Special Education

Autism and McCain

By Christina A. Samuels — March 05, 2008 1 min read
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John McCain has been busy lately--clinching the Republican nomination for president, visiting the White House to receive an official endorsement from President Bush. Not too busy, however, to wade into one of the most controversial issues roiling the autism community.

According to a recent New York Times article,
McCain said during a campaign stop in Texas that “It’s indisputable that autism is on the rise among children.” He continued, “The question is, what’s causing it? And we go back and forth, and there’s strong evidence that indicates that it’s got to do with a preservative in vaccines.”

Many medical experts say he’s half right: diagnoses of autism cases are on the rise. But, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there’s no link between the communication disorder and thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative once used in vaccines.

McCain’s comments have rolled across the highly sensitized autism community. Campaign U., a blog of the Chronicle of Higher Education, has collected a sample of critical web commentary. Many of the comments on ABC News journalist Jake Tapper’s blog offer an opposing view.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.