Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has apologized for describing as a “holocaust” a rise in autism cases he believes is linked to vaccinations, walking back a remark that framed an incendiary debate over a California bill requiring shots for most school children.
On the same day that California lawmakers held solemn ceremonies marking Holocaust Remembrance Day, Kennedy released a statement saying he had chosen his words poorly.
“I employed the term during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives over over twenty million children and shattered their families,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I am acutely aware of the profound power attached to that word and I will find other terms to describe the autism crisis in the future.”
While speaking last week at a Sacramento screening of the film Trace Amounts, which ties rising autism rates to the use of a mercury-based preservative in vaccines, Kennedy blamed childhood vaccinations for injuries that include autism and permanent neurological damage.
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“This is a holocaust,” Kennedy said, “what this is doing to our country.”
The following day, Senate Bill 277 passed its first committee after a protracted and impassioned hearing. Its next vote comes on Wednesday.
Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.