It is ironic that when the media or medical / pharma community wade into vaccine safety discussions autism parents are frequently labelled “emotional.” This adjective is most often used to describe concerned mothers and mothers of autistic children. It is a sexist dismissal of, by and large, the real experts on autism, the people who live it every single day. Imagine the CDC labeling sufferers of prostate cancer “emotional!” Or imagine the media implying that testicular cancers survivors are not smart enough to understand (Thunderclap!) “the science!”
Women, as we all know, are prisoners of their high strung emotions, unable to rationally make decisions. The crazy thing is that the autism moms I see on TV are incredibly articulate and well versed on the specific problems with the CDC’s vaccine science. More to the point, I don’t hear these mothers making hysterical accusations or advocating for censorship.
Conversely when I hear CDC officials and pharma interest groups arguing against vaccine safety research I hear groundless irrational assertions and inflammatory declarations.
“You (by doubting vaccine safety) are endangering children’s lives!”
“Parents who space out vaccines are selfish and irrational!”
“Do you want children to die of preventable diseases?”
“You are placing African children’s lives are risk!”
So much for the measured and scientific approach to vaccine safety. But the hysterics don’t stop there. Oh, no! AAP spokespeople argue vehemently against more vaccine safety research because “millions of lives are saved by vaccines in Africa!” as if one thing has to do with the other. Additionally, I resent the implication that I should just shut up about my child’s vaccine induced brain damage because the work of the Gates Foundation is more important than my child’s life. Americans are not willing to sacrifice vaccine safety to make life easier for vaccine distributors in Africa.
Last month we saw how the mere idea that President Trump might form a vaccine safety commission brought on a state of frenzied anguish among pharma surrogates. A proposal for independent arbitors meet to evaluate the current state of vaccine safety research was described as a “dangerous” development that could grievously harm Americans. The concept of talking, not even doing, just talking is presented as “dangerous.” Isn’t the desire of pharma surrogates and govt. agencies to censor free speech the real danger?
“Forming a vaccine safety commission with or without Kennedy would be counterproductive at best, harmful at worst!” Dr. Mark Schiess
“Presidential commisions are serious affairs...creating a panel on autism with Kennedy would do enormous damage!” Fred Vox
“Establishing a commission could be itself harmful!” Alison Singer
Dr. William Schaffner said he “was sounding the alarm!” about a possible vaccine safety panel. Such a panel, “will put children’s lives at risk!”
So let’s step a step back and carefully consider these emotionally overwrought answers. A theme in criticism of RFK JR’s proposal is NOT the desire to make vaccines safe as possible but a sense of personal outrage regarding the First Amendment. Clearly one should not have the right to ask these questions. It is as if by merely speaking about ways to improve vaccine safety = children WILL die.
Kennedy’s critics are that juvenile in their arguments. There is truly a conflating of an open discussion about conflicts of interest in vaccine safety research with death and destruction. Additionally there is absurd sense of hurt feelings when families dare to doubt that CDC officials can manage vaccine safety well. The AAP exudes a sense of entitlement to tell parents what to do. A number of parents who questioned AAP directives have been accused of engaging in a “personal attack.” I mean, really...grow up.
Ahhh to have such a soft and tender heart, so easily bruised, a prisoner of one’s immature emotional development ...I remember having a heart like that- when I was a 13 year old girl. I am all too familiar with the irrational, immature and paranoid school of argument making. Oh boy, was I an expert in this kind of hysterical crazy talk.
When my Dad told my brother and I to clean out the garage, I said I “was tired of being treated like a slave!”
When I wasn’t allowed to go to a party because of my poor grades it was because my parents “wanted me to have NO friends!”
When my parents said we couldn’t get cable TV it was because they were “trying to bore me to death and destroy ALL fun!”
When my brother threatened to tell our parents I broke some rules I told him “to shut your mouth or I will shut it for you!” There it is- censorship - the most desperate of all arguments.
I was a typical American suburban girl to whom almost everything felt like life and death. I was irrational and over sensitive. If I can san anything in my own defense it would be that I was 13 and that my brain was not fully developed yet. Can the anti vaccine safety hysterics say that?
The reasoning center of my brain no longer operates in black and white, my heart is no longer so delicate, not so easily pierced. My ego is not so fragile. I am a typical autism parent of a vaccine injured child. We have to be grown ups, not victims, in order to care for our kids.
It is time for the CDC, community of autism academics and recipients of pharma $, which includes a number of autism advocacy groups to put on their big girl and boy pants and reflect on the First Amendment. Neither censorship or hysterics will make our families go away. Instead of all the theatrics see “Vaxxed” and read even a small portion of the research complied by Bobby Kennedy.
Katie Wright is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.