In 2005, the Pontifical Academy for Life addressed the topic of vaccines developed with cell lines originating in aborted fetuses.  While acknowledging that grave and proportional reasons can morally justify the use of such vaccines, the Pontifical Academy for Life also encouraged that persons “take recourse to alternative vaccines (if they exist), putting pressure on the political authorities and health systems so that other vaccines without moral problems become available,” and also to “creat[e] pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting rigorous legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers.”  In light of the many pharmaceutical companies engaged in research seeking a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, this encouragement has particular urgency.  Therefore, to this end, a number of (arch)bishop chairs of USCCB committees have signed a joint letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advocating for the development of “untainted” vaccines, and the SD Catholic Conference raised this issue with South Dakota’s governor.  As the SDCC’s letter states, to be clear, we encourage the development of a coronavirus vaccine that is safe, reliable, and accessible to all.  Yet it is unnecessary that such development rely on cell lines derived from aborted fetal tissues.

Further reading:
2005 Letter of the Pontifical Academy for Life
2020 Letter co-signed by USCCB Committee chairs
2020 Letter from the SD Catholic Conference

Categories: Covid-19