Archive for the ‘*Vaccines’ Category

The following are excerpts taken from “Some Efficacious Vaccines are Produced Unethically” by Dr. Jay Carpenter. I recommend reading the full article at Crisis Magazine.

In recent days a controversy has arisen over whether parents should be required to vaccinate their children. Some politicians with presidential aspirations were criticized for defending the rights of parents to make that decision. As an internal medicine doctor, I believe strongly in the efficacy of vaccines. I also believe strongly that our vaccines (and all of our medical advances) should be safe and derived in a morally principled fashion.

There is an ethical concern about the measles vaccine issue that I do not believe the American public is aware: a component of the current MMR vaccine is derived from an aborted fetal cell line. As such, there is a large group of Americans who will not avail themselves of this “tainted” therapy.  The unfortunate truth is that there are ethical, morally acceptable alternative vaccines that are simply not made available to Americans.


Prior to 2009, Merck, the manufacturer of the MMR vaccine used in the U.S. and in many other countries, made available individually separate vaccines for mumps and measles that were derived from the ethically acceptable sources as described. In 2009, they stopped making these vaccines available, despite reassurances to the contrary. Since then, Merck has refused to license these vaccines to other companies who were interested in making them available to the public. It has been since 2009 that the incidence of measles in this country has risen, so it is not inconceivable that legitimate ethical concerns have been at least one factor for the decline in the rate of measles vaccination.

The ethical problem is not isolated to the MMR vaccine. Cell lines from aborted fetuses are used in the vaccines for Hepatitis A, chicken pox, shingles, rabies, some small pox vaccines, some polio vaccines, some combination polio vaccines such as Pentacel and Quadracel, and in some of the new Ebola vaccines. Additionally aborted fetal cells are utilized in some treatments for hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The fact is, that none of these need to come from such sources, but could be made from other cell lines readily available in research circles.

For instance, the Kitasato Institute in Japan makes MMR vaccines that are ethically acceptable. Regrettably, the FDA decided not to allow their importation into the United States. Individuals can travel to Japan to receive these vaccines, but obviously, that is not a sensible solution to improving vaccination rates significantly.

Politicians and some in the media have suggested mandating vaccinations of children against the moral objections of their parents. Those same public figures would serve us better by helping to promote the manufacture or importation of vaccines that are derived ethically. Parents and their children deserve wholesome untainted vaccine alternatives to promote the health and the safety of their children.



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By JoAnna Wahlund (posted with permission – original source)

Readers, please do not write me off as a rabid “anti-vaxxer,” because I am not opposed to vaccines in general, nor do I dispute their medical efficacy. My kids have received DTAP and all other ethically-sourced vaccines. I only wish to explore the moral choices that we, as Catholics, have to make regarding the use of unethically-sourced vaccines. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that vaccines do work as intended and do not cause cancer, autism, or anything else of which they are accused. (And please ignore anyone in the combox who tries to make those claims, because God knows there are plenty of other places online to debate that subject.)

I AM NOT ADVOCATING A POSITION FOR OR AGAINST THE USE OF UNETHICALLY-SOURCED VACCINES. All people must make their own decisions for themselves and their families according to the dictates of their own well-formed conscience. I’m simply writing about my own struggle with this issue.

I’ve been troubled recently at the social media vitriol directed toward people who, for whatever reason, have chosen not to vaccinate themselves or their children. I’m also concerned about the vitriol I witness from people who haven’t vaccinated directed toward those who have. I’m especially perplexed when that vitriol is committed by self-professed Catholics and directed toward other Catholics – we’re supposed to be better than that.

I’ve agonized over the issue of the use of unethically-sourced vaccines since I found out about them in 2004, when I was pregnant with my oldest child and started researching vaccines in general. I found the website of Children of God for Life and read about the existence and use of vaccines derived from aborted fetal stem cell lines.

I’ve read the position of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which says that while parents may use the vaccines, and may in some cases even have a moral obligation to do so, there is also the obligation to protest their use and to conscientiously object if necessary.

I’ve read the position of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, in which they state, “There would seem to be no proper grounds for refusing immunization against dangerous contagious disease, for example, rubella, especially in light of the concern that we should all have for the health of our children, public health, and the common good.”

However, they also say, “There is no moral obligation to register such a complaint in order to use these vaccines.” That is not strictly true, however, according to what the Pontifical Academy of Life says – according to Phil Lawler’s analysis of the statement, people who use the vaccines are in fact morally obligated to object to them as strenuously as possible.

