A Catholic bishop in America renewed a call Saturday for Christians to reject vaccines that are developed using aborted baby body parts.
Concerns about unethically produced vaccines are growing again amid talk about the availability of a coronavirus vaccine in the coming months. While some vaccine researchers have been using ethical materials to develop a coronavirus vaccine, others are using cells from electively aborted unborn babies.
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler in Texas, a leading voice on the matter, said Christians must stand together to reject this evil.
“I renew my call that we reject any vaccine that is developed using aborted children,” Strickland wrote on Twitter . “Even if it originated decades ago it still means a child’s life was ended before it was born & then their body was used as spare parts. We will never end abortion if we do not END THIS EVIL!”
For months, Catholic and pro-life leaders have been urging researchers to develop a coronavirus vaccine using ethically-derived materials.
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute , 17 research groups are conducting ethical vaccine experiments while five are not. The five using aborted baby body parts in their research include researchers with the University of Oxford, Johnson & Johnson and the University of Pittsburgh. The Oxford research is considered to be one of the most promising for a vaccine.
“Just because the crime of abortion is considered legal in our nation does not mean it is morally permissible to use the dead bodies of these children to cure a global pandemic,” Strickland said in April. “Emphatically, this practice is evil.”
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Until recently, Strickland said he did not realize how pervasive this evil practice had become, even though scientists have ethical alternatives available for their research.
“I urge you to join me, NOW, in passionately but prayerfully speaking out against this practice,” Strickland said.
The Texas bishop said he researched the matter and spoke with scientists about the situation before speaking out.
“Scientists I’ve spoken with assure me that there is no medical necessity for using aborted children in order to develop the much-needed vaccine to protect us from this particular strain of Coronavirus,” he said. “Thankfully, ethical means are available and can prove to be just as effective in developing vaccines; umbilical cells, placental cells, adult stem cells and other sources of cells, including even those of insects, provide completely viable paths to an effective vaccine.”
Pro-life leaders also have highlighted how ethical alternatives to tissue from aborted babies are available, including pluripotent stem cells and tissue from placentas, umbilical cords and amniotic fluid. In 2018, the Trump administration created a $20 million grant to invest in these ethical research alternatives .
Additionally, some scientists say research using aborted baby body parts has not been successful .
In May, Catholic Archbishop Joseph Naumann also urged pro-life advocates to speak out against the unethical use of cells from aborted babies in the creation of a coronavirus vaccine.
Speaking with EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, Naumann said now is the time for Catholics and other pro-lifers to demand ethically developed vaccines.
“I think all we need really is for our pharmaceutical companies to realize that this is offensive to a large number of Americans and give them the encouragement, give our government the encouragement, to make sure these vaccines are not morally compromised in any way,” he said.
According to the Catholic News Agency , a Canadian Catholic archbishop recently donated thousands of dollars to an ethical vaccine research project at the University of British Columbia.