Thursday, January 31, 2008

Raise Your Voice- Political Advocacy

Wendy Fournier, our diminuitive president of the National Autism Association led this talk.
She fleshed out some of the give & take that happened with the Combating Autism Act and showed how hard she and other advocates fought to win some important concessions. She certainly does not see the Act as accomplishing all we'd like it to by any means, but it's a start. Hopefully all of you reading this took time to let the IACC know what direction you'd like to see autism research take- I did. And I think the growing drumbeat for all of us is a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study, but obviously we'd also like to see studies whose outcomes can help our children TODAY. Those of you who know me know I have a heart for prevention and determining causation, but there is no doubt that affected families need a lot NOW.
In terms of accomplishing either of these things (prevention & treatment), Wendy outlined several roadblocks.
"...restricted access by credentialed researchers to medical databases, unwillingness by NIH and scientists to investigate environmental factors in autism, including vaccines, a belief system that autism is fixed prenatally, inadequate funding and sense of urgency"

Also discussed was the IOM's more recent 2007 meeting on autism in which environmental factors including vaccines, were discussed. I have read the transcript of this meeting, and was glad to see that comments from some of our scientists and advocates were presented. My question is: "The CDC, AAP, etc. continually cite the 2004 IOM report. When will the '07 report be made?"
Then the numerous failures of the CDC were highlighted. Wendy wrote an outstanding piece about the simiar failures of the AAP. Ya gotta love Wendy and Boyd and all of our friends who don't pull any punches and tell it like it is:
There are several pieces of pending legislation to be aware of, educate yourself about further, and contact your legislators about: H.R. 1973(Vaccine Safety & Public Confidence Act), H.R. 881(Mercury Free Vaccines Act) (go Dave Weldon!), and H.R. 2832 (vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study would be mandated!). Right now these are at a standstill. Here are steps you can personally take, as listed by Wendy:
*Call your legislator's office and ask to speak with their Health Staffer
*Tell the staffer that you want your rep to co-sponsor a specific bill
*Ask for an in-person meeting with your congressman or senator
* Bring a copy of David Kirby's Evidence of Harm
* Send correspondence by mail or fax insttead of email

So what are you waiting for? Get busy! And email me or leave a comment to tell me what happened.

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