Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Autism as campaign sound bite

Perhaps because they've run out of things to say on every other topic, the presidential candidates are now pandering to the voting bloc that believes that vaccines cause autism. Here are recent quotes:

John McCain says:

It’s indisputable that (autism) is on the rise amongst children, the question is what’s causing it. And we go back and forth and there’s strong evidence that indicates that it’s got to do with a preservative in vaccines.

Barack Obama is a bit more vague:

The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.

And Clinton jumps on the bandwagon with:

I will ensure that all vaccines are as safe as possible for our children by working to ensure that Thimerosal and mercury are removed from vaccines.

Um, Hillary, I know you were kind of...well... busy back then, but Thimerosal WAS removed from all vaccines in 1999.

Please, candidates, please don't do this. There is no credible scientific evidence that vaccinations cause autism. Focusing on this issue - pandering to a tiny, angry and vocal minority - is just plain distracting. It scares people into not vaccinating their children, which will create a public health nightmare.

Here. I'll help you with your next sound bite.

We need to increase resources for autism research so we can understand the origins of this condition, but we also need a health care system that helps families get the treatments and therapies they need for their children. We need to provide access to early intervention services that are proven to make a difference in a child's level of functioning, and we need to build a society where we can accept and celebrate differences of all kinds and where people are not defined by their disabilities.

Feel free to use that.

And please be careful to whom you pander, because with 1 of 166 children being identified as having an autism spectrum disorder, it might not be too many election cycles before you start seeing this bumper sticker:

I'm Autistic and I Vote.


Anonymous said...

How about "Parent of a child with Autism, and I Vote!" Well said!!!!

jaki said...

yes...very well said!

meril said...

rock on, spectrum mom! i would vote for you!

eileen said...

fabulous post!!! wish i could get your "here's what you can say..." to the 3 of them.....

Drama Mama said...

Right on!

KAL said...

Amen. It is dismaying they're all doing this.

Anonymous said...

The world needs more people like you!!!! Your words are true, powerful, and impacting. More than I can say for the politicians.