46-year-old Toni Braxton, Grammy award winning 90s singer, has just come out with a new book.
And though we usually love a good celeb memoir as much as the next person, this one left us feeling more than a little off.
You see, Toni has added herself to the long list of celebrities who’ve decided to use their public platform to sprout opinions about autism and its causes. And in that classic way only celebs seem to manage, she’s offended a whole lot of people at once.
And this time? It’s little wonder.
In new memoir Unbreak My Heart Braxton has revealed that her son Diezel, 11, was diagnosed with autism. This alone is hardly a scandalous revelation. But it’s Braxton’s reasoning behind the diagnosis that’s got people talking.
Why? Because Braxton claims her son’s autism diagnosis was God’s way of punishing her for an abortion she had a decade ago. The termination was undertaken in her 30s when Braxton was dating now ex-husband, Keri Lewis.
“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,” Braxton wrote, according to E! News.
“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.”
The 46- year-old said this belief stemmed from her strict religious upbringing, where scriptures and gospel took precedence over homework, and religious studies were valued over all else.
As if these deeply hurtful claims that autism is ‘inflicted’ onto children to punish their parents wasn’t enough, Braxton continues to add fuel to fire. This time, by choosing to ignore the scientific community’s conclusive findings that autism is in no way at all caused by childhood vaccinations.
Braxton writes, “Maybe it’s just a coincidence that after my son’s first MMR vaccine, I began to notice changes in him.” She continues to add that her son began communicating differently with others after his vaccinations took place.
Now let’s be clear.
Braxton is just another mother just doing the best she can. She’s desperately trying to justify why her son was diagnosed with something she never saw coming.
But joining the likes of Jenny McCarthy, Kristen Cavallari and Alicia Silverstone by using her influential platform to sprout opinions not based on facts or evidence? It’s an abuse of power.
More than that, it’s cruel to imply to potential readers of the book that their choice to terminate in the present will carry implications for the future children they may have.