The State of Autism—and 15 Questions for the Presidential Candidates

How will Barack Obama and Mitt Romney address the autism epidemic?

Does anyone know what our presidential candidates’ plans are for dealing with the autism epidemic in this country? Does anyone know what their policies are regarding vaccines?

Few people can say yes to either of these questions. And that’s because, with the exception of a half-assed response to question 14 of the 2012 “Top American Science Questions” [1], both Obama and Romney have avoided the subject like the plague.

No one argues that autism is an epidemic. The figures speak for themselves. Money is definitely being spent on autism research. Millions of dollars every year, as a matter of fact. Awareness has increased. How could it not with a statistic like 1 in 88 and a media that covers the topic thoroughly? Finally, there is certainly no shortage of government agencies to address the issue.



It’s one thing to admit that we have an epidemic on our hands. It’s another thing entirely to actually do something about it. Nothing is working. It’s not getting better. It’s getting worse. Autism is a national crisis. A healthcare emergency. The incidence of autism is almost twice today what it was four years ago. What will it be in four more years? 1 in 44? In eight years? 1 in 22?


Most of the money that’s being spent on gene research is wasted. There’s no such thing as a genetic epidemic. Nobody is spending money studying vaccines—each one and in combination. No one is investigating their ingredients, their success and failure rates, their side effects, their necessity, their efficacy. Nor the vaccine schedule. Nor vaccinated children versus unvaccinated children. No studies conducted by someone who has no financial interest in the outcome. Not a vaccine manufacturer, not anyone associated with Big Pharma, and not the government. But someone who will report the truth and not twist the statistics.


One huge problem with the increase in awareness is that many experts use it to explain the increase in autism. Everyone, from parents to doctors, is smarter and can identify autism now, whereas they used to not be so good at it. Hence, they claim, there aren’t more children with autism today. We’re all just better at recognizing it. We’re all more aware.


Let’s look at a few of the groups working on the problem.

HHS: The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services objectives include early identification, early intervention, and early learning; research to come up with better screening and diagnostic techniques; improving behavioral, communication, and social skills; assisting with employment and independent living; protecting individuals’ legal rights; and providing affordable healthcare. [2] What about prevention? Figure out the cause and, subsequently, a cure, and all these things won’t be necessary. Look no further than the AAP’s vaccine schedule.

IOM: The Institute of Medicine “works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public.” Their goal? “To help those in government and the private sector make informed health decisions by providing evidence upon which they can rely.” [3] Really? Guess who one of the members is? Dr. Paul Offit. Enough said. So much for this “unbiased” group.

IACC: The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee consists of representatives from federal agencies and the public. Dr. Thomas Insel is the director. Only one member, activist Lyn Redwood, represents parents who believe autism is preventable and treatable. Who are some of the other members? An AAP advocate who obviously has no interest in researching vaccine safety. A staunch defender of Dr. Offit. A CDC employee who pressured an AAP journal to publish a bogus vaccine study. A former Merck employee. The president of an autism organization funded by vaccine manufacturers. There are more—just no environmental expert. [4] With their current membership, I doubt they’re going to consider vaccines anytime soon. The IACC is nothing more than a monumental failure.

VAERS: Even the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System doesn’t amount to much. When adverse events are reported, what happens? Is someone analyzing the data, investigating the injuries and deaths, and reporting them to the appropriate people and agencies? How are these statistics ignored? They should be included in the Vaccine Information Sheets that are supposed to be given to parents for every vaccine their children receive. We should be seeing these tragic numbers in the news. There should be warnings. And recalls. Who’s doing something about it?

According to former FDA Commission David Kessler, only about one percent of reactions are reported. So, take a number like 50,000+ injuries and almost 1,000 deaths from the hepatitis B vaccine and multiply it by 100 (or even 10), and we’re up to between 500,000 and 5 million injuries and 10,000 to 100,000 deaths. That’s from one vaccine. “Apparently, no number of VAERS vaccine adverse reaction reports is sufficient to cause the FDA or CDC to raise a red flag or withdraw a vaccine from the market.”

Another problem is that 61 percent of vaccine providers don’t know what constitutes an adverse event. [5]


There are more and more vaccines. Vaccines that are given to tiny babies and pregnant women. While you’re reading this article, there are 300+ vaccines in development. There are more sick children. More autism. More dead children. Suicides. Murders. Our children aren’t getting the care they need. Their parents live every day with the crushing fear of what will happen to their children when they die and there’s no one left to love them and take care of them.

These families fight every day. For IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) and other services their children desperately need and deserve. For vaccine exemptions. For treatments that work. For some sort of relief. They fight abuse at school. They fight bullies (teachers and students). They fight the stigma. And they fight with little or no sleep, little or no money, and little or no help or support.

Why? Because no one is doing anything to fix the problem. Nobody is looking at the real cause in most children, and that is vaccines. It’s simple. If what they’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to do something else. (Definition of insanity.)



When Obama ran for president in 2008, he called himself the Autism President. He promised insurance coverage for autism therapies for all Americans. To create a federal government position responsible for autism policy. To increase spending on autism to $1 billion per year by the end of his term. [6]

Has he kept these promises? No. This is the same president who told Sam Wessels, a 10-year-old with autism, a few weeks ago, “Sam, I will gladly stand up with you for people with autism. As a matter of fact, I had already planned to stand up for those who have autism. Autism is an enormous issue and I have a plan.” [7]

We heard this four years ago. He had a plan. Look where we are. The “plan” has failed. No one will admit to any wrongdoing, let alone a cover-up, and no one will take responsibility. Who’s going to fix this catastrophic disaster?

