Catholic Church leaders are educating the public about the ethical concerns with coronavirus vaccines that were developed with cell lines created from aborted babies and one Catholic bishop has weighed in with his own thoughts.
On Monday, the Vatican released a statement emphasizing that while abortion is evil, it is not wrong to be vaccinated because the act “does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive.”
Bishop David Konderla of the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma expressed similar thoughts in an interview with News On 6.
“Many of the vaccines that are created today use either in their testing phase or in their production phase or sometimes even in both, cell lines derived in labs from an aborted fetus decades ago,” Bishop Konderla said. “For people of conscience who understand abortion to be a great evil, there’s a concern about cooperating with that evil.”
Here’s more from the report:
Bishop Konderla said connections aside, getting vaccinated is in no way condoning an abortion, and said he’ll probably get the vaccine.
“The good that we’re seeking is the elimination of a pandemic and so we have a serious moral duty to seek that common good,” Bishop Konderla said.
A number of leading pro-life and religious organizations, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have warned people about the unethical production of the AstraZeneca vaccine. They did suggest that two others from Pfizer and Moderna are morally permissible.
Pfizer and Moderna developed their vaccines using genetic sequencing on computers instead of making it with fetal cells whereas AstraZeneca made its vaccine using fetal cells from aborted babies. All three vaccines employed some testing using derivative cells from the HEK line.
In 1972, a female child was aborted in the Netherlands, and cells from her kidneys were extracted and developed into the cell line now known as “HEK293.” “HEK” stands for “Human Embryonic Kidney.” Cells from the HEK293 line have been commonly used in biologic research since the late 70s.
The vaccinations produced by Pfizer and Moderna did not use HEK293 in their design, development, or production, but did use cells from the line in a confirmatory test, said the bishops. …
Conversely, the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca “should be avoided if there are alternatives available,” said the bishops, as this vaccine is “more morally compromised.”
“The HEK293 cell line was used in the design, development, and production stages of that vaccine, as well as for confirmatory testing,” [the bishops said].
The Charlotte Lozier Institute has a list of the vaccines with information about whether cells from aborted babies were used in testing and/or production.
The list shows that the AstraZeneca vaccine used an abortion-derived cell line in design and development, production and confirmatory lab tests. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines only used an abortion-derived cell line in some of the confirmatory lab tests.
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, some vaccines still in development are being made without any abortion-derived cell lines. It is not clear when they may be available to the public. These include CureVac, which is being developed in Germany, and a Sorrento vaccine being developed in the U.S.
There is disagreement about the currently available vaccines even among Catholic and pro-life leaders. Earlier this month, a group of Catholic bishops from the U.S. and Europe said even vaccines with remote connections to abortion are unethical.
Vaccines can be and are produced with ethical materials, 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.
It appears that some vaccine producers are listening to pro-lifers’ concerns. In September, the company Sanofi-Pasteur announced plans to produce a new, ethically-developed polio vaccine. The project will replace an older polio vaccine that was developed with cells from an aborted baby, according to the Catholic News Agency. Sanofi-Pasteur is one of the largest vaccine production companies in the world.