They shoot horses, don’t they?

The anecdote The Family Doctor , published by Julie Obradovic on Age of Autism a couple of months back, is a well told story of how she finally succeeds in converting her brother, a pediatrician, to her understanding that vaccines are bad and likely a cause for autism. If you are new to the question of autism and its causes, and come across this story early on in your search for answers, chances are it might be pretty influential.

But something has been bugging me about the story since I first read it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, so I haven’t written about it until now. It was a discussion I had with Autistic Bitch From Hell in the comments to my recent post A View From the Middle that made me realize what was so troubling to me about the story.

Here are Obradovic’s brother’s thoughts on autism and an autistic child:

“I tell you, I would rather she got Polio than Autism. At least her mind would be in tact. At least she could talk to me, experience life with me. No offense, but some of the stories you send me about these kids? Well, if they were horses, they’d be put down just to ease their misery. What parent can watch that, or live with that? What child deserves that?”

In other words, an autistic life is not worth living. And an autistic child is not worth parenting. With this mind-set, it is no wonder that they want to find a way to eradicate autism.

I just hope those of you trying to learn more about autism take this attitude into account when you read stories and opinions about vaccines as the cause of autism.

4 thoughts on “They shoot horses, don’t they?

  1. This really struck a nerve with me. In my young 20s when I was pregnant with my oldest, I actually struggled with what was worse, physical or developmental disability (my son was supposedly supposed to be born with hydrocephalus but actually had agenesis of the corpus callosum). I am so ashamed of that now. My understanding of what makes up a person is so much broader, but I still struggle because of how I was raised, how I was “molded.”


  2. I would be mighty reluctant to take my child to a pediatrician who became convinced that vaccines are harmful because his sister told him scary stories. It doesn’t say good things about the doctor’s critical thinking skills and research skills.

    And how about a brother who could say that he would rather his child have a terrible illness than to be like his niece (or nephew)? Nice family all around!

    You give Ms. O far too much credit by even linking to her story.


  3. From my reading of Obradovic’s blog-post, her brother is a foot doctor, [“He’s a board certified podiatric surgeon”] and not a pediatrician as you’ve written in your post [“a well told story of how she finally succeeds in converting her brother, a pediatrician”]. This changes things somewhat, in my opinion. Maybe I misread?


  4. dyslexic_angeleno: You are right, he is a “podiatric surgeon”, not a “pediatric surgeon”. I think I was assuming since the topic of discussion was kids, it was pediatrician; a case of the eyes seeing what the brain is expecting to see? What a difference a letter makes.

    It does make me feel a little better that he is not a pediatrician with those views of children, and maybe he just hasn’t spent enough time around kids to realize how different they all are from each other, disabled or not.


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