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Summary of Catholic Teaching on the Use of Vaccines
Produced with Aborted Fetal Cell Lines

In June 2005 the Vatican Pontifical Academy for Life issued a document Moral Reflections on Vaccines Produced from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses.  The Academy’s report on  this issue was approved by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  Moral Reflections on Vaccines offers the following guidance:

  • It is morally wrong to produce, market, and distribute vaccines derived from aborted fetal cell lines because this could encourage the performance of other voluntary abortions for the purpose of producing such vaccines.
  • We have a duty to request and use alternative vaccines which were produced in a morally acceptable way, if such alternative vaccines exist.
  • In the case of vaccines produced with aborted fetal cell lines for which no alternatives currently exist, it is morally permissible to use them “on a temporary basis” and “insomuch as is necessary” to ensure the health of individuals and the population as a whole.
  • It is right to abstain from using vaccines produced with aborted fetal cell lines on condition that this can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health.
  • We have a responsibility to “oppose by all means (in writing, through the various associations, mass media, etc.) the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers.” 

 

What does the Church say about the use of the rubella vaccine specifically? 

1) 

The vaccine for rubella (a component in MMR) has been produced using an aborted fetal cell line and there is no alternative vaccine for this disease currently approved for use in the United States.  Thus the third bullet point above is applicable to this case.  A memorandum from the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops quotes (with approval) a statement from the National Catholic Bioethics Center: “The Pontifical Academy for Life rejects the claim that Catholics have a moral duty to refuse the rubella vaccine on the grounds of conscience and Catholic teaching.  It encourages Catholic parents to vaccinate their children against rubella and other serious diseases despite the unfortunate origin of the cell lines used in the manufacture of the vaccines.” 

2) 

As with all vaccines produced with aborted fetal cell lines, we have a duty to lobby for the development of alternative vaccines produced in a morally acceptable way.


FAQ

Using Vaccines Produced with Aborted Fetal Cell Lines

 How can aborted fetal tissue be involved in the production of vaccines?
The production of vaccines involves collecting samples of the actual virus, then growing and altering them in the laboratory to make a weakened strain of the disease, which is then put into a serum and administered into the body.  The development of a weakened viral strain requires a cell culture in which to grow it.  The cell culture consists of a “cell line,” a single type of cell that multiplies itself and that can be maintained in a laboratory setting for long periods of time.  Some of the original cells that started these cell lines have come from animals, but in other cases the original cells have come from aborted human fetuses. (http://www.rtl.org/html/hot_topics_html/vaccines.html)

Sometimes the phraseology is used that a vaccine has been “made with aborted babies.”  Such a description may give the impression that tissue from aborted fetuses is directly used as a component of the vaccine.  This is inaccurate.  The vaccine is grown on a cell line derived from an aborted fetus.   Nevertheless, the use of tissue from aborted fetuses in any stage of the production of a vaccine is a matter of moral concern.

What vaccines have been produced with aborted fetal cell lines?
Poliovax for polio, Imovax for rabies, and Acambis 1000 were producedusing an aborted fetal cell line; however, alternative vaccines for these diseases are available which were not produced in this way.  Similarly, Meruvax for rubella, Varivax for Chickenpox, and Havrix and Vaqta for hepatitis-A were produced with an aborted fetal cell line but, in these cases, no alternative vaccine is currently approved for use in the United States.  .  Meruvax is part of MMR for measles, mumps, and rubella; of Biavax for mumps and rubella; and of MR-VAX for measles and rubella. Twinrix for hepatitis A-B contains Havrix.

What is the teaching of the Catholic Church on vaccines produced with aborted fetal cell lines?
In June 2005 the Vatican Pontifical Academy for Life issued a document Moral Reflections on Vaccines Produced from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses.  The Academy’s report on this issue was approved by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  Moral Reflections on Vaccines offers the following guidance:

  • It is morally wrong to produce, market, and distribute vaccines derived from aborted fetal cell lines because this could encourage the performance of other voluntary abortions for the purpose of producing such vaccines.
  • We have a duty to request and use alternative vaccines which were produced in a morally acceptable way, if such alternative vaccines exist.
  • In the case of vaccines produced with aborted fetal cell lines for which no alternatives currently exist, it is morally permissible to use them “on a temporary basis” and “insomuch as is necessary” to ensure the health of individuals and the population as a whole.
  • It is right to abstain from using vaccines produced with aborted fetal cell lines on condition that this can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health.
  • We have a responsibility to “oppose by all means (in writing, through the various associations, mass media, etc.) the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers.” 

