A special court rejects autism-vaccine theories.

Health and medicine explained.
Feb. 12 2009 3:35 PM

In Your Eye, Jenny McCarthy

A special court rejects autism-vaccine theories.

(Continued from Page 1)

There's hope that today's ruling will reverse that trend. It won't affect the true believers. The notion that a government-backed, pharmaceutical-company-enriching program damaged their children has become a crusade and hobby and hangout for thousands of people, including movie stars like Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey, as well as doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and even a few scientists. An industry of hucksters, personal-injury lawyers, and clueless alternative-medicine practitioners has fed off of the desperation of parents of autistic children. Many parents, frantic to alter their children's diagnosis, turn to untested drugs, foods, vitamins, and extracts that promise to halt, or even reverse, autism—promising claims that some parents cling to.

Advertisement

In a brief filed in January, Cedillo's lawyers threatened to flood the courts with their claims should they lose the case. They wrote, "[I]t would behoove the parties, and the manufacturers, to join forces and achieve a global settlement in the Vaccine Program. The alternative is civil litigation by thousands of profoundly damaged autistic children and their families in all 50 states."

An appeals court will likely review the findings, and the claimants have the right to sue in regular courts once the vaccine court denies them compensation. But in the past two decades, the vaccine court's rulings have been effective in keeping vaccine litigation out of the civil court system.

That what's heartening about today's decision. A profoundly democratic institution, in which judges do their best to offer justice to the casualties of public health, gave 10,000 parents their day in court. But as they sing in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, "The lord answered your prayers. The answer was no." It's time to move on.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Big Problems With the Secret Service Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 2 2014 12:58 PM Why Can’t States Do More to Protect Patients From Surprise Medical Bills? It’s complicated.
  Life
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 2 2014 1:05 PM What's Wrong With "America's Ugliest Accent"
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 2 2014 12:37 PM St. Louis Study Confirms That IUDs Are the Key to Lowering Teen Pregnancy Rates
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 2 2014 1:09 PM Are You Enjoying a Picnic on a Dumpsite?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 12:56 PM My Year Without Flying I’ve stayed on the ground, to help fight climate change. Here’s what happened.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 2 2014 12:53 PM The Panic Virus How public health officials are keeping Americans calm about the Ebola threat.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?