Alaska will soon begin distributing nearly 9,000 doses of a newly approved Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine which have raised serious ethical concerns for Catholics and other pro-life groups around the nation.
Both the Diocese of Fairbanks and the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau published a statement released last week by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which addresses ethical concerns over the new vaccine.
It notes that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines raise concerns because abortion-derived cell lines were “used in testing them, but not in their production.”
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns,” the letter observes.
A report from LifeSiteNews points out that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a human fetal cell line called PER.C6, which was derived from eye tissue taken from an 18-week-old preborn baby boy. He was aborted in the Netherlands in 1985. The scientist who developed this cell line, Dr. Alex van der Eb, told the U.S. FDA in 2001 that the preborn baby was “a healthy fetus as far as could be seen, of 18 weeks old. There was nothing special with a family history or the pregnancy was completely normal up to the 18 weeks, and it turned out to be a socially indicated abortus – abortus provocatus, and that was simply because the woman wanted to get rid of the fetus.”
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The letter from the U.S. Bishops, explains that when ethically irreproachable COVID vaccines are not available, it is “morally acceptable” to receive vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted babies in their research and production.
“However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen,” the bishops state. “Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.”
The letter concludes by calling on believers to “insist that pharmaceutical companies stop using abortion-derived cell lines” in the development of vaccines.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, has created a chart of all COVID vaccines, detailing those that use aborted cell lines and those that don’t.