The following article gives an insight into how many of the vaccines we use today are setting a precedent for furthering the pro-abortion cause. There is currently work underway to challenge the pharmaceutical companies to produce safe, "untainted" vaccines.
Please voice your support in our fight to end this atrocity! We can make a difference and we proved it in November 2001 by demanding an alternative for the newly contracted smallpox vaccine would use aborted fetal cell line MRC-5. When thousands of letters poured into the CDC, the FDA, HHS and the pharmaceuticals, they listened! (Click here - smallpox alert)
Now in the summer of 2002 we are fighting TWO new vaccines under development using a new aborted fetal cell line - PER C6. Unless the public outcry is loud and swift, this grisly practice will continue unabated. (Click here - Ebola & HIV Alert)
Vaccines and Abortions and Stem Cells - Oh My! (A Road We Don't Have to Follow)
by Debi Vinnedge (5-20-2000)
When the article, "Vaccine From Aborted Fetus Cell Lines Judged Morally Acceptable" hit several Catholic publications recently, the reaction of readers was one of shock, anger and utter disbelief that we in this country have been quietly producing vaccines for the past 20 to 30 years from aborted fetuses. More shock: that we have unknowingly vaccinated our children using this "tainted source", a more polite way of saying we have produced pharmaceutical products from murdered babies. Utterly outrageous: there is currently no other source available for three widely used vaccines, namely, Hepatitis-A, Chicken Pox and Rubella (German Measles). Letters poured in denouncing both the article and the newspapers, from staunch pro life Catholics across the country who found the act of profiting from abortion unethical, immoral and downright repulsive. And while editors, ethicists and philosophers scrambled to respond, things just got uglier.
The trouble began when St. Louis County issued a new law, requiring food handlers to obtain the Hepatitis-A vaccine for employment. When they objected, based on the "tainted" origin of the vaccine which is taken from the lung tissue of an aborted baby, Dr. Edward Furton from the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Boston and Father Edward Richard, a professor of moral theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis issued statements in an attempt to calm some very rattled nerves. Unfortunately, their remarks did not produce the desired affect. One woman wrote, "Please tell me this is a mistake - this is Nazi Germany revisited..."
While the articles and responding editorials, which have been appearing lately in publications such as The National Catholic Register (March 12, April 30, May 14) have drawn fire from the public, bioethicists have attempted to explain the fine lines drawn between complicity and moral responsibility. They argue the differences between obtaining cells from an abortion done years ago and the derivation of tissue from ongoing abortions. They point out we have a moral responsibility to protect our children and others from dangerous disease. But in an attempt to appease the consciences of millions of parents, some philosophers and editors have attempted to bring the issue of morality down to weak parallels that reasonable adults just aren't buying. One article, debating whether something good could come from something evil, compared the use of vaccines from abortion to condemning the adoption of a child from an unmarried mother. And while the public continues to scorn such evaluations, scientists and Congress are not drawing these same distinctions either. For as we were arguing the morality or complicity of using products obtained from abortion, an even more frightening proposal was underway in Congress for approving federal funding of research on stem cells derived from deliberately destroyed human embryos. At the recent Senate subcommittee hearings held April 26, 2000, Senator Harry Reid (NV) made the comparison of the Polio Vaccine and it's derivation from abortion, to using embryonic stem cells and their potential medical possibilities for treating major diseases, such as Diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and spinal cord injuries. Although Senator Reid was incorrect in that there are two sources for this vaccine, (see Production of the Vaccines below) he made the point that Congress does not recognize any difference between embryonic stem cell usage and production of the existing vaccines. A similar parallel was again drawn by State Senator David Landis regarding the Nebraska University's Medical Center's research on aborted fetuses. During their legislative session, he produced copies of the article that had stated the use of the present vaccines was morally acceptable and attempted to turn that statement against the Church, in order to support his position favoring the research. The Bishops of the Nebraska Catholic Conference quickly responded, asserting that the two situations are "easily and clearly distinguishable", since the vaccines do not require a continual supply of tissue from ongoing abortions. However, the Medical Center disagreed and pointed to the end products as proof. "Both are seeking to benefit vulnerable people in important ways by using means that are derived from a putatively evil source," said Dr. Barbara Stock, a postdoctoral scholar at the Nebraska University Medical Center.
Supporters of the research in Congress and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) propose to destroy human embryos in order to produce new medical products that might be able to treat life-threatening diseases. And today we have vaccines on the market produced from destroyed human life. The fact that one is destroyed in advance with the intention of research, while the other one is destroyed and then used for research after the fact, is really inconsequential. Both have immoral acts in their origin. Both provide means of profiting from the destruction of human life. Both hope to achieve some noble benefit for mankind. And if the supporters have their way, we will soon be facing further moral dilemmas, no different from what we have today with the vaccines.
In the future, what if researchers should find, for example, a vaccine for the AIDS virus, however it is created from stem cells of a destroyed human embryo? It is cultivated in the lab in the same way the present vaccines are, with no ongoing act of destroying human life. It is then brought to the market and later becomes a requirement for admittance to school or acceptance for employment. And like the vaccines in question, we have no other source available. Though the means of obtaining the end products may be somewhat different, the end result is exactly the same. The Church has spoken strongly in its opposition to embryonic stem cell research, recognizing these far reaching effects on society. In response to President Clinton's National Bioethics Advisory Commission's position that morally questionable research should not be considered unless it is necessary to cure life-threatening disease, Cardinal William H. Keeler stated in a letter to Congress dated May 27, 1999 that "one must not commit injustices even if that is deemed necessary to reach some important goal." It is significant to point out that unlike the issue with the vaccines, there are other equally viable alternatives to using embryonic stem cells, which involve using adult or mature stem cells to treat the same diseases. And recent medical breakthroughs have shown tremendous success in this area, without the need to destroy human life. But unless Congress is pushed toward supporting this research instead of embryonic research, we will be facing far greater consequences down the road, the proof of which is evidenced today by the tainted vaccines. Dr. Furton emphasized this exact point in addressing the vaccine problem when he stated, "Although these human cell lines could have been produced using cells taken from other sources, thus avoiding the moral problem entirely, the fact is that they were not." And we stand poised to go down that same road again, putting horrific moral burdens on a society who would be given no other choice.
