 in 10,000, rather than the soon to be 1 in 100 we are seeing today.
One other thing that didn’t appear in any of the articles discussing the vaccine program in 1986? The word “autism”. No one had any clue what is was back then.
Let’s go back to the vaccine schedule before 1986, and watch the autism rate plummet. You can prevent deadly disease while preventing autism, will a politician ever have the guts to try?
J.B. Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue and a contributor to Age of Autism.
In looking for motives for the passage of this atrocious bill that has caused the maiming of an entire generation of children, I put Henry Waxman 1986 compensation bill into the search engine and only the Age of Autism and the Congressional Record seem to have retained the name of Waxman with this bill. Most of the press on Waxman's history of legislation either doesn't mention it or hides it well enough to make it hard to find. This intrigues me because the media treat the vaccine injured as if they don't exist--it's a joke. Parents have made it up. And now the Congressional supporter of the bill has retired as a champion of healthcare--I got the impression he was involved in being one of the author's of Obamacare. At least that was the impression I got from reading some of the articles. Many of us think this bill was the worst piece of legislation on the planet, but the media love, love, love vaccines and repeat like a mantra that they are safe and effective. And clearly Waxman too is a media darling, so why won't he take the credit he rightly deserves for the 1986 Vaccine compensation program?
Posted by: kapoore | August 03, 2016 at 07:56 PM
Regarding Waxman, the following quote applies about his pro-vaccine stand and not caring for families who have vaccine-damaged kids..........
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
John Adams, 'Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials,' December 1770
US diplomat & politician (1735 - 1826)
Posted by: Parent, Autism and Lawsuit Advocate | October 14, 2010 at 03:46 PM
Political parties are made of individual people and as such it is best not to invest emotions for something as waxing and waning as a political party -
Look at the man and what he has done or not done. There are villians and heros on both sides. Senator Harkin and Senator Dan Burton, both opposing parties, both good men.
Posted by: Benedetta | October 14, 2010 at 08:22 AM
The article is right about Waxman. He is responsible for the autism epidemic and there isn't a vaccine he doesn't like since he get pharmaceutical money for his campaigns.
Here is an enlightening article about him from:
During the Congressional hearings, Waxman also suggested that Congressman Burton, because of his membership on the Honorary Board of the Autism Autoimmunity Project, a nonprofit organization, had engaged in a conflict of interest. Project President Ray Gallup responded to Waxman as follows:
April 14, 2000
Congressman Henry Waxman
2204 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Waxman:
I'm writing you in reference to your mentioning our organization, the Autism Autoimmunity Project and Congressman Dan Burton, Dr. Vijendra Singh and Dr. Andrew Wakefield during the Congressional Autism hearings on April 6th that my wife, my autistic son, my daughter and I attended. I understand this was initiated after Congressman Burton asked Dr. Paul Offit what his connection to Merck was. I wanted to enlighten you that Merck makes hundreds of millions a year on selling products like the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and hepatitis B vaccines. They are in the business of making a profit. Also, Merck has not done any independent, long-term safety studies on their vaccines.
Our organization, the Autism Autoimmunity Project is a non-profit organization involved in research for autism and my wife, Helen, two other parents, Denise and Doug Totter and I are trustees. All members-at-large are non-salaried and are parents/grandparents of children with acquired autism, including Congressman Dan Burton. We are interested in autoimmune research that will help our children and feel strongly that Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Singh will provide important answers.
We started this charity in October 1998 when we saw that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would not fund Dr. Singh's research and that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) criticized Dr. Wakefield's important findings. As Dr. Singh mentioned, he applied three times to the NIH for funding and did not receive one dime. This is a perfect example of the NIH not caring about our children and not caring about doing something constructive to stem the epidemic of autism. The funding we provided for Dr. Wakefield, I'm sorry to say was a paltry $9,000.00 and I understand that the total support for Dr. Wakefield was $560,000.00.
