Toni Braxton Thinks God Gave Her Son Autism Because She Once Had an Abortion
You'd think by now, celebrities would understand the whole "with great power comes great responsibility" concept, but apparently, a whole lot of them still don't, as they continue to spurt dangerous pieces of "wisdom" every time they get the chance. There's Jenny McCarthy tearing down vaccines, Shailene Woodley wrongly defining feminism, and, now, Toni Braxton stating her belief that her son developed autism because God was angry at her for having an abortion.
In her new memoir, Unbreak My Heart, the Grammy-winning singer writes that God punished her for an abortion she got back in 2001 by giving her 11-year-old son, Diezel, autism.
I was suddenly faced with a choice I'd never thought I'd have to make. Amid my major misgivings about abortion, I eventually made the gut-wrenching decision… In my heart, I believed I had taken a life — an action that I thought God might one day punish me for. … My initial rage was quickly followed by another strong emotion: guilt. I knew I'd taken a life… I believed God's payback was to give my son autism.
Not bad enough? Braxton also blames vaccines for her son's autism, saying that "maybe it's just a coincidence that after my son's first MMR vaccine, I began to notice changes in him."
Ugh. Although it's understandable that Braxton, who describes having an intensely religious upbringing, would feel guilt about her abortion, there's no excuse for her using the procedure, or vaccines, to explain away Diezel's autism. It's easy for many of us to laugh off celebrities who spread misinformed or blatantly false "facts," but plenty of others take these messages to heart. Of the nearly 70 percent of Americans who've heard the idea that vaccines cause autism, for instance, 20 percent believe it — that's a whole lot of people who could potentially be harming their children because of something a celebrity wrongly said was true.
Hopefully, Braxton will eventually go the route of her fellow anti-vaccinator, McCarthy, and take back her dangerous accusations. At the very least, let's hope she remembers that she's also able to use her celebrity to promote real facts, such as when she advocated for families to learn the early signs of autism in order for their children to begin treatment as soon as possible back in 2008. Like all celebrities, Braxton has the ability to influence a significant number of lives, based on the words that come out of her mouth (or are written in her book).
All we can ask is that she starts using that power to help people, not hurt them.