Unfortunately, just because the media doesn't report on anti-vaxxers anymore, that doesn't mean they're not around anymore. In fact, they're still pushing their agenda pretty damn hard, so much so that their proposals actually have a chance to make it onto the ballot. Activists in California have been granted permission to start collecting signatures for an initiative they have dubbed "California Clean Environment Initiative".
What does this law entail? Well, it would outright ban the selling of GMOs, prohibit putting fluoride or chlorine in the water supply, and yes, it would eliminate the requirement that children must be vaccinated to attend schools or daycares. It's the kind of law that would make Alex Jones tear up in sheer joy.
After reading that, you might be asking yourself, "Why is he focusing on only the anti-vaxxers when this initiative is so much larger than that"?
Well, I'm glad you asked. The truth is that the majority of this law is only supported by fringe groups and conspiracy theorists; California also has some of the toughest environmental laws in the country already, so the possibility of this law ever being passed by an entire state is astronomically slim.
However, this brings me back to the anti-vaccine crowd; the only chance that this law has to even make it to the ballot is if the anti-vaxxers give it a foothold, which is entirely possible, if not likely. In 2016, California came down hard on so-called "personal belief exemptions" from vaccination, which allowed you to not vaccinate your child if it was against your religion or personal values. Now, vaccination is mandatory for all school-aged children, and many anti-vaccine people are pretty unhappy about it. This initiative would repeal this requirement, and I can see the anti-vaxxer crowd supporting the law in droves because of it.
This is where I'm going to turn to attention exclusively to the anti-vaccine people. I don't usually like to point the spotlight at idiots like them for fear that I'm only going to spread their ideas further, but I want my perspective on this to be known. Let me start off with a simple proclamation: Yes, I have autism. No, it is not because of vaccines. I will say it as loud as I can and as many times as I have to.
For years, those who are against vaccines have pointed to a study done by Andrew Wakefield; his study came to the conclusion that there was a correlation between vaccines and autism, as the onset of behaviors was documented by parents to be shortly after the vaccine. However, other scientists found glaring errors in his experiment, such as a small sample-size and cherry-picked data. Because of this, the study was retracted, and Wakefield lost his medical license. No scientist has ever been able to replicate Wakefield's findings.
This is the only thing that anti-vaxxers have that even resembles evidence in their favor. Despite this, gullible celebrities and soccer moms have turned him into a martyr, think that they know better than actual doctors, and regurgitate this blatant falsehood to thousands on their mommy blogs.
Let me reiterate that vaccines are safe, and they are effective. However, this isn't what irks me about anti-vaxxers; it's not that they're spreading diseases that were once nearly eradicated like measles to unsuspecting children, and endangering their entire communities. It's not that they're completely disrespecting and undermining the suffering in developing countries, where people actually die because they don't have access to vaccines. No, it's that the concept of their child having autism is so horrible to them that it's worth risking your child's life.
To these people, having a child with autism is worse than that child dying of measles, and that pisses me off.
Having autism isn't a death sentence; I work with children with autism at day camps during my summers, and they are some the happiest people I've ever seen, and never fail to put a smile on my face, so to assume that if your child has autism, then their life is effectively over, is a collective slap in the face to every mentally disabled person in the world. My brother has autism, and he's studying to become a god damn engineer!
Hell, I have autism, and I wrote this article that you're reading right now! I know you think that you're doing what's best for your kid, but if you'd rather bury your child then have a child with autism, then I can't in good conscience call you a good parent. How dare you spread your lies, how dare you risk your child's life because of these lies, and how dare you point at people like me to justify your lunacy, as if I'm something unspeakable, something you'd risk killing your child to avoid, because if that's your logic, then you are not worthy of having a child, and I pray that your willful ignorance doesn't cost them their lives.