The real question we should be asking ourselves is, which is the greater moral responsibility: to accept the status quo or to do something about it? We, as the consumer, drive the market. The real "complicity" in the immoral act may not be that we use these vaccines, but that we do nothing to demand a change. In his article Ethics and Medics, (March 1999) Dr Furton writes, "the true scandal is not that Catholics use these vaccines, but that the researchers and scientists who bring us these products do not take into sufficient account the moral convictions of millions of their fellow citizens." Interestingly, it would seem that from a standpoint motivated by pure greed alone, the pharmaceutical companies could actually end this moral dilemma quickly and heroically, simply by competing to be the first to produce a totally "untainted version" of these vaccines. But the fact of the matter is that as long as there is a current market for their products, there is no need to change.
In 1993, shortly after taking office, President Clinton lifted the ban on research involving aborted babies, and the vaccine issue was used as an argument to support it. We are now facing legislation that would lift the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and once again, supporters in Congress are using the vaccine issue as a precedent. If we are truly outraged at what the vaccine issue has created and concerned about even further abuses, then we have a moral obligation to at least attempt to put a stop to it. But according to Arlen Specter at the Senate subcommittee hearings, "there hasn't been much public protest".
In December of 1999, the NCCB sent a Federal Legislative Action Alert to every diocese in the country asking Catholics to voice their strong opposition to the NIH and Congress on the proposed federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Some responded in large numbers, despite the fact that Christmas holidays, vacations and Y2k concerns put many people out of touch, a fact well known in advance to the NIH. And what should have produced millions of protest letters, instead only mounted to several thousand. The NIH deadline for public response has passed, but the invitation is still open to Congress, since as yet, the funding is not approved and it will go to the Senate floor in the coming months. In response to the present vaccine issue, we should be supporting lobbying efforts to demand the pharmaceutical companies produce, safe, alternative sources for the present "tainted" vaccines. In doing so, we also show Congress it is time to put a stop to this blatant disregard for the sanctity and value of human life. If not, they will continue to abjectly regard life as a mere commodity that can be created, cloned, destroyed, cultivated, bought and sold. And if we quietly sweep this dirt under the carpet and walk away, we are no less shameful than the origins.
Production of the Vaccines
The dark history of these vaccines reveals that their production from two human cell lines named MRC-5 and WI-38, was accomplished using the lung tissue cells of aborted babies. Each originated in a separate act of abortion; one occurring in the 1960's and the other in the 1970's. Since then, the cells from these aborted babies continue to grow and multiply in the lab, supplying a steady source for the production of the vaccines, Varivax, (Chicken Pox) Havrix or Vatqua (Hepatitis-A) and Meruvax II (Rubella). They are produced by Merck & Co. and Glaxo SmithKline.
During the 1964 Rubella epidemic, doctors began advising women who contracted the disease during their first trimester of pregnancy to abort their child. The reason being that while rubella is basically a harmless childhood disease, it can be dangerous to an unborn child if the mother contracts the disease and passes it on to her child. In such cases, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, there is a 20-25% chance the baby will be born with some form of Congenital Rubella Syndrome, which may cause growth retardation, malformation of organs, deafness or blindness. One might wonder how abortions could be done in 1964 since abortion was not yet legal. But in fact, abortion was legal in some states for "therapeutic reasons", including the health or life of the mother or child.
In Philadelphia, PA, the Wistar Institute began working with abortionists to collect and dissect the fetuses. It was from the 27th aborted fetus tested that they isolated and extracted the live rubella virus in the baby's kidney. The first 26 babies were apparently healthy. This virus was then cultivated on the lung tissue of WI-38, a baby aborted in Sweden by parents who according to notes on that abortion, "felt they had too many children."
Perhaps the most distressing news of this research is that it was entirely unnecessary for several reasons. First of all, scientists did not have to resort to using aborted babies to find the virus. We had an epidemic! They could have done exactly what the Japanese did, which was to swab the throat of an infected child. The Japanese then grew the virus on rabbit cell lines to produce their own vaccine. Secondly, there were already two perfectly good, licensed rubella vaccines on the American market, which are still licensed today, yet no longer produced.
It is crystal clear that the real motive behind producing the rubella vaccine in this manner was to justify the benefits that would come from the use of aborted fetal tissue research. In fact, as mentioned above, the benefits of this and other vaccines have been used by scientists and politicians to further the need for continued illicit research. But the bottom line is, moral alternatives exist and they should be used.
While there are currently no alternatives available for chickenpox, rubella or hepatitis-A in the US today, there are many vaccines using these cell lines which do have an "untainted" version available. But in order to obtain these, one would have to know the vaccine name and they should not be too surprised if their doctor has absolutely no knowledge of the vaccines' source in the first place. If you would like to order our free brochures that list the vaccines using aborted fetal tissue and those that offer alternatives, click here.
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