Lawmaker calls for mercury-free flu vaccines
Shots' link to autism spurs effort by Pavley
SACRAMENTO -- After Assemblywoman Fran Pavley raised her microphone in late May to present her proposal to bar the use of a mercury-based preservative in flu vaccines given to young children and pregnant women, she backed away in lip-biting silence.
Before she finished, her presentation was halted three times by invisible but voice-cracking tears.
Eventually, the measure would pass comfortably, but the votes were at first slow to come. When the decisive vote was cast, an opponent loudly groused on the Assembly floor that it had been "a sympathy vote." Two colleagues quickly confronted the complainer to hush him and tell him what he needed to know: Pavley has an autistic son.
Mercury is a known factor that can inhibit fetal brain development and lead to such neurological diseases as mental retardation and autism.