The Contentious Politics of Vaccinations (and Abortion)
A few months back, someone emailed me with a request to add a new page to the Abort73 website–one dealing with the connection between abortion and childhood vaccines. Today that page went up. In doing the research, I was again reminded what a vast and remarkable resource the world wide web is. Such research would have been prohibitive for all but a select few even 10 or 15 years ago. But over the course of the last couple days, I was able to access source materials from a slew of government and private agencies, all dealing with the complex relationships between abortion and vaccinations, or vaccinations and autism.
The benefit of this new page is not that it presents any original material or research. It doesn't. But it does compile and organize the information into one place, saving the reader from countless hours of digging (and lots of rabbit trails). The information was already out there, but it took some determination to chase it all down. Think of "Vaccines and Abortion" as a relatively short primer on a rather complex issue. And for anyone wanting to go deeper, there are more than enough reference links to accommodate a much more thorough examination.
The second thing I was reminded of is how how hard it is to arrive at "objective" conclusions. We all bring biases to the table, which is why two different people or organizations can look at the same data and come to such wildly different conclusions–or why the data itself may be a product of ideological bias. This time around, the primary context was not abortion, but vaccines themselves, and the primary point of contention was their purported but highly disputed connection to autism. Over and over again, from both sides of the ideological spectrum, I read of the need for more unbiased research and reporting. Easier said that done. As with abortion, vaccinations are big business, and lots of dollars are on the line. Do multibillion dollar drug companies have the political sway to keep their vaccines in the clear? Do pediatricians who have prescribed these vaccines thousands of times have a vested interest in disputing anyone who would question their safety? On the other hand, is the mere profitability of an enterprise any indication that it is morally compromised
We are all prone to interpret data in accordance with our own ideology, but while we can debate the ethics or safety of using vaccines from abortion-derived cell lines, there is no denying that these vaccines are in use and have been used extensively, hundreds of millions of times, over the last few decades. That in itself is a shocking reality, and from all accounts, one that very few people are even aware of.
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. You can also find him on Facebook and Google+. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.