So you see our support for Dr. Wakefield was not nearly enough nor was the support for Dr. Singh, that accounted for another $28,000.00. I wonder what proportion of Dr. Offit's research and educational turnover was Merck derived? Only then can the likely substance of bias or undue influence can be determined. To date, the work that Dr. Singh and Dr. Wakefield has done has not been funded by our organization but the funding we have provided will go to future research by them.
Your comparison of our organization to Merck is way out of line and unwarranted. I would hope that you will correct your viewpoint about our organization, our members and the research we are funding. If you don't feel that your viewpoint should be corrected, then you show that you don't care enough about our children and the autism community at large. I hope that you will support NIH funding for the type of work Dr. Singh and Dr. Wakefield are doing and motivate our government health officials to become more supportive rather than adversarial. The epidemic of autism in the U.S. and overseas is directly the result of an immune insult. We need to cut the ties between the NIH, CDC, and FDA and the pharmaceutical companies. They should represent the people of our country and not the pharmaceutical lobbyists.
I hope you will not play politics as usual and instead support Congressman Burton in his efforts on behalf of our children.
Raymond Gallup, President
Autism Autoimmunity Project
cc: Congressman Dan Burton Congressman John Tierney
Congressman Stephen Horn Congressman Chris Smith
Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen Congressman Lee Terry
Congresswoman Constance A. Morella Congresswoman Judy Biggert
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Congressman Doug Ose
Congressman John M. McHugh Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth-
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton Hage
Congressman Steven LaTourette Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
Congressman Jim Turner
Posted by: Parent, Autism and Lawsuit Advocate | October 14, 2010 at 07:34 AM
Autism Grandma - "Their claim that their industry is designed to "prevent diseases" is an obvious big fat LIE because the result has been the INCREASE of diseases including autism."
Bravo! Well-stated. I completely agree. They are perpetuating a lie. The increase of diseases including autism is undeniable.
Posted by: patrons99 | October 13, 2010 at 09:35 PM
I resent blaming Waxman for legislation that Reagan signed into Law. If Age of Autism is going to single out a particular political party to vilify, you can count me out.
To CMO - the comment you made about the housing market is irrelevant and ignorant. The market crashed due to de-regulation and predatory lending. Not because of Fannie and Freddie or Barney Frank.
Let's focus on what we have in common, strengthening vaccine safety, vs. trying to blame Henry Waxman for Autism.
Posted by: October Eve | October 13, 2010 at 08:34 PM
According to historical record it is apparent that the vaccine industry had one primary purpose regarding the 1986 bill: No liability means vaccine bingo. They win and we lose.
Their intention has been to produce as many vaccines as possible and then to inject as many as possible into vulnerable babies and children, for the sole purpose of financial profit without regard to human health and life. Their claim that their industry is designed to "prevent diseases" is an obvious big fat LIE because the result has been the INCREASE of diseases including autism.
Posted by: Autism Grandma | October 13, 2010 at 06:35 PM
Bob Moffitt - “Indeed, these chronic autoimmune disorders are so prevalent they are now considered "new normal" for the developing child. How long do you think it will take before VACCINES are introduced to "prevent" them?”
Social Darwinism has replaced “survival of the fittest”. Even for those who do not believe that life is God’s creation, the “new normal” has to be a troubling. Evolution and “survival of the fittest” are irrelevant when VACCINES are now driving the definition of “normal”.
“there are over one hundred additional vaccines under development .. and .. they represent only a fraction of what the future holds.”
This is absolutely frightening! There is no logic whatsoever to this. Pharma considers our bodies to be “toxic waste dumps” with an unlimited capacity. Their genetic “engineering” is mind-numbing! They don’t need our consent. They don’t need to give us notice. We are all Guinea Pigs in their schemes and scams. It is completely unregulated. There are no checks and balances.
Personally, I am very concerned that if this trend continues, extinction of the species is a very real possibility. Pharma is shamelessly trampling and throwing asunder what God created. God may well have something to say about this. Vaccine-induced diseases have become transgenerational. The reproductive capacity of our species is under attack. The innate natural immunity of our species is under attack. We need only study how other species have gone extinct over time.