Why does the Catholic Church allow the use of a vaccine produced with an aborted fetal cell line when no alternative vaccine exists?
In our imperfect world, good and legitimate pursuits can be intertwined with evil.  This occurs more frequently than one might think. As pointed out by philosophy professor Don DeMarco:

Part of the meaning of the ‘global village’ in which we live is that the contamination from various acts of wrongdoing has seeped into almost every corner of our existence.  Given what is shown on television these days, can anyone justify owning one?  Many food items one purchases at the grocery store have a genesis that involves a worker exploitation or even slave labor.  Is one even allowed to watch an NBA game, given the stories that exist concerning the making and selling of sneakers?  We pay taxes to governments that subsidize abortion and other crimes.  Too scrupulous a moral attitude can lead to paralysis and, as a consequence, leave a great deal of good undone.  (http://www.cogforlife.org/articles.htm)

To deal with situations in which good and evil are intertwined, Catholic moral theology has developed the principles governing cooperation with evil.  These principles provide guidance as to when and to what degree someone may legitimately cooperate with or benefit from an evil action.  It is on the basis of the principles governing cooperation with evil that the use of a vaccine produced with an aborted fetal cell line is allowed, when no alternative vaccine exists, in order to ensure the health of individuals and the population as a whole. (See Pontifical Academy for Life, Moral Reflections on Vaccines Produced from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses)

Has the Catholic Church said anything on the use of the rubella vaccine specifically?
The document Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses from the Pontifical Academy for Life begins with a discussion of rubella:

Rubella (German measles) is a viral illness caused by a Togavirus of the genus Rubivirus and is characterized by a maculopapular rash.  It consists of an infection which is common in infancy and has no clinical manifestations in one case out of two, is self-limiting and usually benign.  Nonetheless, the German measles virus is one of the most pathological infective agents for the embryo and foetus.  When a woman catches the infection during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, the risk of foetal infection is very high (approximately 95%).  The virus replicates itself in the placenta and infects the foetus, causing the constellation of abnormalities denoted by the name of Congenital Rubella Syndrome.  For example, the severe epidemic of German measles which affected a huge part of the United States in 1964 thus caused 20,000 cases of congenital rubella, resulting in 11,250 abortions (spontaneous and surgical), 2,100 neonatal deaths, 11,600 cases of deafness, 3,580 cases of blindness, 1,800 cases of mental retardation.  It was this epidemic that pushed for the development and introduction on the market of an effective vaccine against rubella, thus permitting an effective prophylaxis against this infection. 

The severity of congenital rubella and the handicaps which it causes justify systematic vaccination against such a sickness.  It is very difficult, perhaps even impossible, to avoid the infection of a pregnant woman, even if the rubella infection of a person in contact with the woman is diagnosed from the first day of the eruption of the rash.  Therefore, one tries to prevent transmission by suppressing the reservoir of infection among children who have not been vaccinated, by means of early immunization of all children (universal vaccination).  Universal vaccination has resulted in a considerable fall in the incidence of congenital rubella, with a general incidence reduced to less than 5 cases per 100,000 live births.  Nevertheless, this progress remains fragile.  In the

United States, for example, after an overwhelming reduction in the number of cases of congenital rubella to only a few cases annually, i.e., less than 0.1 per 100,000 live births, a new epidemic wave came on in 1991, with an incidence that rose to 0.8/100,000.  Such waves of resurgence of German measles were also seen in 1997 and in the year 2000.  These periodic episodes of resurgence make it evident that there is a persistent circulation of the virus among young adults, which is the consequence of insufficient vaccination coverage.  The latter situation allows a significant proportion of vulnerable subjects to persist, who are a source of periodic epidemics which put women in the fertile age group who have not been immunized at risk.  Therefore, the reduction to the point of eliminating congenital rubella is considered a priority in public health care.

