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Rhonda Robinson

New Study Adds More Speculation and Controversy to the Autism and Vaccines Debate

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Posted on April 29 2010 6:00 am
Rhonda Robinson is part of NewsReal's editorial team. As a columnist, Rhonda has provided readers with thoughtful insight into social, political, and parenting issues since 1995.
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Pop quiz: What does the Amish population in Lancaster County, Pa. and the diverse populations in Chicago’s Cook County, IL have in common? Answer: They both have thousands of children who have never been vaccinated, and don’t have autism.

For years parents have voiced their concerns over the rise in autism and a suspected link to childhood vaccines. In spite of assurances that there are no “credible connections” between autism and vaccinations, many parents have not been convinced, and refuse to immunize their children.

A new study from the Environmental Protection Agency has led pro-life advocates to the conclusion that the vaccines made from aborted babies could be the key that connects the vaccines to autism. The researchers have been quick to point out that is not their conclusion and reject the theory. As the controversy heats up, it leaves parents to wonder what is considered “credible evidence.”

The study implicates dates such as 1988 as a change point. Pro-life advocates point out that this is a significant date because that’s when the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended adding the second dose of the MMR vaccine, containing cells from aborted babies.

According to LifeNews:

“The study found two other change point dates: 1981, two years after MMRII was approved in the United States with fetal cells, and 1995, when SCPI says the chickenpox vaccine using aborted cells was approved.”

“Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League, said today that his group is joining SCPI in calling for a Fair Labeling and Informed Consent Act to let people know of this link and the use of cells from babies victimized by abortion.”

When you look at the 1988 date when aborted cell lines came into use, and the skyrocketing autism rates of the early nineties, it’s easy to see how these conclusions from pro-life advocates have been drawn. Since then, autism has a 1,148 percent growth rate, with the population of autistic children doubling every four years. Nonetheless, the study’s author, Mike McDonald is quoted as saying the pro-life assumptions “incorrectly represent, and far overreach, our study findings.”

Parents have been offered little more than condolences when it comes to autism. This lack of concrete answers has left parents to make their decisions based on either anecdotal evidence or blind faith in science and government recommendations.

It’s hard to imagine the liability, let alone the political ramifications if tainted vaccines were discovered to be the culprit. It makes you wonder whether every stone has been turned when looking for the root of autism.

Consider for a moment that there are populations of autism free children that have not been studied, and have been virtually ignored.

Homefirst Health Services is an obstetric and pediatric practice in the metropolitan Chicago area that has cared for an estimated 35,000 children over the years. It claims to have never seen a single case of autism in a child it has delivered and whose parents have opted out of vaccinations.

The Amish in Lancaster is another population that is both unvaccinated and autism free; there too, autism is largely unknown.

Federal health authorities and the vast majority of medical professionals have steadfastly denied that there is any link between autism and vaccinations. They have continued to add new recommendations to the immunization schedule.

Parents are compelled to vaccinate their children. The issue as controversial as it is, has not led to any real answers for concerned parents.

Feminists have been a fierce champion of the abortion industry, and the Hollywood Left has been vocal in accusing vaccines of being the culprit behind autism. Parents on both ends of the political spectrum have opted out of vaccines for fear of autism.

Do you think the Left could put away its disdain of Conservatives long enough to help get to the truth behind autism, where ever it may lead?

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Editor’s note: This article has been revised to clarify the description of the study published in Environmental Science & Technology.

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