Aaron R. Davis
Last weekend, Jenny McCarthy wrote an editorial for the Chicago Sun-Times attempting to set the record “straight” on her anti-vaccine stance. Apparently, we were all wrong. She’s actually pro-vaccine; she just thinks parents should be able to set their own vaccination schedule. She has no idea why we keep thinking she’s anti-vaccine.
So, here are things Jenny McCarthy believes: 1. That her son has autism because of the MMR vaccine. 2. That her son somehow “recovered” from autism. 3. That we can’t just YouTube all of the crazy anti-vaxx stuff she’s said over the last several years. Oh, and also that because she’s a mom this gives her more special insight into a child’s health than an actual medical doctor.
I can’t stand this person. I’ve talked in the past about how it bothers me when people can’t stop talking about how much they hate, say, Taylor Swift or Gwyneth Paltrow, because ignoring them is easy. Hey, I love Taylor Swift, and her music has brought me joy for years, but she’s not writing legislation or saying she cured autism by cutting out gluten and dairy. But Jenny McCarthy … her ignorance has had a lasting effect on real lives, and I think she more than deserves to be shouted down for it.
Back in 2006, she said of her son:
Right before his MMR shot, I said to the doctor, ‘I have a very bad feeling about this shot. This is the autism shot, isn’t it?’ And he said, ‘No, that is ridiculous. It is a mother’s desperate attempt to blame something,’ and he swore at me, and then the nurse gave [Evan] the shot […] And I remember going, ‘Oh, God, I hope he’s right.’ And soon thereafter — boom — the soul’s gone from his eyes.
Now, first of all, fuck her for implying that autistic people are somehow soulless. Had she never met an autistic person before? Yeah, I have, and I can report that they have souls. They’re capable of taking pleasure out of life. I’ve worked with autistic kids as a teacher, and I’ve seen their eyes light up. That’s a weird and clueless thing to say, especially about your own child.
How many times to doctors have to say it? There is no link between autism and vaccines. No connection at all. Here’s some reality for you: children are given the MMR vaccine at 18 months. 18 months is also when symptoms of autism become recognizable in children. That’s why there’s a misconception that the two are linked. But they aren’t. Do you think if there was actually a risk of autism being caused by vaccinating children that we would be using those vaccinations? Do you understand what rigorous scientific testing involves? Do you understand what the scientific method involves?
In 2009, she said: “If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the fucking measles.”
Seriously? You’d rather your child had a disease like measles than a condition like autism? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. How minimizing. What a disrespectful thing to say about your own son. “Mommy wishes you’d had a potentially fatal disease rather than have special needs.” That’s just batshit.
Jenny McCarthy is not a doctor. After she started saying that she “fixed” her son’s autism back in 2010, apparently with diet and time, she started marveling at how the Centers for Disease Control never came to her to find out what she did and research her methods. Maybe, Jenny, it’s because you aren’t a scientist? You’re not a medical researcher. Being a mother is not the same thing as being a doctor. And I don’t want to be reductive about being a mother, especially one with a special needs child, but when you start talking about “contracting” autism from vaccines, you start going from concerned mom to public health risk.
And as for standing in line for the measles? Thanks for the outbreaks. A disease that was considered eradicated as recently as 15 years ago is not making a huge comeback, along with plenty of other preventable diseases, because other parents would rather follow Dr. Mom’s advice and put the life of their child and other children at risk because they believe this dangerous idiocy. Why would you accept Jenny McCarthy as the authority on raising an autistic child? Especially when she claims she somehow “recovered” her child from autism through, I don’t know, diet or therapy or simple child development or some kind of mysticism. She acts like her kid’s autism just cleared up, like it was a phase or something.
Jenny McCarthy is dangerous. She seems to be trying to distance herself now from some of the fringe-ier aspects of the general anti-vaxx movement, and I can understand why. But she’s also lying like a rug. Keep in mind that this person is speaking out against putting “toxins” in her body while pumping herself full of botox and silicone and trying to sell you e-cigarettes. I’m not saying she’s made it much easier for children to die of preventable and nearly-eradicated diseases, except, oh, wait, I am saying that: She has made it much easier for children to die, and she doesn’t get a pass on that by trying to convince us that she’s never been against vaccination before.
We’re living in a time right now when people are digging in and resolutely choosing — PROUDLY — to be stupid about things like climate change, reproductive health and long-debunked studies on a non-existent link between vaccines and autism. Frankly, I don’t trust someone who thinks autism is a death sentence and it’s better to have the fucking measles than to have to live with it. Screw her for daring to think that introducing that kind of talk into the conversation is an opinion worthy of serious consideration.
And honestly, screw you if you believe her and don’t vaccinate your kids.
Stop acting like morons. All of our children are paying for it. If them getting polio is the price to pay for you feeling entitled to your opinion, that’s too high a price. And you don’t get to walk away from the damage you caused by claiming you never said what we all heard you say.
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org