I’ve read Immunity From Evil?: Vaccines Derived from Abortion by Dr. Jameson Taylor, which disagrees with several of the points from the NCBC article as well as gives disturbing background information about the development of the unethical vaccines (for example, development of the rubella vaccine actually involved not just one, but 28 abortions). I was especially troubled by how many institutions have justified conducting research on fetal tissue from aborted babies by invoking the Church’s stance on unethically-sourced vaccines, which is something the NCBC doesn’t mention in their article.

I’ve read Dignitas Personae, which discusses the issue of unethically-sourced vaccines. “Of course, within this general picture there exist differing degrees of responsibility. Grave reasons may be morally proportionate to justify the use of such ‘biological material’. Thus, for example, danger to the health of children could permit parents to use a vaccine which was developed using cell lines of illicit origin, while keeping in mind that everyone has the duty to make known their disagreement and to ask that their healthcare system make other types of vaccines available. Moreover, in organizations where cell lines of illicit origin are being utilized, the responsibility of those who make the decision to use them is not the same as that of those who have no voice in such a decision.”

I’ve read what the Catholic Church teaches regarding the formation of conscience.

I’ve read Moral Conscience and Aborted Fetal Vaccines by Bishop Robert F. Vasa.

I’ve signed the petition at asking Merck et. al. to provide ethically-sourced vaccines.

I’ve written to the vaccine companies, more than once, asking for ethically-sourced vaccines. It seems like a lost cause, though. If thousands of people petition them for ethically-sourced vaccines but those same people buy and use the unethically-sourced ones anyway, why should they take any of us seriously?

I’ve asked all of my children’s doctors if it were possible to procure ethically-sourced vaccines, offering to pay out of pocket if necessary (barring anything prohibitively expensive). I was always told they weren’t able to procure any, even prior to 2009 when they were allegedly available from Merck.

At every check-up, I ask my kids’ doctor if he thinks the risk is significant enough that we need to take recourse to the vaccines. (So far, the answer has been no, but my youngest son’s 15-month well-baby check is coming up in a few weeks and I plan to ask again, given some recent cases in our area.) I don’t take measles lightly; I know it is a serious illness that can have serious complications, and it scares me. But I don’t want to ignore my conscience simply out of fear – that can set a bad precedent.

I have prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more, asking God for guidance as I try to figure this out. I still haven’t received a clear answer.

And yet, over and over again, I’m essentially told I’m an idiot or worse because I’m so conflicted on whether or not to use these vaccines. I guess the assumption is that I haven’t read, studied, researched, or prayed about this issue at all.

This is a plea to all Catholics who feel the need to disdain, insult, abuse, slander, or mock those of us who struggle with this issue.

Please don’t assume we’re ignorant.

Please don’t assume we haven’t done our research.

Please don’t assume that we don’t care about our children, or other children, or the immuno-compromised.

Please do keep in mind the definition of rash judgement, as found in the Catechism: “He becomes guilty… of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor.”

Please do assume that we are all trying to do what is best as parents.

Please do discuss this issue rationally, calmly, and civilly, without resorting to name-calling, ad hominem, or saying that parents who don’t vaccinate for measles are personally at fault for every single measles death in the world (this is an actual accusation I’ve had leveled at me, and I don’t think anyone who is knowledgeable about Catholic moral theology would agree with the accuser).

Please don’t say things like this, from a (public) Facebook thread I participated in this past weekend: “Because nothing says ‘Catholic’ like always looking for the loophole. But I hope your smug, narcissistic pride keeps you warm when your kids and all your friends’ kids are dead thanks to not getting vaccinated.”

It’s also not helpful to accuse me (or anyone else) of deliberately wanting to kill children, as Mark Shea did in that same Facebook conversation: “Your views are a public menace and a threat to the lives of my granddaughters. I don’t take kindly to people who threaten to blind and kill my granddaughters.” I don’t think this is how Catholics should talk with one another.

In the same vein, if you haven’t vaccinated (either partially or fully) due to this issue, please respect the beliefs of whose who have chosen to vaccinate in spite of this issue. The Church has stated that it is licit to take recourse to these vaccines, and in some cases there is a moral obligation to do so. People who choose to use unethically-sourced vaccines are not violating Church teaching, just as those who choose not to use them are not sinning by doing so.

And please join me in praying that ethical vaccines will become available so parents who are not opposed to vaccinating in general don’t have to be in this position in the first place.


*Vaccinations: Are you justified to participate or refuse?

*Conscientious objection to vaccinations

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By Phil Lawler (posted with permission – original source at

Following an outbreak of measles that was traced back to Disneyland, public-health authorities are ramping up their campaign to persuade all American parents that their children should be vaccinated. This campaign places pressure on some parents who have moral objections to the use of certain vaccines.

