Autism & Childhood Vaccines Hearing Opening Statement: Henry Waxman | April 6, 2000

Image shows a man with some hair, black jacket and red tie at a microphone. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)

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Mr. Waxman. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    I am glad we are having this hearing today on autism. We 
still have many questions about autism--what causes it; what 
are the safest and most effective treatments; is there a way to 
prevent it; how many people in the country suffer from autism?
    We do know some things about autism. We know there is a 
genetic component to autism. There have been some dramatic 
discoveries recently in the genetics of autism like the 
discovery of the Fragile X gene and the gene that causes Rett 
syndrome. We know that autism most likely develops very early 
during fetal development. We also know that parents are not to 
blame for autism. We have come a long way from the time when 
fathers and mothers were led to believe that they had done 
something to cause their children's autism, leaving them with 
needless and destructive guilt.
    But I also understand that this hearing was called to 
consider a theory that certain vaccines cause autism. From my 
discussions with medical experts, scientists, and the autism 
community, it is clear that this is only a theory. As the 
American Medical Association concluded recently, ``Scientific 
data does not support a causal association between vaccination 
and autism.''
    I believe that we need to increase our efforts to 
understand the causes of autism. In this search, no possible 
cause, including vaccines, should be off the table. That is why 
I am a cosponsor of H.R. 3301, which would provide additional 
funding at NIH for research into what causes autism, how many 
people suffer from autism, and how best to treat those who have 
    But in this process, we must not get ahead of the science 
or raise false alarms. At every hearing in this Congress that 
this committee has held touching on childhood immunizations, I 
have made a point of emphasizing the tremendous public health 
value of immunization. More Americans have been saved by 
vaccines than by any other medical intervention. Across the 
globe, 2.5 million children die every year from childhood 
diseases; another 750,000 are crippled by these diseases. But 
American children are shielded from this death and misery by 
their vaccinations.
    During my 25-year career in Congress, my focus has been on 
improving health care, especially for children. When I was 
chairman of the Health and Environment Subcommittee of the 
Commerce Committee from 1979 to 1994, we worked constantly to 
expand NIH research into childhood diseases. I have continued 
to fight for more research, better treatments, and coverage 
while I have been in the minority. During countless hearings 
and many legislative battles, I have heard over and over again 
about the pain of parents whose children suffer from 
debilitating diseases.
    So I sympathize with the parents who are here today. I know 
how painful and how hard it must be for you as parents to have 
children who appear to be developing normally and then, all of 
a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, stop communicating and stop 
    We need to do everything we can to give these parents here 
and other parents around the country answers. There is still 
much to learn. In medicine the best answers come from research 
that can withstand the rigors of the scientific method. These 
standards have been developed in order to find the truth. If 
research has been conducted with control groups, and the 
results have been independently validated, then that gives 
parents meaningful information about what causes a disease or a 
condition and what the best treatments are.
    Parents and doctors need the best possible information so 
that they can make the best possible decisions regarding their 
children's health.
    There are lots of experts and groups that are knowledgeable 
about this issue but who were not invited to testify today. 
These groups include Dr. Louis Sullivan, former Secretary of 
Health and Human Services, and current president of the 
Morehouse School of Medicine; Dr. Isabelle Rapin, from the 
Albert Einstein College of Medicine; the American Public Health 
Association; the American Medical Association, and the National 
Network for Immunization Information. At this time I would ask 
unanimous consent that all of their statements be entered into 
the record.
 Mr. Burton. Without objection, so ordered.
    [The information referred to follows:]
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    Mr. Waxman. I thank all the witnesses who are here today 
for appearing. I know how difficult it is for some of them to 
be here, how hard it is to share their pain, and how much they 
want their testimony to be a way for us to understand that we 
in the Congress must do everything we can, consider all 
theories, get to the truth about autism, what causes it, what 
we can do to treat it, and how we can prevent it. I see that as 
our job today, and I look forward to the testimony and learning 
from the witnesses who are here to share their perspectives 
with us.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. Burton. Thank you, Mr. Waxman.


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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