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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Antivax DA Goes Down in Texas

 In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the discredited theory that vaccines cause autism.

In Texas primaries this week, antivaccine forces failed miserably in an attempt to oust a GOP lawmaker.  They also lost a wacky DA.

Jasper Scherer at The San Antonio Express-News:
Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood, who gained national attention for his anti-Islamic comments and support of a debunked claim that vaccines cause autism, was decisively defeated after just a single term by Joe Gonzales, a one-time business associate.

Gonzales jumped into what became a bitter and divisive race after LaHood, in front of a judge, threatened to destroy his legal practice.

His race was aided by nearly $1 million in donations from liberal hedge fund magnate George Soros. LaHood struck back with lurid attack ads that claimed Soros “owned” Gonzales while deriding his commitment to not prosecute prostitution.
Brian Chasnoff at the same newspaper:
For many defectors, the breaking point came in the summer of 2016, when the DA appeared in a video, seated at his desk in his office, and declared, “I'm Nico LaHood. I'm the criminal district attorney in San Antonio, Texas. I'm here to tell you that vaccines can and do cause autism.”

Criticized for the statement, LaHood once again dodged responsibility, explaining it was his personal opinion based on his experiences as a father. Few actions by an elected official, though, could cause more harm to the public, particularly to children, who face a higher risk of contracting diseases in the absence of vaccines.

Nonetheless, in both 2014 and this year, LaHood ran on a platform of protecting children. This time, his actions spoke louder than words, and voters reacted in turn.