In recent years, McCarthy has become well known for her public views on vaccines -- specifically, her claims that vaccines cause autism. McCarthy has blamed vaccines for causing her son Evan to develop autism in her book "Healing and Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide," and in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
McCarthy will begin hosting "The View" in its 17th season on Sept. 9, replacing Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
Health groups say that McCarthy's views are dangerous -- and that she will use her position on "The View" to spread misinformation using her self-declared education at "The University of Google."
A 2008 poll said that nearly one in four adults said they were familiar with McCarthy's views on vaccines. Of those adults, 40 percent said her claims made them more likely to question vaccine safety.
"Jenny McCarthy's unfounded claims about the dangers of vaccines has been one of the greatest impediments to efforts to vaccinate children in recent decades," Amy Pisani, executive director of Every Child by Two, an international vaccination group, said. "Children have died due to this misinformation."
Seth Mnookin’s "The Panic Virus," has a full chapter focusing on McCarthy, calling her “someone who has worked, methodically and relentlessly, to undermine public health.”
Critics of McCarthy fear that her being given national network time will make her seem more credible, leading to fewer children getting vaccines. Public health officials have reported a rise in cases of measles and whooping cough among children whose parents chose to delay or skip their vaccines, and more than two dozen studies have rejected the connection between vaccines and autism.
ABC has not said whether McCarthy will be given any room to talk about her own views on medical issues.
"All the hosts speak openly on a variety of topics," said ABC publicity director Lauri Hogan.