Robert Kennedy Jr apologized on Monday for describing the growing number of children identified with autism, which he links to the use of vaccines, as “a Holocaust”.
Kennedy, the nephew of President John F Kennedy and son of his murdered brother Robert Kennedy, is campaigning against a bill introduced in California that seeks to stop parents opting out of having their children inoculated against diseases such as measles and whooping cough.
When he addressed the audience at a screening of a documentary on the subject, Trace Amounts, in Sacramento last week, the high-profile vaccine skeptic made remarks that set off a firestorm of protest.
Kennedy said that pharmaceutical companies and the government could not be trusted over the ingredients in vaccines and added of children that he claims get sick as a result of having their jabs: “They get the shot, that night they have a fever of 103 [degrees], they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone. This is a Holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”
On Monday Kennedy expressed regret for his choice of words.
“I want to apologize to all whom I offended by my use of the word to describe the autism epidemic,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I employed the term during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families.”
Tracy Seipel reports at The Contra Costa Times:
As he seeks to push his controversial vaccine bill through another committee vote Wednesday, Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, is expected to confront a legion of even more determined opponents than he witnessed last week when Senate Bill 277 cleared its first hurdle.
But this time, adversaries of the bill -- which would repeal the state's personal belief exemption and require that only children who have been immunized for diseases such as measles and whooping cough be admitted to a school in California -- are returning with what they say is a powerful trump card.
Parents like San Jose resident Elaine Shtein are being encouraged to bring a son or daughter to stand with them before the eight-member Senate Education Committee on Wednesday with a warning: If the bill passes, they pledge to yank their children out of public and private schools, and home-school them, something they believe will deprive both the state and private school systems of money for every student enrolled.
"This next hearing is going to be a key one for us because of the financial stakes,'' said Shtein, 34, who said her 5-year-old son was diagnosed with autism after receiving a vaccine as a baby.
The tactic is unlikely to succeed. Home-schooling is hard, and very few of these parents will actually be able to do it.