Cure Autism Now | Jon Shestack Letter To IOM | July 3, 2001 #AutisticHistory #AutismMyth

[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

July 3, 2001

Marie McCormick, M.D., Sc.D.
Chair, Immunization Safety Review Committee
National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20418

Dear Dr. McCormick:

I am writing in regard to your upcoming evaluation of thimerosal in vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders. This subject and your Committee’s handling of it are of great interest to Cure Autism Now, which is the largest private funder of biomedical research in autism and was founded by scientists, clinicians and parents of autistic children.

Cure Autism Now takes the mercury-autism issue very seriously. In fact, we have issued and generously funded an RFP specifically on the role of mercury in autism etiology. Mercury is, a known neurotoxin with the potential to cause severe developmental deficits in even the smallest amounts. We feel that the Institute of Medicine must take a leadership position in making sure that thimerisol is removed immediately from all new vaccines, and, in addition, old stock containing thimerisol should be recalled. Furthermore, for the sake of scientific truth, better treatments for people with autism and public confidence in federal vaccination policy, we believe it is essential that the IOM recommend further research to ascertain once and for all the potential link between thimerisol and the rising incidence of autism. If a link is found, then further research must be directed at clinical efforts for mercury toxicity remediation. 

We believe that these are conservative, compassionate and reasonable recommendations. The American public needs and deserves a thorough, assessment of the evidence and independent, unbiased research on the topic. Because of our daily contact with thousands of concerned families, we know that only this type of serious response can restore rapidly deteriorating confidence in national vaccination programs.

While we recognized the high scientific standards of the IOM’s recent study on the MMR vaccine and autism, we were dismayed over the manner in which the Institute of Medicine’s findings on the MMR vaccine and autism were conveyed to the media and the public. What should have been a purely scientific issue was made into a political issue. This has the unfortunate result of impugning the true value of the science and putting families in the autism community on alert. For your assessment of thimerosal, we hope that you will scrupulously maintain an unbiased approach in both your report and the communication of the results and recommendations to the public.

This issue is extremely serious, time is of the essence, and it is only appropriate that the federal government take a leadership position. Everyday we learn more about the extent that autism has become a national catastrophe. There are now more cases of autism diagnosed than AIDS. And while the typical course of a grave disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease lasts 7 years, autism can affect the patient and the family for as long as 70 years.

In the past, various federal agencies have summarily concluded that “there is no causal proof” of a connection between autism and thimerisol. However, there has been no substantial research done on this subject, and there is a large body of knowledge regarding the neurotoxicity of mercury at low doses. Moreover, we already know that heavy metal neurotoxicity can produce neuropsychiatric disorder, as this has been well documented in the case of lead. We desperately need extensive research on the subject. 

As scientists, clinicians and parents we understand the importance of childhood vaccinations: however, we believe that standardized responses like “the benefits of vaccines outweigh any risks” make light of the lives of our children with autism and are irrelevant when evaluating a preservative and not a vaccine. 

We expect and look forward to a thorough and objective report. And in advance, we thank you for your attention to a matter that is of urgent concern to our community.


Jonathan Shestack
Co-founder, Cure Autism Now

Portia Iversen
President & Co-founder, Cure Autism Now
Co-chair, Scientific Review Council, Cure Autism Now

David Baskin M.D.
Co-chair, Scientific Review Council, Cure Autism Now
Baylor College of Medicine
Dept. of Neurosurgery & Anesthesiology

CcCongressman Dan BurtonCongressman Dave Weldon
 Congressman Christopher SmithCongressman Mike Doyle
 Congressman James GreenwoodSenator William Frist

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Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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