The question of whether common childhood vaccines have been produced from aborted fetuses has stepped into the public consciousness with a Facebook Group, the establishment of the Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute, and the founding of AVM Biotechnological Institute, a company which seeks to produce ethical drugs and treatments that do not derive products from human cells obtained from the abortion industry.
Another reason this question has hit the news is that Theresa Deisher, PhD, a Catholic and one of the plaintiffs in the Sherley v. Sibelius stem cell funding case that has as of 8/23/10 frozen federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, has a leading role both at Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute and AVM Biotechnological Institute. For further background on Dr. Deisher, please see this earlier interview. See also this short WSJ interview with plaintiffs Dr. James Sherley, a pro-life African American physician and scientist, and Dr. Deisher.
Jameson T. Taylor’s article on the Catholic Education Resource Center gives a general overview of the question of vaccines and abortion. Please see especially the extensive 2005 statement on this topic by the Pontifical Academy for Life, “Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses,” which lists morally-compromised vaccines, and urges Catholics to seek moral alternatives to drugs produced from the products of abortion. Here is the concluding section from the Pontifical Academy’s document:
-there is a grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines and to make a conscientious objection with regard to those which have moral problems;
– as regards the vaccines without an alternative, the need to contest so that others may be prepared must be reaffirmed, as should be the lawfulness of using the former in the meantime insomuch as is necessary in order to avoid a serious risk not only for one’s own children but also, and perhaps more specifically, for the health conditions of the population as a whole – especially for pregnant women;
– the lawfulness of the use of these vaccines should not be misinterpreted as a declaration of the lawfulness of their production, marketing and use, but is to be understood as being a passive material cooperation and, in its mildest and remotest sense, also active, morally justified as an extrema ratio due to the necessity to provide for the good of one’s children and of the people who come in contact with the children (pregnant women);
– such cooperation occurs in a context of moral coercion of the conscience of parents, who are forced to choose to act against their conscience or otherwise, to put the health of their children and of the population as a whole at risk. This is an unjust alternative choice, which must be eliminated as soon as possible.
Source: Pontifical Academy for Life, Declaration, “Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses,” 5 June 2005
Where is the most up-to-date list of ethically-produced vaccines? This Life Notes article contains an extensive list of vaccines and their origins, but it appears to be almost ten years old.
As soon as I receive further information, I’ll post and update.
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