Today I was walking home from class and mulling over various issues when my mind happened to think about the anti-vaccine “VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM!1!!” gambit.
You know this one: the so called “link” between vaccines and autism, and how you’re better off not vaccinating your kids because ZOMG AUTISM IS SO HORRIBLE.
And you know what? Pondering over the subject, I realized that the claim that vaccines cause autism and that you’re better off not vaccinating your kids is actually full of very unfortunate implications.
(This might have been partially inspired by the TVTropes page on unfortunate implications. I can verify that TVTropes WILL ruin your life.)
Unfortunate implication: autism is DA WORST THING EVER and it’s better for a kid to be dead than to be autistic because disabilities are SO TERRIBLE, especially for the parents, because their “real child” has been “lost” and that no “real child” has disabilities.
Disclosure: I have a mild form of autism (formerly Asperger’s before the DSM got rid of that category and put it in the autism spectrum on the high functioning end).
So to me, this is actually pretty personal. And offensive.
I can totally sympathize with parents whose kids were recently diagnosed with autism. Seriously, finding out that your child will be facing some difficulties that isn’t their fault (to put it lightly) sucks. Feeling helpless sucks. You want to help your child, and that’s totally normal.
But the “disabilities are inherently bad and we need to make sure that no one else ends up disabled, even if it means that the kid might die” just smacks of WARNING, HIGHLY OFFENSIVE.
What it does is to enforce the paradigm that people with disabilities are “lesser” and not as human as the neurotypical people. It enforces the idea that if you’re disabled, you’re better off dead because how the hell can you stand to live knowing that you have a disability?
And it leads to the idea that risking preventable diseases (that can totally kill your kid!), autism biomed, chelation therapy, Lupron therapy, and even outright murder is totally justifiable, because hey, your kid wasn’t “normal” (whatever that means), and you just wanted to make them better, even if it means causing them further suffering in the process.
Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh, that’s some pretty serious unfortunate implication stuff right there.
And that stuff’s offensive.
Anti-vaxxors: no, you do not speak for me or for people like me when you claim that autism is caused by vaccines (which is totally not true by the way, this being one of the many studies on the topic). Nor do you speak for me when you then start saying that it’s better to risk death than to get your kid vaccinated because autism is so terrible.
That stuff is ableist as hell. And I want no part of it.
People: please, please get your vaccines. The world will be better off with it.