Autism vs. Vaccines : The Jenny McCarthy paradox

Perhaps I titled this article wrong… paradox should be plural.

If you’re an avid Jenny McCarthy fan and have some very strong beliefs in certain things, this may upset you but I still ask that you read with an open mind.

1998

Wakefield releases a study stating ties between the MMR vaccine and Autism… not stating exactly that one causes the other, or that you should stop taking vaccines… but that’s the message that the public receives. The media doesn’t help much nor does Wakefield in subsequent interviews.

1999

Thimerosal is removed from almost all vaccines in the US, except for some flu vaccines.

As a side note… Thimerosal was never in the MMR vaccine.

May 18th 2002

Jenny McCarthy’s son, Evan, is born.

2005

Evan, 2, begins having seizures so severe that he’s repeatedly rushed to hospital emergency. – http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1968100-2,00.html

Evan is diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2.

Remember, Evan was 2 in 2005 until May.

2006

Jenny writes about her “crystal child” in Insights of an Indigo Mom: A Mother’s Awakening… in which she writes about chain smoking and cheeseburgers up until his birth at which point she changed to Hepa air filters and eating vegetarian.

I wonder why she never blamed the chain smoking and cheeseburgers… also, one would wonder why she’d write about Cystal/Indigo stories if he was diagnosed with Autism 

2007

Jenny changes her story in May, saying that he’s not really a “crystal child”, he’s actually Autistic. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenny_McCarthy#Activism_and_autism_controversy

She claimed that the MMR vaccine specifically caused his Autism… and began campaigns against Thimerosal despite the fact that it never contained Thimerosal and he was born several years after Thimerosal was removed from most vaccines.

Jenny goes on a book writing spree over the next several years, publishing several books on motherhood as well as “healing Autism”.

2008

Jenny begins her crusade against Autism, becoming a spokesperson for Generation Rescue and TACA and appearing on several radio and television programs, including Oprah. Each appearance includes endorsements for her books.

Jenny also claims that Evan has “recovered”… which isn’t the same as cured. But it doesn’t stop the media from using that word a lot in articles about her and her son.

Jenny and Jim Carrey begin a “march on Washington” to “green our vaccines”. When interviewed, Jenny claims that Evan was “undiagnosed with Autism”.
Jenny also reinforces that she is not anti-vaccine but rather for safer vaccines and spaced out schedule. An excerpt:

Don’t do more than one shot in a visit. Do you see what I’m saying? Not to not vaccinate. Space them out, ask for mercury-free. Make sure your child is not sick before you vaccinate. Your child does not have a good immune system. How is it supposed to detox the vaccine? Test your child for an immune system. Make sure they have really good glutothion. Glutothion is your body’s naturally antioxidant to detox these things.

2010

Doctors and scientists start to question McCarthy and the diagnosis that her son received, claiming that his symptoms more closely resemble Landau-Kleffner syndrome… very similar to Autism but treatable. – source http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1968100-2,00.html

Despite the possibility that he never had Autism to begin with, Jenny confirms that she’ll continue to “be the voice” for the disorder. She also begins to realize that it wasn’t really the MMR vaccine after all, stating that she just wants vaccines to be safer, rather than getting rid of them entirely.

2011

Jenny joins the Generation Rescue board in January.

Jenny speaks out in support of Wakefield, claiming “I know children regress after vaccination because it happened to my own son” and asking “Why have only 2 of the 36 shots our kids receive been looked at for their relationship to autism?”

One would wonder why there’s any need to check the other vaccines if she’s so certain it’s the MMR.

Jenny continues onward, claiming that “kids do recover from Autism” as her son did, with a gf/cf diet and vitamins. Previous articles went into more details of his treatments including “a gluten-free, casein-free diet, vitamin supplementation, detox of metals, and anti-fungals for yeast overgrowth that plagued his intestines. ”

What can we take from all of this?

Well, first, we have the fact that the blame she has shifts radically from Thimerosal (ethyl-mercury) to the MMR vaccine itself to the vaccine schedule (multiple vaccines at one time) to simply vaccines in general, asking for more research.

