Friday, February 6, 2015

Dear Anti-Vaxer

You do not vaccinate your children.

You say you choose not to immunize your children against the measles and other highly-contagious diseases because, even though not a single valid scientific study backs you up, you believe that vaccines cause autism.

I could quote source after source to prove to you that vaccines do not cause autism, but I'll let other people do that.

I could rattle off facts about herd immunity and how you're endangering babies too young to be vaccinated, but I'll let other people do that.

I could even show you examples of unvaccinated children with autism. But I don't have time to spell all that out. 

What I need to tell you is what your decision says to my autistic son.

You are telling my son that you would rather risk your own child dying than have her turn out like him.

You are telling my son that you would brazenly risk the lives of countless babies in your community than have your own child be like him.

By your actions you are showing my son that he is unacceptable. That he is not human. That the world would be better off without him.

From the bottom of my heart: go to hell.

My son is a real live person; he's probably a lot like your own children. His name is Ryan - named after his great-grandmother. He's nine years old. He is funny and sweet and charming. He has friends, and he cares about them deeply - especially his bestie. He likes rollerblading and watching cartoons and baking and reading comic books and coloring and playing Angry Birds. He likes mac and cheese, and he will eat a whole pizza by himself if you let him. He sings and dances badly but with great passion. There's a girl in his musical theater class who has a crush on him, and he's as clueless as you'd expect a boy to be. His favorite shirt is the red one with the stripes; his second-favorite has Darth Vader on it. His room is always a mess. 

And I love him.

And I would do anything to keep him safe and healthy. I would never knowingly put him at risk of catching measles or polio or any of the other diseases modern science has managed to all-but-eradicate.

Because he is more than acceptable - he is awesome. And he is human. And the world is a better place because he's in it.

So please show some more respect for him and for all individuals with autism spectrum disorders - they are not the terrifying boogeymen you make them out to be.