To say that Henry’s bill was ill-conceived and ill-advised is an enormous understatement! Obviously, he is not solely to blame. The Dark Lords of the vaccine industry - PharmaWhores - bear most of the culpability. These moral entrepeneurs are committing crimes against humanity on a scale never even imagined.
Posted by: patrons99 | October 13, 2010 at 02:40 PM
Everyone send this to Waxman!
Posted by: polliwog | October 13, 2010 at 01:04 PM
Always great to see Henry again, I think he also has some past skills in the housing market, with his friends Barney, Fannie and Freddie.
I believe he is busy "saving California" at the moment.
Posted by: cmo | October 13, 2010 at 12:29 PM
pat - "Across all ages we started becoming very sick with conditions without a cause."
Those who dispassionately study the question, cannot with sincerity deny the epidemic of vaccine-induced diseases which are now plagueing humanity. The new “plague” and “pox” upon humanity is the vaccine schedules and vaccine mandates. There have been a number of VERY pro-pharma legislative enactments which violate the basic tenets of our religious faith, our Constitution, or both. Each one needs to be tested in court. Vaccine mandates are the prime example. The Vaccine Court is another prime example.
Posted by: patrons99 | October 13, 2010 at 10:49 AM
This bill went into effect in 1989.
I had 1986 in my mind but always noticed the new chronic epidemics started around 1989 (odd things like hoarding, secondary infections, new skin conditions, loss of joint function, arthritis in the young, fibromyalgia, depression and anxiety disorders, thyroid failure, tourettes, Parkinson's, sleep disorders etc...........).
Across all ages we started becoming very sick with conditions without a cause. Many of these conditions are now admittedly at least partially caused by the environment.
Posted by: pat | October 13, 2010 at 09:44 AM
In 1982 I rode the hospital elevator down to the cafteria with my mother.
She was trying to take care of me while I was taking care of my 2 year old daughter who was sick with a disease that I had never seen before, or heard of: Kawasaki's.
While in the elevator two doctors started talking to each other, ignoring us because they were so disturbed.
"That was the seventh one to die today!" said one.
"We have eight more that came in today too!" said the other.
They were talking about AIDS.
So the AIDS epidemic was in full swing as my child lay in the hosptial with a diseae I had never heard of.
The return to the vaccine schedule of those days may not be the answer anymore! It may be to late because something may have already entered the population like AIDS.
The DPT shot was causing damage children to skyrocket even back then, and the warning was ignored!!!
The genie was already out of the bottle, it may be too late to even return to a less vigorous vaccine schedule. It may well not help reduce the numbers. Remember there are a lot of people now claiming that their child did not regress was actually born that way.
Maybe it is the Hep B on the first day of life, and maybe they really are now being born with it!
It may well be that they have fixed our immune systems so we can never use vaccines with any certian of saftey?
Posted by: Benedetta | October 13, 2010 at 09:33 AM
From all accounts .. there are over one hundred additional vaccines under development .. and .. they represent only a fraction of what the future holds.
Today .. according to the CDC .. (NOT JENNY, WAKEFIELD OR PARENTS) .. 1 in every 6 American children ..suffers some type of childhood development problem .. most chronic autoimmune diseases/disorders .. such as .. autism, allergies, asthma, juvenile type 1 diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, ADD, ADHD, bi-polar, etc. etc.
Indeed, these chronic autoimmune disorders are so prevalent they are now considered "new normal" for the developing child.
How long do you think it will take before VACCINES are introduced to "prevent" them?
Posted by: Bob Moffitt | October 13, 2010 at 09:11 AM
You hit the nail on the head with this piece. We have to keep talking about the 1983 schedule vs. 2010. Most Americans are not aware of the increase and when they see the chart they are floored.
Thank you for all of your activism. It has and continues to make a difference.
Posted by: Claudine Liss | October 13, 2010 at 08:14 AM