Secondly, she seems very conflicted about what exactly her child may actually have. First there’s crystal child/indigo mom theories, then it’s Autism and now there’s questions of Landau-Kleffner syndrome which, from what I can tell in my research, she has never actually explored.

Third, almost everything she gets involved with seems to have a heavy self promotional feel to it. Many praise her for getting into the spotlight for Autism awareness but at the same time, there are many people who believe she does it simply to get herself into the spotlight. Most notably when she recently offered to pose nude once again for Autism awareness reasons.

Finally, and this is a big one… she has become the leader of the anti-vaccine movement despite the fact that she never once said she is anti-vaccine herself…. and in fact, professed many times to wanting more research, safer schedules and “greener” vaccines.

Much like Wakefield, who had his own patent for a vaccine as partial replacement of the MMR vaccine (who would patent a vaccine if he was anti-vaccine?!?), her concerns over vaccine safety lead to hysteria and paranoia among parents who now place their children at much greater risk than they ever were before.

In my opinion

Seriously, as others have said before… stop listening to a Playboy bunny/actress for medical advice. That’s not to say that she’s not allowed to have an opinion. She is… but she’s doing the same research you are. She’s not a doctor nor a researcher.  She’s a mom just like every other mom and her opinion holds the same weight.

Also, stop putting words in her mouth that she didn’t even say. She never said she was anti-vaccine and she never told you to not vaccinate. Don’t tell me she did. Whether you hate me right now for writing all this or not, don’t assume I haven’t researched this. I have. I know she’s “pro-safety” and not “anti-vaccine.”

Lastly, and this is just my opinion… people of high influence, such as celebrities, should be very very careful about what they randomly put out there. These are our children and unless you are absolutely certain (and when it comes to vaccines, no matter what you think you know, you are NOT absolutely certain), you should not be putting fears and doubts and unproven concerns into the minds of people that could put themselves and their children at risk.

The point is, there is a chance that what you *think you know* may be wrong. There is an even bigger chance that the way people interpret what you say may be wrong.

The one clear message through this entire post, that I’d like for you to take from this is, Wakefield and McCarthy are not anti-vaccine!!!

Despite them both saying that they are for safer vaccines, they have not made it abundantly clear that they are not anti-vaccine.

Wakefield needs to stop putting out articles on studies, McCarthy needs to stop putting out articles on recovery and her own story.

What they need to do (if they insist on continuing) is write articles and do interviews that consist of nothing except them telling parents “Vaccinate your children! Do not withhold vaccinations. Vaccines save lives!” They need to explain their stance, clearly and definitively. If they are pro-safety and not anti-vaccine… then why are anti-vaccine activists praising their work?

If they have no intentions of making this clear, then they should no longer be in the media, in my opinion. Because the message they think they are sending is not the message that some parents are receiving.

This is the Jenny McCarthy paradox as I see it. On one hand, I respect her work to raise awareness. On the other hand, I despise the self promotion and her willingness to let parents continue to be anti-vaccine in her name.

 

 

Stuart Duncan on FacebookStuart Duncan on TwitterStuart Duncan on Youtube
Stuart Duncan
I am the father of 2 great boys, Cameron (Autistic) and Tyler, his younger brother. Founder of Autcraft.
Stuart Duncan

Stuart Duncan

I am the father of 2 great boys, Cameron (Autistic) and Tyler, his younger brother. Founder of Autcraft.

13 thoughts on “Autism vs. Vaccines : The Jenny McCarthy paradox

  • February 26, 2012 at 12:32 am
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    @tiyanasmom – Thank you.  I agree.  And I am also bothered by many of the inaccuracies in this blog post  If you are going to go and tear someone apart, you should at least post things that you know are true.  In this article, he is holding her to a standard that he isn’t even achieving by posting false information.  I don’t agree with Jenny McCarthy on A LOT of things, but I know that a lot of what was said on here isn’t accurate.

