Congress Discusses Autism/Vaccine Link and It's About Time (VIDEO)

Rant 21

child walking shadowThe Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is investigating why 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism. During the hearing, the link between vaccines and autism was brought up. This is happening. Right now. New talks bringing up old theories that some feel have been completely debunked. Junk science. And while I don't agree with everything said at this hearing, I am happy it happened. There is no cure, no known cause. We shouldn't stop questioning. we shouldn't stop researching. Perhaps, even, past research could be proven incorrect. We can't stop fighting for answers until we have them. Some feel Congress was out of line, and perhaps this was a waste of time.

Writer Phil Plait from Slate says, "... vaccines have literally saved hundreds of millions of lives" and he also thinks Congress is "promoting dangerous anti-vaccine quakery," and while I agree with him on this, I also think further research should be done.

Plait's article is fantastic, it makes readers think, and we should be thinking. Thinking a lot. But there are some parents that believe their child's vaccination contributed to their autism diagnosis. And no amount of solid research is going to make me tell them they are wrong. Maybe I'm just not trusting enough. But sometimes a parent's intuition is spot on. And while I, like Plait, do not believe vaccines cause autism, I'm not 100 percent sold on the fact that some kids have a reaction to vaccinations that could cause something to change in their bodies. I'm fearful of what they put in vaccines. Things are put in when they say it's safe, and then we learn it's not safe years later. Mercury-containing thimerosal. Aluminum. Will these be words we cower in fear from years down the line like we do now with BPA and lead? They tell us there is a low risk, but low does not mean zero risk. These are still toxic chemicals, but that is where I draw the line on my agreement with Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) who speaks at this hearing. His words are what some are calling fear-mongering -- what Plait called out in his post, and I will agree that what Burton says has mostly been discredited. Perhaps it's not what he said, but the way he said it that could be damaging.

I'd like to make this clear. I'm not an expert. Experts reading this will probably call me out on things. I'm also not anti-vax -- my kids are vaccinated. But I'm a mother, an aunt to a niece with autism, and I'm concerned. Some parents may be very angry that Congress is investigating. Some parents may also be angry there are people who do not vaccinate their children. But I'm angry autism rates are rising. I'm angry that there are far too many schools not helpful for children on the spectrum. I'm angry my sister has to sue the Board of Education in NYC in order to get my niece the kind of education she deserves. I'm angry there is no known cause or cure for autism. I know more needs to be done and Congress should investigate. We can't debate those facts. We should question the effects vaccines have on some kids. We live in a world where we learn new things every day, and we shouldn't just be content with something that many people question. So some Congressmen said things that can be proven wrong, but we shouldn't stop questioning, we shouldn't stop researching. Perhaps past research could be proven incorrect. We can't stop fighting for answers until we have them.

The fact remains that 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism. This is not acceptable. A hearing was held, one that could potentially lead to more being done to get to the bottom of what is going on with our children and that should be something worth celebrating. There is still no known cause for autism and the rates of children diagnosed with ASDs are rising. Did you fully ingest that stat -- 1 in 88 children. Chairman Issa said the words we should all be focusing on. This is an epidemic. There is not enough money put toward answers. There is not enough study and statistics aren't being counted properly. They have a lot to do. We have a lot to do. Because our children -- all children -- deserve it.


What do you think of Congress's hearing on the autism rates? Do you think some of the speakers took away from the cause because of what they said?


Image via Chepe Lena/Flickr

autism, developmental delays, in the news


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EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

*facepalm* the sooner people stop believing this quackery, the faster science can advance.

nonmember avatar edmlisa

There is not just one single thing that has contributed to this epidemic. Has the government even looked into the use of High Fructose corn syrups in food, GMO's, steroids and antibiotics in meats, and all the other environmental trash in the air, food,and water supply.

the4m... the4mutts

Agree or disagree, this is a topic that needs to be discussed. Vaccines are a widely used health tool. Whether or not they cause autism, isn't even the big picture. The CAN AND HAVE caused lots of harm. Anything this widely used, is something that should be looked into.

And Autism itself? The rates keep going up and up and up. SOMETHING is causing it.

Its good that congress is willing to have a discussion about both.

Flori... Floridamom96

This would be much less of an issue if parents were free to choose whether to vaccinate their children or not. As long as the government interferes with what should be private medical decisions, we are going to have to deal with the fallout.

corri... corrinacs

I think that they should tone down the idea that its "caused by vaccines" and look at the bigger picture!  The conversation cannot be too narrow as we will be missing the real answers.  Hopefully, the scope of the conversation isn't the same as what's been floating around on mom groups for the last few years (people getting mad at people for debunked information).

I, like many of the rest of us, wants to find out what is causing this.  I do not have children with autism (that I know of) but I still want to know!  What can we do as a society and as parents to prevent it?  And beyond that, how do we prepare schools and society for effectively handling it?

In a similar light, I'd love for them to have the same conversation about food allergies.  Nearly 10% of all children are diagnosed with food allergies and the reactions are becoming more and more severe.  We need to figure out what is causing that trend as well and prepare schools and society for handling this.

Alixandra Mullins

It's about time!!!!!!!!

And it's very interesting that some of the paperwork presented DID in fact show a link between the mercury ingredient Thimersol & autism-like symptoms. This is something that deserves further inquiry. 1- in 88 is Terrible, whether the cause is flame-retardents, GMO's, Aluminum, corn syrup, freeway exhaust or flu in pregnancy, the answers need to be approached without so much judegment, & if vaccines may contribute in the slightest, it should be researched without bias. The evidence present does warrant a closer look...


Coral Biron Karrass

While I do think that vaccines may play a part in chronic illness, not just autism but autoimmune disorders, food allergies, etc the fact of the matter is that it's not what I believe but there hasn't been enough study on the different combinations of vaccines given, vaccine administered during pregnancy and more. There is also not enough services for autistic children and adults. This does need to get talked about and brought into the open. It's not about my opinions or any one's. we need answers and solutions.

Beth Wankel

Can we PLEASE leave science to the scientists, and not to the politicians? I mean, it was bad enough when they got on the pregnancy and birth control band wagon. Now this? Come on. And also, for anyone who wonders why parents of vaccinated children care about unvaccinated children, take a moment to look up the phrase "herd immunity." 

Momto... MomtoDavid

I think EVERYTHING needs a closer look. The Amish rarly have a case of autism, and if they do it's caused by a physical accident or an illness that affected the brain. I think that tells us something. They don't vaccinate, they grow thier own food, make thier own clothes, rarely ride in vehicles, don't have cell phones or microwaves, no processed foods, no preservatives....I think everyone needs to take a closer look at things like that. No one knows what causes autism, we can guess all we want, but they are still researching it and so far all they got is something in the genetic make-up makes a person have a predisposition to developing it. That's not saying they will get it, but if a certain series of events, whether they are chemical or enviromental or physical, has to happen in order for the child to develope it. I have a 6 year old with a form of autism and a 2 year old who is typical. My husband, his father, and his fathers father, all have some form of autism. So yes, i'm invested in this. but people need to get off the vaccines as the only thing and start looking elsewhere or start putting two in one.

nonmember avatar Melissajo

We should stop to think that autism is bad bad bad. I have mild asperger but I live normally and have steady job. It is a lot of struggle and will power but in the outside I am normal. What I am trying to say is 1 out of 88 of which spectrum of autism? Although it is incurable sadly, but it is not possible for autistic individuals to "have a life"

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