By Beth Mole
Officials in Minnesota have appointed anti-vaccine advocates to a newly formed state council on autism, sparking controversy in the wake of a record measles outbreak in the state.
State senator Jim Abeler formed the MN Autism Council last fall to address issues surrounding autism, including “treatment, educational options, employment opportunities, independent living, and more.” While about one in 59 children in the US are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, the rate in Minnesota is one in 42.
Though the council is not designed to take up the issue of vaccination, it has been ensnared in controversy due to the anti-vaccine sentiments it includes, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. At least two of the council’s more than 30 members are skeptical of vaccine safety and oppose compulsory immunizations. One of those skeptical members, Wayne Rohde, was one of three initial people Abeler appointed to the council. Rohde was charged with helping to shape the council and with picking other members.
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