By Jake Crosby
The Autism Policy Reform Coalition (APRC) is an umbrella organization of groups that support “fixing” the Combating Autism Act, now renamed the Autism CARES Act. APRC’s member organizations include SafeMinds, the National Autism Association (NAA), Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) and Generation Rescue.
APRC’s main aim specific to autism causation is the creation of an “Office of Autism Spectrum Disorder Research” at the NIH, modeled after the agency’s Office of AIDS Research. This proposal originated with SafeMinds, which appears to be leading the coalition.
Curious, I emailed APRC some questions below highlighting my concerns about its proposed “fixing.”
I have several questions I would like for you to address regarding your coalition.
1. Why do you want an autism research office in a federal agency culpable for covering up and whitewashing autism causation, that supports the stifling of debate and also supports libelous attacks on scientists?
2. Why is one of your biggest political allies Biotechnology Industry Organization’s two-time “Legislator of the Year” Mike Enzi, who published a report calling clear-cut cases of federal scientific misconduct “not substantiated”?
3. Why do you ask for a greater “federal response” from agencies caught hiding, manipulating and misrepresenting research?
4. Why does the only IACC representative of any of your member groups never mention this malfeasance as she sits in committee meetings along side some of its worst perpetrators?
5. Why do your member organizations in your coalition to influence autism legislation include SafeMinds, which hijacked the 2012 congressional autism hearing by misrepresenting its original organizer to congressional staff?
I look forward to a timely response to my questions.
Jake Crosby, MPH
Editor, Autism Investigated
I’ve received no word back, so I can only imagine how APRC could defend asking for an “Office of Autism Spectrum Disorder Research” in an agency known to cover up evidence that vaccinations are causing autism, exemplified by none other than NIH’s director of strategic planning for vaccine research, Gordon Douglas:
“Four current studies are taking place to rule out the proposed link between autism and thimerosal…In order to undo the harmful effects of research claiming to link the [measles] vaccine to an elevated risk of autism, we need to conduct and publicize additional studies to assure parents of safety.”
Would Act Up want an Office of AIDS Research in the NIH if it were trying to cover up that HIV is causing AIDS?
Weeks after my email and days after the Senate delayed voting on the Autism CARES bill opposed by APRC, the APRC website was gutted and the webpage describing APRC’s proposed autism bill was scrubbed. All that remains now is a blank homepage with a logo.
APRC supported the delay on the premise of giving the public a chance to read the CARES bill and understand what it is asking for. Yet APRC’s proposed alternative is no longer available on APRC’s website.
Addendum, July 2nd, 2014: In response to Autism Investigated, APRC confirmed it is moving to a new website that is under construction yesterday on Facebook: “Contrary to this article, we are developing a more comprehensive website resulting from the many inquiries and increased interest in our platforms and ideas. We’ll post the new improved link when it’s ready. Stay Tuned!”
Addendum, July 10th, 2014: On July 6th, I commented under the above statement, asking APRC: “Why did you scrub your old website before the new one could replace it?” I got no answer. The old APRC website autismpolicy.org now re-directs to autismpolicy.net, which is “Password Protected.”
Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.