Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Emken, Autism, and Abortion

At The Los Angeles Times, Patt Morrison interviews Elizabeth Emken, autism mom and former vp for government relations at Autism Speaks:
Abortion rights is one clear difference between the parties.

You have to know my personal story. My son is a blessing in every way. He's one of the hardest-working, happiest children you'll meet. The genetics of autism are real, but there are also environmental triggers. If we can identify that you're vulnerable for something [like having an autistic child] and that becomes enough of a reason not to take a risk [of giving birth], that's a slippery slope. And it stops us from addressing what I think is the true culprit — changes in our environment that have led to a huge increase in not just autism but a lot of auto immune disorders and mental disorders. So my view on life comes from an angle that we sometimes take the easier path rather than the more difficult one.

What do you mean by an easier path? To have an abortion?

Yes. My view on valuing life is very broad for the disabled, for anyone where we can start saying, I really don't want [a child with] red hair.
 Women choose to have abortions for very serious reasons, including the health of the fetus. Shouldn't they be able to do that?
I reject the premise of Democrat and Republican, you can't paint me in a narrow box.
But ultimately, women can get an abortion, or they can't.
 I personally believe it will remain legal. I'm not interested in turning the clock back 30 or 40 years. Let's talk about what it is to value all human life and why we want to rethink how we're using abortion [as] birth control.