Autism and Childhood Vaccines Hearing Opening Statement: Helen Chenoweth-Hage | April 6, 2000

Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage (R-Idaho) speaking at microphone with short, wavy brown hair, black blazer and shirt.

See testimony here >>

Read full testimony here >>

Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I can hardly begin to thank you enough for holding this 
hearing. It is astounding to see all of these people who have 
come from all over the Nation, and I understand, Mr. Chairman, 
that you have arranged for two overflow rooms, and I noticed 
that the hall was packed when I came in.
    I rarely ask to make an opening statement, but I am unable 
to overstate the importance of this particular issue, and I 
look forward to hearing the testimony from the witnesses today 
and learning more.
    Mr. Chairman, oftentimes, I focus on the larger issues at 
hand when I address the committee, but I too am the grandparent 
of an incredibly handsome autistic child--an incredible boy. I 
cannot overemphasize how much autism affects education and 
family cohesiveness in the most loving of families. All of 
these are irretrievably affected when autism is discovered in 
one's own family.
    Mr. Chairman, when Timmy was born, neither my daughter nor 
my son-in-law knew that he was autistic. They did not have a 
clue. He was the youngest of four children, so his parents 
thought they knew what to expect in raising a baby. It was only 
later that they realized that there was something very 
different about Timmy. When he was diagnosed with autism, we 
were all worried and saddened. How would our family deal with 
this? How could he be educated, and how could we best provide 
for his future? How could, how could how could? And it went on.
    We had hundreds if not thousands of questions. We were 
shocked and frightened and worried and relieved to know what it 
was, all at the same time. At the same time, none of us knew 
what the future held, and the questions kept coming.
    That is why I am so very grateful to you, Mr. Chairman, for 
your courage and willingness to deal in areas that the Congress 
usually is not willing to open its mind to.
    Timmy is now 8 and is a beautiful young boy whom we are all 
immensely proud of. However, I cannot understate the challenges 
that our family still faces. Parents are desperate to find an 
answer to their questions. They want so much for their children 
to have integrative and communicative lives. Oftentimes, they 
feel at a loss, almost desperate, in trying to find answers to 
their questions. Many of my family's questions still remain. 
Day after day, we still search for answers. It is an overriding 
concern with all of us.
    While our questions are not all easily answered, even the 
beginning of the questions, we do somehow manage to look toward 
a brighter future for Timmy than we ever thought possible after 
his initial diagnosis. He was a gifted child in a number of 
areas, particularly music. But we still want to learn how to 
unlock the full potential of his future.
    All too often, people will write off such potential, but it 
is there. We are all sure of it. You can literally look in his 
eyes and see it.
    Mr. Chairman, autism is a very strange disorder. When Timmy 
was diagnosed, we were told that medical science did not know 
the cause of it. We were told that Timmy had about a 4 percent 
chance of leading a normal life, depending on his IQ. They 
thought autism was probably genetic, but they really just were 
not sure.
    After much research, we discovered his current schooling 
program, which is based on extensive research done by Dr. Iver 
Lovass of California. At first, quite simply, we encountered a 
vacuum of knowledge when it came to autism, and that shocked 
me. However, what shocked me even more was learning that the 
rate of autism has increased over the past several years, and 
the statistics which you show today, Mr. Chairman, are 
incredibly shocking.
    I continue to be surprised when I discover that some 
studies have found preliminary evidence of a link between 
autism and vaccines, and evidence linking dietary health to 
autism. Vaccines and dietary health are issues that I have been 
very interested in for some time now, and I look forward to 
hearing from the witnesses who will address these links.
    Mr. Chairman, we understand from the research that was the 
foundation of Dr. Lovass' program, ``Ready, Set, Go,'' that the 
chances of Timmy leading a normal life rose from 4 percent to 
nearly 20 percent, and this is based on the intensive 
behavioral intervention program developed after decades of 
research by Dr. Lovass. You can imagine the impact this program 
has had on countless children and their families.
    Research in this area changes lives, as I am sure research 
regarding vaccinations and dietary health has changed the lives 
of numerous others. The astounding results of research into 
this terrible disorder have changed the lives of many families, 
and as a result of this research, I am aware of families that 
have literally upended their lives to move across the country 
in search of programs like that of Dr. Lovass.
    Mr. Chairman, there are some remarkable programs that have 
developed over the years with regard to autism, in particular 
some amazing advances in educating autistic children. But we 
still need more answers.
    Mr. Chairman, again, let me thank you and the committee and 
the hard-working staff of the committee for holding this 
critically important hearing. For better or for worse, we must 
deal with this subject. This committee is taking a very 
important first step.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. Burton. Thank you very much, Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage.


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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