06/24/2005 11:37 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Here's What We Do Know

Last night I did something highly unusual for a parent of a child with Autism...I left the house before my son was asleep. I went out to dinner with the parent of another Autistic boy. We swapped war stories...his son ran out of the car in the middle of Wilshire Blvd, my son insisted he could fly and tried to jump off a two story balcony, his son has held up a butcher knife and tried to attack him with it when in the midst of a raging tantrum more times than he can remember, my son has only done this once. My son called my cellphone no less than 8 times during the hour I was away, spinning in a vortex of anxiety, desperate for me to return. He is eleven years old. And he is doing remarkably well. After nine years of intensive therapeutic and biomedical intervention, my son finally has friends and playdates and a school placement that works for him. Today. Tomorrow is unknown.

So much about this vexing and tragic disability remains unknown. We don't know if Thimerosal, the mercury preservative in pediatric vaccines (which continues to be dispensed even as I write this) causes Autism. But as long as high level officials from the CDC and the FDA convene with executives from Vaccine Manufacturers at locations such as the Simpsonwood Conference Center in Georgia in June 2000, and conspire to cover up compelling data, we will never know. Robert Kennedy Jr. has courageously stepped forward to report about such apparent collusion between pharmaceutical corporations and public organizations responsible for protecting our national health. The intrepid parents of Unlocking Autism secured a campaign promise from Pres. Geo. W. Bush that he would ban Thimerosal from all pediatric vaccines. Now, instead of protecting the health of our kids, he is protecting the financial interests of Big Pharma (who are also Big Donors to his campaigns) and reneging on his promise. But Unlocking Autism is holding him to it (go to to view their ads and sign their petition). Why won't the conservative party that has the majority behave conservatively? While we don't yet know the full impact of high levels of mercury on the developing nervous systems of infants and children, it's conservative to determine that it is unwise to directly inject it into their fragile bodies. Let's err on the side of caution, behave conservatively, and stop putting generations of our children at risk. Immediately.

[Whatever your views on vaccines and autism issue, please urge your representatives in congress to support autism research and vital new early identification screening program through the "Combating Autism Act"]