View From Table 9

September 17, 2008

What do Anti-Abortionists and Anti-Vaccineists Have in Common?

Well, for one, they both militantly and viciously attack and threaten the lives of those who disagree with them.  That’s what really struck me about this article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer:

They liken him to a prostitute. Someone with blood on his hands, who doesn’t care about the health of children.

Those are among the insults that Paul Offit gets by e-mail each week at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

He should probably expect to start getting a lot more.

Offit, 57, has been defending the safety of vaccines for years, in response to beliefs that they are tied to autism-related disorders. He continues in the same vein with his new book – Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure – which is already generating heat.

Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s and a leading expert on infectious diseases, is among many physicians who defend vaccines. The mainstream scientific and medical communities overwhelmingly agree there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism, though the topic continues to receive study.

But Offit is arguably the issue’s most public face. After spending much of his career on vaccine research – a choice that proved unexpectedly lucrative – he now devotes most of his time to teaching and writing on vaccines.

Offit doesn’t think any of his critics mean him real harm, though he was rattled once when a caller knew his children’s names and where they went to school.

“We put a new security system on our house as a way of celebrating the launch of this book,” Offit said during an interview in his office. “Which I think most authors don’t do. Maybe Salman Rushdie.

Really, this reminds me of the violent anti-abortion movement in the 70s and 80s where clinics were blown up, clinicians attacked, doctors shot in their homes and their families targeted, all by people who claimed to be pro-life.

Except here, nobody’s dying from Autism. It’s not a terminal diagnosis.  The diseases vaccines are given for have a greater risk of death associated with them than the supposed risk of developing Autism post-vaccination – something that cannot be proven through the scientific method.  (Trust me, that people die from rubella, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio – all of that’s well proven).

So, instead of attacking the idea, you attack the person who advocates the idea, threatening, intimidating them into – what, agreement?  At best, silence.   That proves…….nothing except that you’re no better than a thug on the street, or an intolerant tyrant.  Whose child is Autistic.


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