During a debate on the Louisiana Senate floor, State Senator John Milkovich (D) made remarks suggesting that vaccinations can cause Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as well as bowel disease. Such claims, first put forth by British doctor Andrew Wakefield, have since been widely discredited, and the doctor himself was taken off the British medical register. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also funded several studies repudiating this link between vaccines and ASD or bowel disease. In the same speech, Milkovich remarked that when he was growing up, autism did not exist yet. In reality, the term “autism” was first coined in 1943,14 years before Milkovich was born.
In a previous speech Milkovich had also falsely stated that “tissue from aborted babies is now used in vaccines,” and claimed that the mercury and aluminum used in vaccines was dangerous. Studies funded by the CDC have also found no link between vaccines containing thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative), and ASD.