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Posted by on Jan 16, 2013 in Ireland | 0 comments

Harmful Anti-Vaccination Group Somehow Has Charitable Status

Human Life International (HLI) is a Catholic pro-life group which operates all over the world, including here in Ireland. Their mission statement being,

 “The Mission of Human Life International (Ireland) is promoting and defending the sanctity of Life, Faith and Family according to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.”

But the HLI doesn’t solely support a pro-life ethos, they also promulgate factitious lies about vaccines, contraceptives and homosexuality. You can find this link on their homepage.

You won’t be surprised to discover that the research it links to is absolute quackery at its finest. The claim is that there was an increase in autism after vaccine jabs since pharmaceutical companies began to use aborted human fetal tissues fetal cell lines. There is a reference to a paper by Helen Ratajczak which apparently claims that

An additional increased spike in incidence of autism occurred in 1995 when the chicken pox vaccine was grown in human fetal tissue.

The logic is completely fallacious, just because X occurred after Y does not mean Y was the cause. There is simply no link between the two, it would be as if I said that it began raining after I turned off the TV, therefore turning the TV off made it rain, pure silliness. Ratajczak, of course, doesn’t offer any concrete or even speculative evidence to back this hypothesis up, simply conjecture.  But she is fully aware that it is conjecture, stating that nobody has proven that using stem cells causes autism, but science hasn’t proved that it doesn’t. Again this is a ludicrous assertion, how many things haven’t been proved not to cause autism? Salt, air, guitars, elephants, I think you get the idea, the list is quite endless and quite ridiculous. Ratajczak relies heavily on research done by Mark Geier and his son David. Both of these men have absolutely no credibility within the scientific field. Mark Geier has testified in dozens of court cases regarding vaccines and autism, and he was labeled as “intellectually dishonest,” “not reliable” and “wholly unqualified” by the judges. In fact, Mark Geier’s medical licence was revoked in 2011 by Maryland State Board of Physicians, saying he

endangers autistic children and exploits their parents by administering to the children a treatment protocol that has a known substantial risk of serious harm and which is neither consistent with evidence-based medicine nor generally accepted in the relevant scientific community.

His son David was fined in 2011 for practicing as a licensed physician despite only having a BA in biology. So this is where the HLI got the idea that vaccines are harmful to children. From a pseudo-scientific paper which merely make speculations and relies on the research of two highly questionable characters.

The HLI also extends their anti-science attitude towards contraceptives. Their website makes an outrageous claim in a very bizarre manner. They have a list of personal anecdotes about the dangers of contraceptives, yet the first point on the list isn’t a quote nor is it cited:

Discover what some very honest couples experienced when they used the pill. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Apart from the breast cancer, cervical cancer, blood clots and infertility, these other side effects won’t be found on the packet.

Since there is not a shred of evidence to back this claim up, I think it prudent to treat it like the made-up trollop that it is.

The HLI doesn’t stop there. Being a Catholic organisation they couldn’t forget about the greatest threat to mankind. No, not war, famine, poverty, disease etc. Homosexuality of course.

Those struggling with a homosexual tendency deserve the right to hear that their orientation can be successfully reversed with proper psychological assistance and spiritual help. At a recent conference in London, psychologist Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality said: “For many years, I have found myself in the odd position of being a psychologist whose profession says homosexuality is not a problem – yet many homosexual men continue to come to me in conflict.”

Of course conversion therapy has been completely debunked for the nonsense that it is, but is it not simply nonsense, it is nonsense which is extremely harmful to many of the people who endure it. If you are interested, you can find scholarly articles on the harmful effects of conversion therapy here, here and here. But if you are short on time, here is a short article which describes the dangers of conversion therapy. In short

the potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient. Many patients… were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction. The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed… the APA opposes any treatment, such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy which is based on the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based on a prior assumption that the patient should change his/her sexual orientation.

So the HLI isn’t just simply pro-life: it is anti-vaccine, anti-contraception and homophobic. Worse again is that it spreads lies and pseudo-science to scaremonger people. This is quite deceitful and insidious and I am quite annoyed that such a group operates here in Ireland. But I was shocked to find out that the HLI in Ireland enjoys charitable status, so they are spreading these lies on the back of the Irish tax-payer. How the Irish government allows such a hate-filled slanderous organisation to function as a charity is beyond me. We are seeing cuts to every sector of Irish society, including health and education, alongside increases in stealth taxes, yet this organisation is allowed to operate while being subsidised by the state and the tax-payer.

If you are Irish and this annoys you as it does me, please bring it to the attention of your local TD. Who knows, if enough people care a petition could be started. Petitions are generally ineffective but it might get enough signatories to garner some media attention. I find it deplorable that such a organisation exists in Ireland, but for it to operate on tax-payers money is more than I can handle.

I would like to thank Geoff Lillis for this post. He linked me to a story he had done on it and allowed me to plagiarise him. So most of the leg work was already done. You can check out Geoff on his blog, and on his Twitter. He’s a very good and interesting writer so I highly recommend you check out his work.