BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana state senator used a bill to expand a voluntary statewide immunization database to push a long-debunked theory linking vaccines to autism.

Sen. John Milkovich, a Keithville Democrat, assailed vaccines Monday on the Senate floor as unsafe, repeating claims that studies have discredited.

Milkovich claimed "autism did not exist" when he was growing up, and that "tissue from aborted babies is now used in vaccines." He also suggested aluminum and mercury in vaccines are dangerous.

The Advocate reports no other senators defended vaccines following Milkovich's speech.

Sen. Regina Barrow, a Baton Rouge Democrat, sponsored the legislation that provoked Milkovich's objections. She said immunizations have transformed medicine.

Barrow's bill passed 27-10, moving to the House for debate.

Federal officials say a measles resurgence has been driven by misinformation about vaccines.

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