In his newest controversial statement, Tennessee Congressman-elect Mark Green falsely stated that vaccines cause autism in children and vowed to make the issue a priority when he takes office.
There is no evidence that vaccines cause autism. Reports that say so are outdated and have been disproven by the Center for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others.
But Green, who’s a physician, believes there’s a grand conspiracy behind the research.
According to the Tennessean, Green said he believes the CDC has “fraudulently managed” the data on vaccines and autism and promised to “stand against” them.
“Let me say this about autism,” Green said at a town hall this week. “I have committed to people in my community, up in Montgomery County, to stand on the CDC’s desk and get the real data on vaccines. Because there is some concern that the rise in autism is the result of the preservatives that are in our vaccines.”
Green then used his medical background to try to back his claims.
“As a physician, I can make that argument and I can look at it academically and make the argument against the CDC, if they really want to engage me on it.”
Green often used his status as a doctor in his campaign, where he easily won and took over the seat previously held by Marsha Balckburn.
I was proud to establish the Two Rivers Medical Foundation to provide free medical care to those who need it without big government or mandates. It's time for Washington to get out of the way and let Tennessee lead by returning power to the patients, and away from bureaucrats. pic.twitter.com/1wXnCybEu8
— Mark E. Green MD (@DrMarkGreen4TN) October 23, 2018
Although skeptical, Green didn’t entirely take an “anti-vaxxer” stance. “Parents should vaccinate their children,” he said. “But more research definitely needs to be done.”
Green isn’t the only Republican lawmaker to have these views. Oklahoma Governor-elect Kevin Stitt said he didn’t vaccinate all his children. “I believe in choice,” he said in February, according to the Daily Beast. “And we’ve got six children and we don’t vaccinate, we don’t do vaccinations on all of our children. So we definitely pick and choose which ones we’re gonna do.”
Dr. Knute Buehler, who was the GOP candidate for governor of Oregon but lost in November, also took a hard stance on people having the choice to vaccinate their kids or not “for personal beliefs, for religious beliefs or even if they have strong alternative medical beliefs.”
Even President Donald Trump jumped on the anti-vaxxer train and implied during a 2016 presidential debate that there could be a link to autism.
While parents are worried about the disproven claims that vaccines can cause autism, the effects on children who don’t get vaccinated to protect themselves from deadly diseases can be detrimental.
This month, the largest outbreak of chickenpox in the country in the last two decades broke out in a North Carolina school that had a high rate of children abstaining from vaccines under a religious exemption.
In 2015, a measles outbreak hit Disneyland and affected 125 people.
The anti-vaxxer movement, fueled by the false report that vaccines can cause autism, is leading to a higher percentage of children in the United States vulnerable to diseases almost eradicated through vaccinations. Now, a future congressman has joined the fringe fight.