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  • February 26, 2012 at 12:24 am
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    Jenny McCarthy did not smoke while she was pregnant.  I think you misunderstood what she was saying.  There are several other quotes I was able to find where she described how she had to quit smoking when she found out she was pregnant, but that she did it successfully and did not smoke during pregnancy.  This has nothing to do with my position on any of this, I’m just hoping that you are going to be accurate in your research.

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  • September 23, 2011 at 9:31 pm
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    Thanks for clearing up the Jenny story.  I believe in vaccinating children.  

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  • September 21, 2011 at 11:20 am
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    What is most annoying to those of us who choose not to vaccinate is that when the topic comes up, everyone automatically assumes, without asking or listening, that we are somehow connected to McCarthy’s theories and that she is the sole reason we aren’t vaccinating. Couldn’t be further from the truth. I couldn’t even tell you much about her theories, other than they all seem to be connected to autism. I would rather parents research vaccines (and any number of topics for themselves) and make the decisions that are best for their family, not listen to a celebrity with a stage and follow their recommendations.  I don’t know why people assume that because someone of celebrity status is any sort of expert on any topic other than being a celebrity.

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  • September 20, 2011 at 9:29 pm
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    Ah, yes.  My own personal theory, which is just COMPLETE CRAP because I am only a mom JUST LIKE JENNY (only smarter) is that kids like my son and maybe Evan have undiagnosed celiac disease which can cause seizures (it did in my son) and developmental delays and oddities and people like Jenny accidentally “cure” it when they put their kids on the gfcf diet for autism.  

    But again, it’s PURE CRAP because it’s my own anecdotal theory derived from my own personal experience which is meaningless from a scientific point of view.  Thank God I’m not a celebrity and no one pays me to write this stuff down in a book full of personal anecdotal crap, because that could be really humiliating in twenty years when a real scientist finds out I’m completely wrong.

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  • September 20, 2011 at 8:48 pm
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    McCarthy has no credibility and no problem pretending she knows what she’s talking about when she hasn’t a clue. It doesn’t seem to bother her that she is misleading people dumb enough to take medical advice from a porn star. All in the name of trying to switch her image and make a few bucks in a different market. I hope people see her bull for what it really is.

    Thank you for this post, and the effort you put into composing it! Quality use of xanga!

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  • September 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm
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    Wonderfully written, thank you for sharing this and for backing up your statements with articles. Great job!

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  • September 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm
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    Jenny did not say she was smoking and eating cheeseburgers while pregnant, just before she had her son. There may be a difference. 
    Can you quote when Jenny said it was specifically the “MMR” and not vaccines in general contribute to autism? I’ve read a lot of her stuff and I can’t remember seeing that.
    The docs that say that her son’s symptoms were more like Landau-Kleffner syndrome have never actually seen her son in person nor examined her him, right? And the docs that did see him said it was autism.  So who would you believe if it were your son?
    When your son has seizures “accepting him for who he is” is child abuse.
    She has had great success with bio-medical intervention and sharing that with others is to be commended. The information that she shares is not pulled out of the air, but what she has learned from the professionals that helped her son.  Why is that wrong?
    Referring to her as a Playboy Bunny is a cheap, nasty and completely unnecessary shot.   Yes, she is not a medical professional, but she is a mother.
    The awareness that she has brought to the community has been very helpful.  I disagree with some of what she says, but I’m glad she has been out there.

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  • September 18, 2011 at 8:41 pm
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    When I was in college for my studies I decided to do a report on Jenny McCarthy and the fact that she was saying that she helped her son recover from Autism.
    I found a lot of gaps in her stories, and over all, I didn’t like what she was trying to say to parents about autism. Instead of accepting the child for who they are, and just living with the positive and negative affects of autism, parents are now looking to someone to tell them that if they want it bad enough their child can ‘recover’. It gives a false sense of hope in some ways, and it leads to disappointment in a way, instead of parents just focusing on the positive skills that they can help their children with.
    I never have and never will be able to support Jenny, and I really don’t have the patience to talk to anyone who believes in her theories at the moment. Maybe one day I will have calmed down enough about the issue to have a civil conversation but right now it still strikes a huge nerve spot with me.

    Thanks for writing this 🙂

    Reply

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