We should not underestimate the vigor of the public-health campaign. Writers from RealClear Science and from Fox News— not outlets ordinarily inclined to favor the expansion of government powers—have called for mandatory vaccination of all children, and even jail time for parents who resist.

Nor should we underestimate the seriousness of some parents who are determined to resist the campaign. Some oppose vaccination on scientific grounds, claiming that it can have harmful effects. Others resist on moral grounds, because some vaccines are derived from the cells of aborted babies. It is on the latter category—the conscientious objectors—that I want to focus in this essay.

This is not an essay on the effectiveness of vaccines. I am not a scientist; I have no standing to address that issue. But before setting aside the question of public health, let me raise a simple practical question: How many vaccinations should be mandatory? Should parents be legally obligated to use every vaccine that public-health officials consider desirable? Or should some be mandatory, and others elective?

Just a few years ago, Governor Rick Perry of Texas (again, not ordinarily known for favoring government intervention in private lives) issued an executive order requiring that all 6th-grade girls in the state be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus (HPV). The Centers for Disease Control opposed that move, saying that mandatory vaccination was not warranted. More recently, some medical experts have questioned whether the vaccine, Gardasil, actually works, while others have cited serious side-effects. Were parents in Texas being unreasonable, then, when they opposed the vaccination campaign?

More to the point, since we are talking about an outbreak of measles, would it be unreasonable for parents to decide that they would like their children to be vaccinated against measles and mumps, but not against rubella? For American parents today that is nearly impossible, because Merck, the company that dominates the field, decided in 2009 that its drugs for measles, mumps, and rubella would be bundled into a single MMR vaccine. This creates a serious moral problem, because Merck’s rubella vaccine is derived from the tissue of aborted babies.

So we return to the question of conscientious objection. Can parents have their children vaccinated with the MMR vaccine without compromising their pro-life principles—without cooperating with the Culture of Death? The National Catholic Register addressed that question this week, and although I cannot find any clear error of fact in the article, I think it creates a very inaccurate impression.

Relying heavily on analysis by the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC), theRegister explains that parents who choose to have their children vaccinated are engaged only in “remote material cooperation” with abortion. Given the potential risks of disease, the article reports, the Vatican has stated that parents can be justified in chosing vaccination.

That’s all perfectly true. But reading the Register article, one might conclude that the Vatican has said parents should vaccinate. That’s not accurate. The Pontifical Academy for Life, in a statement released in 2005, said that parentscould be justified in choosing vaccination. The statement did not say that this choice was preferable, let alone mandatory.

What the Vatican did say, with undeniable clarity, was that parents have a moral obligation to insist on vaccines that are not prepared by immoral means: vaccines not derived from fetal remains. The Pontifical Academy for Life wrote that “there remains a moral duty to continue to fight and to employ every lawful means in order to make life difficult for the pharmaceutical industries which act unscrupulously and unethically.”

That was in 2005. It was in 2009—four years later—that Merck decided to stop making available the morally untainted vaccines for measles and mumps. The Vatican had called upon American Catholics to fight for the development of morally acceptable vaccines. Sad to say—with the honorable exception of parents who resisted the immoral vaccines, and groups such as Children of God for Life that supported them—we did not fight hard enough to dissuade Merck from taking a giant step in the opposite direction.

The Register story conveys the impression that Catholic parents should vaccinate their children, but might also choose to lodge an objection against the use of morally tainted vaccines. The Vatican’s statement, in effect, tells parents the reverse: You may vaccinate, but you must object.

The Pontifical Academy for Life ended its statement this way:

To summarize, it must be confirmed that:

  • 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.

This is not a call for passive acceptance of the vaccines derived from fetal remains. (And by the way, chicken-pox vaccine falls into that category as well.) It is a clear call for action to remedy an injustice. If Catholics mobilized to demand ethical vaccines, the pharmaceutical industry would be forced to respond. If Catholics are content to say that they can be justified in using these vaccines, the injustice will continue.

Meanwhile, what about those Catholics (and other conscientious objectors) who have taken a firm stand? Some parents have decided that although they could be morally justified in vaccinating their children, they will bear witness to the dignity of human life by refusing even a remote cooperation with abortion. They deserve our support.


*Vaccinations: Are you justified to participate or refuse?

*Let’s Be Reasonable About Vaccines

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Please educate yourself by visiting Children of God for Life


*Conscientious objection to vaccinations

*Let’s Be Reasonable About Vaccines

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