Posted in Advocacy, Autistic Identity, Parenting

Why “You Do You” is Not Okay When it Comes to Vaccines

[Image: A white, male medical person in blue scrubs with a stethoscope around his neck brandishes a vaccine at you.  He’s got white gloves on and is like a scary-funny boogeyman.  He’s going to “get you” if you don’t watch out!]
Every so often in Catholic circles, you get the mom “helpfully” posting the link of the vaccines which have as a source aborted fetal tissue, or so the argument goes.  They claim you cannot vaccinate your child with that version, and that since there isn’t a great MMR alternative, you should never get that.

I completely and fully respect the parent when it comes to decisions about whether or not to vaccinate.  I believe the parent, not the government, should decide on what is best for his or her own child.

However, let’s take that stance apart a moment.

I believe in parent decisions because I am a Catholic school principal and I believe that if the government could, it would shut down my school.  We have had to fight for our right to exist as a school, and there are even Supreme Court decisions that are involved in a parent’s right to educate their own children as they see fit.

HOWEVER, there are also court decisions regarding whether you can force others to listen to your opinion, whether that opinion be well-reasoned, or, well, kind of nutty.

And you can’t.

Here’s the exchange that was ticking me off today:

Parent posts did you know graphic about the aborted lines.

Bunch of parents “Didn’t know that!”

Parents discuss how they tell physicians which kind of vaccines they will accept based on this chart.

Discussion ensues.

Sensible parents point out the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ stance on this: vaccinate your kids, people.  The aborted line is not something we are concerned with since herd immunity is very important here.  Another parent points out, gently, that the internet makes everyone an “expert,” but if you’re not an expert in medical ethics and theology, you should (charitably) STFU.

The anti-vaxxers ignore them.

Then someone points something from the Vaxxed YouTube channel.

Now I’m pissed.

For those who don’t know, Vaxxed is Andrew Wakefield’s nutty “documentary” about how the evil vaccine industry is ignoring everything that says that vaccines are really and truly evil.

You remember “Doctor” Wakefield, right?  The guy who said Vaccines cause Autism?  Whose work was discredited?

Yeah, that guy.

So I point out that it’s important to know that the Vaxxed youtube channel is dangerous because of this.

Enter AutismMomTM  

Of course MMR causes Autism, she informs me, and if I haven’t got a child who is “vaccine damaged” because of the MMR shot, then I don’t know anything.  If I haven’t seen “the light in my child’s eyes” go out after getting the MMR jab, then I can’t know her pain.

What do I say?

You guessed it: Uhm, I am Autistic, and I do hope your child never, ever hears you refer to him as “vaccine damaged.”

Another helpful parent points out Wakefield was NOT discredited and, in fact, he was trying to say that every Autistic has intestinal issues and so he was talking about that.  Said person is a homeschooler.  I face-palm on behalf of all homeschoolers.  Trust me, we’re not all like this lady.  Some of us have advanced degrees and actually get science and can read and research.

But getting back to her point: I don’t have intestinal issues, nor does my Autistic husband, nor does our Autistic son.

And, once again for the cheap seats: REPRODUCTION CAUSES AUTISM.  So far, it’s genetic.  You can play “find the Autistic” in your family tree.  There’s someone there with it; I can assure you.  You may not know someone is Autistic, but you might know him or her as a person who marched to a different drummer.  He or she might have been a bit “cantankerous” or really super-smart, or liked to be alone a lot.  We have a lot of different ways of being, of course.

But historically we could, say, go live on our farm and be happy so it was harder to tell that we were Autistic.

Instead, I charitably point out (after I say none of us have these issues supposedly all of us have) that yes, some Autistics also have Celiac’s Disease.  That is true.  But it’s like being born color-blind and also having high blood pressure.  You can have two or more medical conditions at the same time.

But no, being Autistic and having intestinal issues do not go together like magic.  These are two separate issues.  If I HAD intestinal issues, and they treated my intestinal issues, guess what, I would still be Autistic.

I might be less grumpy since I don’t hurt all the time and I might look “less Autistic” to you, but that doesn’t mean I’m not, in fact, Autistic.

Then, first parent comes back to defend herself.  She doesn’t (she think) say “vaccine damaged” in front of her kid.  But all of her kids know about the vaccine problems and that her one son’s issues weren’t (reading between the lines) from God, but because something happened to him.

But I should “do me” and she would “do her.”

So, lady, let me ask you this: You have five children.  One of them had blue eyes, and the rest, brown eyes.  Your husband treats the blue-eyed kid differently and implies that his blue-eyes are as the result of an extramarital affair on your part since, of course, all the other kids have brown eyes.

Your child grows up knowing that he’s different and he’s different because someone “did something” to hurt him (since he doesn’t know what his dad is actually saying).

He is worth less because he’s not like the four brown-eyed kids.

They treat him accordingly.

Would that be okay?

Should you and your husband agree to disagree?  Should he be him and you be you?

If you say yes, then you are okay with bigotry.

She is objectively wrong on this position and her position is causing her Autistic child and his neurotypical (that she knows of; bet there’s at least one more Autistic in the bunch if it’s a larger family) siblings irreparable harm.

She is robbing her son of a mother’s love because of who he is, not in spite of it.

She is robbing her other children of the opportunity to defend and love their brother because of who he is, not in spite of it.

And what’s worse, she is using this misguided story to waste the time she has with her child as a little boy in being mad and not really getting to know him.

She shouldn’t be “doing her.”  She is objectively, morally wrong here.

But she could do something different.

We Autistics sometimes get irritated with the “Holland” story.  The gist of it is, you planned for your trip to Italy and the plane dumps you in Holland.  You get mad.  You scream.  You can either get over it and have fun in Holland or you can ruin your vacation because you’re in the wrong place.

Holland is Autism and Italy was a “normal child” (this is why we hate this story).

This analogy therefore isn’t always helpful; it suggests you don’t want the kid you got.  That’s ordinarily bad.

But if this lady would read the Holland story, she would understand she’s wasting her trip in the Netherlands since she’s pissed she didn’t get Rome.

Sometimes life happens.

And sometimes we find out that we are happy with the Netherlands.  God knew we needed to go there and gave us a beautiful vacation.

God created her child as Autistic.

God wanted her to love the child she got.

She is resisting His will.

I pray her son finds the online Autism community someday so he can heal from this betrayal.

Another parent comes by to tell me that some vaccine-injured parents won a lawsuit because the MMR shot gave their kids Autism.  That “absolutely proves” her point.

One of us went to law school and it wasn’t this lady.

I was done then.

I prayed for them all (and their children, and anyone listening to the bullshit they were spreading).

Don’t be an ableist parent.  Love the child you have because of their Disabilities, not “in spite of.”  Don’t look for someone to blame.

Be happy.  We Autistics are, when we know people love and support us.

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