I've found myself explaining to a number of people recently why I don't support Autism Speaks, so I figured maybe it was just easier to write a blog post about it so all my reasons would be in one place that I could then just link to. Blogging inspired by laziness, if you will. This is a tricky topic for me because I have friends who do support Autism Speaks (AS) and have found their local AS chapters in particular to be helpful and supportive. I'm not about to withdraw much-needed love and support from these friends but I continue to make it clear why I disagree with their choice in this regard. So much so that the fact we're still friends is a testament to their inexhaustible patience when it comes to putting up with me. There are also a lot of people out there who support AS because when they google for information about autism, it's the first site that comes up. This is another reason why I feel the need to speak out and explain publicly why I can't support this charity. In fact, I encourage everyone to do their due diligence when it comes to supporting any organization, whether that support is either moral or financial. So, here's the list of reasons why I don't support AS:
They support eugenicsYep, I used the 'e' word but I'm actually not doing it to be inflammatory. I'm not suggesting that AS is full of Nazis or anything else that is completely untrue so calm down already. Eugenics doesn't have to be seen as wholly negative in nature - one can argue that any research focused on trying to eliminate genetically inherited conditions (like Huntingtons or cystic fibrosis) is eugenics. That's why there's always so much ethical controversy over this type of research because:
- it could lead to unforeseen outcomes.
- Unless a birth defect is uniformly lethal prior to or at birth then who gets to decide whether that trait or condition is considered 'undesirable'?
"Autism Speaks has grown into the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism."It's also right there in Part II of their Form 990 (U.S. tax return filings). They want to eliminate autism. I'm not going to support anyone who wishes my sons could have been prevented.