Obama said, on World Autism Awareness Day, 2012: “We have made great strides in our understanding of the autism spectrum.” [8] Great strides? Really? Where? Oh, that’s right. Increased diagnosis and awareness.

He goes on to say autism is a priority. Then, he pats himself on the back for signing the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act which funds “research, education, early detection, and support and services for children and adults.”

Obama stated, “On World Autism Awareness Day, let us reaffirm our dedication to supporting those on the autism spectrum and their families, and let us continue the work of ensuring all our people have a chance at achieving the American dream.”

The American dream? WTF? Children and their families who are living with a vaccine injury like autism are living in hell. A nightmare. An autism nightmare.

Romney doesn’t have much to say either. Sam asked him, “What’s happening to America’s most precious resource, our children, and what do you plan to do about it?” [9] Romney rambled, but in essence said, “One of the places we will spend our funds wisely is on research and science where we think we can make a difference in the lives of our citizens. We will cure disease and cure conditions that cause disability and at the same time create new science and open up new enterprises for our economy.” As in the vaccine industry?

He goes on to say, “It will be determined not by the politicians but will be determined by the scientists and by people who measure where the impact will be the greatest.” As in money for Big Pharma?


The question I mentioned at the beginning of this article was: “Vaccination campaigns against preventable diseases such as measles, polio, and whooping cough depend on widespread participation to be effective, but in some communities vaccination rates have fallen off sharply. What actions would you support to enforce vaccinations in the interest of public health, and in what circumstances should exemptions be allowed?” [10]

Basically, Obama said the Affordable Care Act would ensure “quality preventive health care services” for all Americans, including vaccines. “Ultimately, I believe the health care law is a significant step forward in ensuring that every American has access to the preventive care and immunizations that they need to stay healthy.”

Romney has several priorities, including making sure “America has adequate supplies of safe and effective vaccines” (which requires “advanced manufacturing capabilities”), preventing disease outbreaks (which means vaccines must be used effectively—in other words, “the vast majority” should be vaccinated), and having “a robust research and development enterprise capable of constantly improving on the tools available to prevent these diseases” (which means ensuring “that America remains the most attractive place to develop and commercialize innovative, life-saving products like vaccines”).


Neither Obama nor Romney has a clue. They’re both oblivious. Even if they had a clue, would they have the courage or guts to be honest? Unless I’m missing something, neither answered the question about vaccine exemptions.

Together, their ideas amount to this: Let’s make vaccines affordable (free if necessary), ensure that everyone is vaccinated, and, in the meantime, keep the American vaccine industry booming. As Dan Olmsted says, they both “want to vaccinate the bejesus out of America’s kids—and that’s the main driver of the autism epidemic. Talk about a messed-up situation! … You can’t push policies that cause an autism epidemic, and then expect credit for how you plan to prevent or treat it.” [11]


Here are some of the questions I would like the presidential candidates to answer:

1. What are your plans for addressing the autism epidemic?

2. How much money are you going to allocate for this issue?

3. Are you going to allocate funds to research environmental factors, especially vaccines, as a cause of autism and stop spending money on genetic research?

4. Will you insist on research to study biomedical and other treatments and therapies that are helping children with autism?

5. How do you plan to handle the adults with autism who are going to flood the system for services in a year or two because they can’t work and take care of themselves and may need to live in group homes?

6. What are you going to do to help families with vaccine-injured children?

7. Who is going to be held responsible and accountable for what has happened? Will you demand that the Federal Vaccine Court do its job and compensate all families whose children have been injured by vaccines?

8. Are you going to ensure that members of the IACC, IOM, CDC, FDA, NIH, and other relevant groups who are making decisions about autism and our children’s health and lives have no financial interest in vaccines?

9. Will you hold congressional hearings to determine what conflicts of interest currently exist in agencies that are in charge of all things autism and vaccines? Simply put, will you follow the money?

10. How are you going to influence legislation that will provide insurance coverage for autism treatments and therapies—and provide care to families who have no insurance?

11. Will you meet with groups (Canary Party, National Autism Association, Autism One, SafeMinds, etc.) who are the voice of our children and their families to discuss autism and vaccines and treatments that are working?

12. Will you allow school vaccine exemptions (medical, religious, and philosophical) to all families in every state?

13. Will you make a commitment to this country that you will not give up until a cause and cure is found—no matter where the investigation leads you?

14. When your term is over, what are we going to be able to say? Are things better? Worse? The same?

15. What are you waiting for? When are you going to start fighting for our children and their families?


Stop ignoring the issue. Get educated about the autism epidemic and vaccines. Fast. And tell the country what you are going to do about it. If you don’t care about the thousands of families who are suffering, whose lives are ruined, you better start caring about what autism is going to do to this country’s economy. It’s time to make autism a priority. It’s a national healthcare crisis. It’s an emergency. Admit it, and then do something about it. Now.

This is not a small, minor, or trivial issue. We’re talking about something that affects 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys) and 2 million American families. We’re talking about something that costs more than a million dollars to care for one child for a lifetime. Do the math.

Our government is completely discounting vaccines as a possible cause of autism. A government that, on the other hand, has a Federal Vaccine Court set up to pay families for children with vaccine injuries. This makes no sense. You can’t have it both ways.

I’ll close with a quote by Mark Blaxill, chairman of the Canary Party: “We are not going away. We cannot. We all live with autism every day in one way or another. We will not stop pushing until we get accountable leadership and until we reverse this devastating epidemic.” [12]


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About the author

Jennifer Hutchinson

Jennifer Hutchinson is a freelance editor and writer. She has devoted the last few years to helping Jake recover, researching autism and vaccines, and sharing what she knows with others. She lives in Winchester, Virginia, with Ann and Jake.