In a recent article[1] published by the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), ICAN claims that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has lost[2] a Federal Lawsuit (brought forward by ICAN) calling the CDC to produce its scientifically backed evidence that vaccines don't cause autism.

However, in the actual Lawsuit outcome[3] it is said that the case was "voluntarily dismissed" after the CDC produced 20 pieces of scientifically backed research to assert their claims.

There are however, articles[4] (and I've seen Facebook posts[5]) claiming that the CDC has lost the case and is now not allowed to make the above mentioned claim(s).

Did the CDC lose the Lawsuit and now cannot claim that Vaccines do not cause Autism?

Further reading:

  • 19
    Upon further reading, it has become clear to me that this is another Anti-Vax piece of nonsense.
    – Möoz
    Mar 11, 2020 at 22:58
  • 11
    Then please either write an answer giving the facts or delete the question. Mar 12, 2020 at 3:26
  • 1
    Your first link says "The CDC claims on its website that “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.”[1] " The link given is applewebdata://D4EC9B6E-FCD1-4A12-8931-226AF6D279C5#_ftn1, which is not a valid URL. In fact, it appears to be a link to a document on a local drive, and thus accessible only to people with access to that drive (HTML allows you to link to documents on your own hard drive, but those links work only on your computer). So not exactly a ringing endorsement of their competence. Then there's the proving a negative thing. Mar 12, 2020 at 4:41
  • 2
    If they lost the case and are no longer able to make this claim, I'd like to submit cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism.html, which seems to either show the claim by ICAN as false, or show that the CDC is in flagrant violation of the court mandate. I strongly suspect the former.
    – cpcodes
    Mar 12, 2020 at 16:23
  • 2
    @Acccumulation It's really weird in this case though. They sued them so that the CDC could provide it's scientifically backed evidence. So they withdrew the case because CDC did supply the evidence to them; but used their own withdrawal to conclude that CDC lost and didn't have the evidence. Now, I don't know if CDC was actually refusing to provide this evidence or what though. If they were, I could see some merit in saying ICAN "won"; but not in the same way they seem to be claiming it.
    – JMac
    Mar 16, 2020 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


This lawsuit is over a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. FOIA is a law requiring government entities to release certain types of information upon request.

Plaintiffs asked the CDC to provide evidence of a certain claim. In response, the CDC provided 20 such documents. Link 3 in the OP is to the agreement by attorneys from both plaintiff and defendant dismissing the case. The articles after this are simply arguing that the scientific evidence provided is flawed - this isn't anything a court decided, just their opinions which do not seem to be based on science - their claims about the CDC "losing" a case are not founded.

In summary, the case was indeed as in the title of the question here: to "produce evidence that vaccines do not cause Autism". The CDC provided the evidence, which was the goal of the lawsuit. At that point, there is no more case. The CDC could have argued that they weren't legally required to provide the evidence, and then the court would have to rule whether this was correct or not and perhaps order them to provide evidence.

This would be like if you went to court asking for someone to give you $1 that you are owed. They agree you are owed $1, and offer to give you $1. The case at that point would be dismissed with an agreement signed between the parties stating that the $1 has been given. Afterwards, someone writes a blog post saying that US currency is not legal tender. Such an argument does not change the outcome of the case, it's an orthogonal argument.

  • 4
    Much as I suspected. Thank you!
    – Möoz
    Mar 13, 2020 at 2:22

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