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by Jenny McCarthy

I’m so glad Andy Wakefield finally has the chance to tell his story. Perhaps no debate on the planet right now is more confusing, more conflicting, or more maddening for parents than the debate over the causes and treatments of autism.

As the parent of a child who regressed into autism after his vaccinations, I have always considered Andy Wakefield to represent the kind of doctor and scientist who will ultimately help us end the epidemic of children with autism.

If you understand Andy’s story completely, I think you will quickly realize that he did the sort of thing most of us expect out of our doctors and something most of us were taught by the time we were in kindergarten: he
listened closely to the stories of parents and he told the truth. I really wish the primary trigger for autism was something everyone could dislike like cigarettes or rat poison. It would make ending this epidemic so much easier. Unfortunately, it appears that a product intended for good— vaccines—also has a dark side, which is the ability to do harm in certain children. This ability to do harm has unfortunately increased quite a bit in the last few decades because children today receive so many more shots than when most parents were kids.

I understand that a portion of the population will continue to believe that all of us parents are crazy and that vaccines couldn’t possibly do any harm. I really wish some of these people could have sat with me through
the thousands of conversations I have had with parents of children with autism who have all told me the same story: their child was developing normally, and after each vaccine appointment things got worse until they ended up with autism. You hear this story once, it’s disturbing, a dozen times it starts to feel like a pattern, a thousand times and you begin to wonder why this is still a debate.

Andy Wakefield did the same thing. He listened to parents who reported two things: their children with autism were suffering from severe bowel pain, and the children regressed into autism after vaccination. He listened, he studied, and he published what he learned.

I believe history will be very kind to Andy Wakefield. For the moment, he is the symbol of a very unfortunate reality, a reality that a medical system trying to do good may have done just the opposite. With time, I believe he will also be the symbol of someone who stood up for truth, despite extreme pressure to stand down.

For hundreds of thousands of parents around the world, myself included, Andy Wakefield is a symbol of strength and conviction that all parents of children with autism can use to fight for truth and the best lives possible for their kids.


Jenny McCarthy
April 22, 2010
Los Angeles, CA