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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

DA Promotes Discredited Vaccine Notion

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism

At The San Antonio Express-News, Brian Chasnoff reports on the Bexar County DA who offered a video endorsement of the vaccine theory.
I’m Nico LaHood,” he said. “I’m the criminal district attorney in San Antonio, Texas. I’m here to tell you that vaccines can and do cause autism.”

The video ends with a plug for a documentary, “Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe,” and promises that “Niko’s (sic) Story” is “coming” today.
The “Autism Media Channel” posted the video to Facebook on Friday. Two days later, LaHood screened the controversial documentary at Santikos Bijou Cinema Bistro, according to a source who was invited to (but didn’t attend) the Sunday screening.
The article quotes autism mom Fiona O'Leary:
“I’m really, really outraged by this comment actually because we’re used to hearing the quacks and the discredited doctors terrifying parents,” O’Leary said. “But now, we have a professional, a criminal district attorney, making these statements. This man was in his office when he made this statement, presenting under his professional title as a criminal district attorney.
“It’s a reckless statement, and I think he should issue a public apology,” she added.
Tara Haelle writes at Forbes:
But LaHood “just happens to be the DA,” which means he has an aura of authority and is likely respected by many individuals in his community. He has a legal degree and legal expertise, but that does not mean he has any scientific expertise. Being a “daddy” doesn’t give him any extra expertise in medical research either. He therefore should not be irresponsibly speaking out on a topic he is ignorant about and angering parents of autistic children who actually do understand the science.
LaHood expects his statements to be unpopular because he said in the interview that his “is not a politically correct opinion.” But political correctness has nothing to do with vaccines or autism or any other medical evidence. Neither does anyone’s opinion. Scientific facts are scientific facts—opinion plays no role at all—and they’re based on evidence, which in this case clearly shows the safety of vaccines and their irrelevance to autism.
So LaHood needs to stop sharing his misbeliefs publicly, not because they’re not “politically correct” but because, quite simply, they aren’t scientifically correct.