Posted by: Ticktock | April 22, 2010

Autism Still Not Linked To Aborted Fetal Tissue

What do you get when you cross pro-life advocates with vaccine deniers? The implausible idea that vaccines originally derived from aborted fetal tissue are responsible for the rise in autism. A mother of a child with autism sent me an e-mail today asking if I had any information about the recent chirping in the pro-life community about a new study they say proves a correlation between autism and their ingredients derived from aborted fetal tissue. She writes…

Just when I thought all that nonsense was dying a slow death, someone comes on one of the autism support group sites and posts something about a new EPA study linking autism to abortion cell use in vaccines.

It seems like autism is a magnet for woo woo because it’s origins can’t be fully explained. The idea that a study was being interpreted by pro-life activists as showing a correlation between autism and aborted fetal tissue really raised my skeptical alarm bells, obviously. My first thought was that this was a simple case of correlation being confused with causation. My second thought was that I better check out the study and see what it says. My third thought was that the best person to answer this question would be the study’s author, Mike McDonald. I bet the pro-life anti-vaccine activists never thought to ask the person who did the research.

Fortunately, Mike McDonald replied to me about whether his study can be interpreted to show a link between autism and aborted fetal ingredients in vaccines. (Honestly, I think this is just a trick to get people like me to acknowledge that some cells in vaccines were derived from aborted fetal tissue). Here’s what he had to say…

The statements made onthe website incorrectly represent, and far over  reach, our study findings. Our study draws no causal linkages with anything and the recent increase in autistic disorder, and certainly not to the use of fetal tissues in vaccines.  Our research serves as a screening tool to direct future research to a potentially more productive time frame for additional study.  Without additional screening approaches there are potentially a huge number of possible exogenous factors and explanations that could be associated with autism.  The data we used suggest that the timing would be similar in Denmark and in California (the Japanese data may be earlier in occurrence,but we were not able to determine a change point from the study we used), suggesting that something similar may have been occurring in at least developed countries at this time. Autistic disorder increased in California and Denmark beyond the time frame of our study, but at different rates.  If we assume a dose response relationship, then exposure to whatever exogenous factor or
factors, that might be associated with AD, would have had to increase in parallel to the AD levels in different places.  But, the levels of exposure may have been different. However, in no case is a correlation with any of these things, including with the timing of the change point, with some other occurrence any indication of causation.

I hope this helps.

Mike McDonald

Yes, it helps. Thank you so much!



  1. I heard about this several months ago, via an email from a lady from my in-laws’ super Catholic church. I don’t think she claimed an autism link (although she may have), but she was urging other parents not to use certain vaccines on moral grounds. The email made it sound like vaccine makers are just hanging around abortion clinics and scooping up the fetuses to make vaccines. This, of course, is not the case. While looking into it, I found this link that gives some background on the use of human diploid cells in vaccines:

    That link also notes that the Pontifical Academy for Life stated that, given the absence of alternatives, people should get these vaccines. Two of the vaccines that use human diploid cells are Rubella and Varicella, both of which are extremely dangerous to pregnant women. I wondered if not using a vaccine because a baby was aborted 40 years ago is a morally superior choice to leaving a pregnant woman vulnerable to diseases that can cause miscarriage as a result of not having the vaccines. I say it’s not.

  2. Oh wow. What a spin! Love how the good doctor NEVER answers the question we all want to know: Is aborted fetal tissue in vaccines that the government tells us to put in our bodies? That is so sick. I’m not even pro-life, but this is just disgusting. And shame on the people here for letting this moronic doctor answer the question with a bunch of mumbo jumbo spin and then you’re reply is, yes, this helps so much? WHAT helped? His non answer about aborted fetal tissue. He never answered the question. He must have politician cells in his blood.

    • This book should answer your question. Also, the Vatican has said that even though abortion is a sin, not vaccinating and causing more harm is a greater sin.

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