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