Catholic Bishops Urge that COVID-19 Vaccine Be Free from Aborted Baby Cells

MAY 24, 2020

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), along with the leaders of many healthcare, bioethics, and pro-life organizations, is urging the Administration to make sure that vaccines for coronavirus are developed ethically and are free from any connection to the exploitation of abortion.  The coalition letter to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration strongly urges the federal government to "ensure that fundamental moral principles are followed in developing vaccines, most importantly, the principle that human life is sacred and should never be exploited."  (1)


"It is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically.  No American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience." (2)


This issue emerged because some politicians are urging the Administration to lift its restrictions on National Institutes of Health (NIH) research.  These restrictions prevent the use of any bodies of aborted children, often referred to as "fetal tissue."  Some media articles are claiming that the restrictions are preventing scientists from finding a vaccine for COVID-19 even though the restrictions against using aborted fetal tissue are not hindering research.


Pharmaceutical companies around the world are also working to make a vaccine against COVID-19.  Explaining current vaccine research, Dr. David Prentice, VP and Research Director for one company said, "... there are a lot (over 40) proposed or under development; ... a few raise concern because they use an abortion-derived cell line as part of the process." ... "their origin makes them ethically tainted."  (3)


However, there are possible alternatives.  "There are actually many licitly (permitted by law) produced vaccines under consideration, including vaccines using insect cells, ethically-derived human cells, and some that use no cells at all," Dr. Prentice explained.  "It's important that we advocate for such vaccines and treatments so that all people can access new vaccines in good conscience."  (4)


Many are not aware that common vaccines that grow in aborted fetal cells include: chickenpox, shingles, hepatitis A, rabies, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella).  These aborted fetal cells were originally used in the 1960s and 1970s.  These same lines are still used today.

While it's still too early to know what vaccine for COVID-19 will prove effective, scientists are certain that vaccines can be created without using fetal cell lines, and the bodies of aborted children are not necessary for medical research and advancements. 

(, 4/21/20(1);, 4/17/20(2)(3)(4);, 4/2/20;, 3/14/19)


"Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.” -  Albert Schweitzer, physician and humanitarian

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