It was really just a matter of time before the anti-choice movement embraced anti-vaccination nonsense. Anti-vaxxers hit on all sorts of anti-choice buttons: the loathing of people who know more than them, the suspicion of science and modernity, contamination fears, the obsession with allowing unnecessary human suffering because it’s “natural”, and of course the bundle of anxieties about motherhood and reproduction. And of course, the second a vaccine that prevents a common STD was invented, the melding was inevitable, because anti-choicers are big fans of cervical cancer and its ability to kill the bad girls. I realize that most anti-vaxxers really don’t want the alliance, because anti-choicers are objectively pro-disease, and anti-vaxxers maintain that they’re not, but alas, some marriages were meant to be.
And so it wasn’t exactly a surprise to hear that anti-choicers are running with a bullshit story that vaccines are made with aborted fetuses, and that’s what causes autism. This article and the one it banks off of from Jill Stanek, are both amazing examples of what can be produced when a person has no respect for their audience’s intelligence or the truth. The “evidence” that vaccines are made from aborted fetuses comes from a story about how vaccines are not made from aborted fetuses, from Life News’ own site, no less. Both the Stanek story and the Life News story imply that the EPA report asserts a) that vaccines are made from aborted fetuses and b) that vaccines cause autism. Life News was smart enough not to link to the report itself, because that would prove that they’re lying fucktards, but Stanek trusts her audience is stupid enough to take these assertions on faith and not check for themselves. So she did like the report.
Sadly, while her intended audience is no doubt a bunch of morons who don’t care that she lies through her teeth to them, I’m smart enough to actually read the report. Needless to say, there is no assertion that vaccines cause autism. The opposite, in fact.
Some research has examined possible contributing environmental factors, including measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine (31), thimerosal-containing vaccines (32), tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, and trihalomethanes in drinking water (33), and certain metals (e.g., mercury, cadmium, nickel) and chemicals (trichloroethylene and vinyl chloride) in the ambient air around birth sites (34). Subsequent studies on MMR vaccine (16, 18, 35, 36) and thimerosal-containing vaccines (see review (37), 13, 18, 20, 38, 39) did not support a relationship with autism. In a 2004 report, the Immunization Safety Committee of the Institute of Medicine determined that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between either MMR or thimerosal- containing vaccines and autism (40).
Emphasis mine, not that it will matter to the assholes who believe the crap that Stanek dishes out.
The claim that vaccines are made from aborted fetuses is farcical on its face. But it shouldn’t be surprising. I think your rank and file anti-choicers probably believe that stem cells are cultivated from aborted fetuses (they’re actually take from embryos created for IVF that were going to be thrown away if not used in research), and that they’re already being used in standard medical care like vaccines (they’re not). But I thought I’d go ahead and do what the anti-choice audiences will not, and read this EPA report to see if they do in fact assert what Life News and Stanek imply, which is that vaccines are made from aborted fetuses.
I can safely report that no such assertion is made. In case I missed something after reading the very short report, I did a search for the words “fetus” and “fetal”, and found that the word “fetus” does come up…..when addressing the issue of whether or not in utero environment could be a factor in the development of autism. Right now the working assumption is that autism is genetic, but that its expression varies enough to suggest that environmental factors could be in play. And that if exposure to certain chemicals can increase the autism rate, it’s likely happening during pregnancy and early infancy.
If I were to summarize the report, I’d say that it’s basically, “More research is needed.” Which isn’t shocking in the least. But while it doesn’t say much other than that, what is firmly stated is that some potential causes have been ruled out, with vaccines being at the top of the “not this” list. And of course, the aborted fetuses thing is just pure wishful thinking. The assertion that vaccines are made from aborted fetuses is such a weird idea that I don’t imagine the EPA even examined that assertion in the first place. They certainly don’t mention it, even to discount it.