U.S. Bishops Launch Campaign Against Use of ‘Abortion-Derived Cell Lines’ in Vaccines

Members of the Catholic church say a prayer during an opening session of the annual US Conference of Catholic Bishops November 12, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Conference (USCCB) has launched a letter-writing campaign to protest pharmaceutical companies’ use of abortion-derived cell lines in the development and testing of vaccines.

The Vatican “urges everyone concerned for the sanctity of life to protest the use of abortion-derived cell lines and advocate for the development of vaccines with no connection to abortion,” the bishops’ website declares.

“To make it easier to take this action, we provide the following sample letters to pharmaceutical companies that are using abortion-derived cell lines to produce and/or test vaccines,” the site states, while furnishing links to 7 different sample letters to be written to the management of the companies primarily responsible for producing vaccines.

In its sample letter to Moderna’s chief medical officer, Tal Zaks, for instance, the bishops urge Catholics to thank Moderna for making its coronavirus vaccine available to the public but to make known their opposition to Moderna’s use of a cell line derived from an aborted baby in testing the vaccine.

“I am respectfully urging Moderna to stop relying on such cell lines,” the sample letter states.

“Please understand that as one of your potential customers, I believe it is immoral to use abortion-derived tissues and/or cell lines in the production, testing or manufacture of vaccines and other pharmaceutical products,” the letter adds.

“If I have the opportunity to receive an alternative vaccine that has no connection to abortion, I will choose that vaccine instead of Moderna’s vaccine,” it continues, noting “non-abortion-derived cell sources are available or could be made available.”

“Had Moderna instead chosen to use a cell line with no connection to abortion, it would have eliminated a significant moral dilemma now faced by substantial numbers of people,” it states.

The bishops invite Catholics to close by “respectfully but strongly” urging Moderna, as well as the other pharmaceutical companies, to “discontinue the use of abortion-derived cell lines in the development and testing of your products.”

“Now and in the future, I will continue to seek out and support those pharmaceutical companies that avoid the use of abortion-derived cell lines,” it closes.

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