louder than words

Photo from Better World Books

I'm no scientist so I don't know what causes autism. As far as I know, noone does. Except for Jenny McCarthy, M.D., Ph.D, Playboy Bunny, actress. McCarthy knows that vaccines cause autism and she's doing her part by spreading the word.

In fact, despite the news that the scientific community officially discredited Andrew Wakefield and his false data study (the one that suggested there might be a link between the MMR vaccine and autism), McCarthy issued a detailed statement supporting him.

Jenny McCarthy is a celebrity, she has money to spend, and she has a pet cause. All of which make her very dangerous. Ordinary people believe what she is saying: moms and dads whose children suffer from autism; moms and dads who are deciding whether or not to vaccinate their kids.

I understand that the issue of autism and vaccines is probably one that's close to her heart. McCarthy's son Evan suffered from autism. I can't imagine how heartbreaking and difficult that must have been. According to the actress, he has since "recovered." Medical experts say that's impossible, so saying that it's even possible is irresponsible. It makes some parents of autistic kids wonder what they're doing wrong: Why can't I cure my kid? For that matter, why isn't McCarthy curing all kids of autism?

I am not a proponent of vaccines. I'm not entirely against them either. I don't know if vaccines are related to autism. Maybe they are; maybe they aren't. I'm not convinced either way—yet. But when I do need reliable information about vaccines or my kid's health, I don't look to Jenny "vaccines cause autism" McCarthy (or Amanda "anti-vaccinators are parasites" Peet) to get the "truth." I look to science and medicine and research and evidence and most importantly, authorities on the subject.

I use that information and my own instincts to help me make the choices that are best for my family. I would never impose my views on someone else. The stakes are much too high.

Jenny, you're attractive and mildly entertaining. I'm sure you're a great mom and a good friend. But please, for the sake of all those parents making important decisions about vaccines or choosing therapies for their autistic child, stay out of the debate, and quietly write a check to those organizations you support. Stick to doing what you do best: Throw on a bikini and make some crude jokes.

Do you think celebrities should be doling out medical advice on news shows? Do you listen to what they say? Where do you get your information on vaccines?

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