For me, autism wasn't on my radar because I knew nothing of the controversy when I made the decision to no longer vaccinate. My decision was based on seeing how my oldest child was reacting to his vaccinations and not knowing what they could be doing to him. Autism came much later.
There is a difference between "fear" and a healthy level of skepticism. One doesn't need to be afraid of the opposing choice in order to question its merits. I question whether vaccinating is the safest and healthiest method of disease-prevention, and whether it should be the default choice. My skepticism was validated when I discovered recently that my youngest is allergic to latex; she has never been vaccinated, which in hindsight may have saved her life because latex allergy is a contraindication for many vaccines... yet she would never have been screened for a latex allergy (or any other allergy, for that matter) before she would have been given a vaccine.
Well... having a child with autism is very challenging; I consider it a good day if I don't contemplate suicide. I embrace my child, but I don't embrace autism any more than I would embrace a heart defect or chromosomal disorder; its part of who he is and I will do everything I can to ensure him a safe, happy life... but I would take autism away in a heartbeat of I could.