Applying the principles governing cooperation with evil, the Pontifical Academy judges that there is a sufficiently serious reason to justify the use of the vaccine against rubella (German measles):

Moreover, we find, in such a case, a proportional reason, in order to accept the use of these vaccines in the presence of the danger of favouring the spread of the pathological agent, due to the lack of vaccination of children.  This is particularly true in the case of vaccination against German measles.

A textual note adds:

This is particularly true in the case of vaccination against German measles, because of the danger of Congenital Rubella Syndrome.  This could occur, causing grave congenital malformations in the foetus, when a pregnant woman enters into contact, even if it is brief, with children who have not been immunized and are carriers of the virus.

The State of Iowa is experiencing an epidemic of mumps. Why isn’t it enough to be vaccinated only against mumps, especially since the vaccine Mumpsvax is produced in a morally acceptable way?
Although Iowa is dealing with an epidemic of mumps, there must be concern with the totality of an individual’s immunization program, for the sake of both individual and public health, in order to prevent outbreaks of diseases in the future which are preventable through vaccination.  Even if Iowa were not dealing with an epidemic of mumps, the need to be protected against rubella would still exist.  The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends using the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine unless an individual can document already existing immunity against rubella by previous vaccination or physician diagnosed disease.  (Archdiocesan correspondence with the Iowa Department of Public Health, April 14, 2006)

As pointed out by the Pontifical Academy for Life, the “progress [against congenital rubella] remains fragile.”  For example, “in the United States…after an overwhelming reduction in the number of cases of congenital rubella to only a few cases annually…a new epidemic wave came on in 1991…”.  Moreover, “such waves of resurgence of German measles [rubella] were also seen in 1997 and in the year 2000.” The Pontifical Academy’s statement goes on to say that “these periodic episodes of resurgence make it evident that there is a persistent circulation of the virus among young adults, which is the consequence of insufficient vaccination coverage” (italics added).  The statement further adds that “the reduction to the point of eliminating congenital rubella is considered a priority in public health care.”

As of 2005, rubella is no longer considered “endemic” in the United States (Centers for Disease Control, “Achievement in Public Health: Elimination of Rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome – United States, 1969-2004  MMWR Weekly 54/11 (March 25, 2005): 279-282).  Because of this, some have argued that there is no real need today for Americans to be vaccinated against rubella, and that such vaccination can be forgone without risk to individual and public health.  From a medical and public health point of view, this is mistaken.

Rubella outbreaks once were common in the United States .  Today, because of widespread use of the vaccine, U.S. cases are rare.  In early 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared rubella eliminated in the United States , but cautioned parents to make sure their children are vaccinated. (“Rubella,” MayoClinic.com; italics added).

Because vaccination has suppressed certain diseases, some are now becoming neglectful of receiving vaccinations against these diseases, a practice which provides fertile ground for the recurrence of the diseases in the future.  As already mentioned, the Pontifical Academy for Life notes the periodic recurrence of outbreaks of rubella and congenital rubella, attributable to a lack of vaccination.

Moreover, “rubella continues to be endemic in many parts of the world” (CDC, “Achievements in Public Health”), a fact which must be kept in mind in view of the increasing degree of international travel and immigration.  Indeed, “since 1998, most non-U.S.-born cases of rubella reported in the United States have occurred among persons born in countries where rubella vaccination has not been or was only recently implemented.” (CDC, “Achievements in Public Health”).  In sum, although rubella is presently under control in the United States, Americans should not take this for granted.

Can someone voice conscientious objection to the use of the vaccine for rubella based on the teaching of the Catholic Church?
No. A memorandum from the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops quotes (with approval) a statement from the National Catholic Bioethics Center: “The Pontifical Academy for Life rejects the claim that Catholics have a moral duty to refuse the rubella vaccine on the grounds of conscience and Catholic teaching.  It encourages Catholic parents to vaccinate their children against rubella and other serious diseases despite the unfortunate origin of the cell lines used in the manufacture of the vaccines.” 

How is use of the rubella vaccine consistent with a “pro-life” stance?
As pointed out above, congenital rubella syndrome can cause very serious abnormalities in the fetus, and even result in spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), induced abortion, or neonatal death.  Nothing can be done to restore the life of the aborted fetus from which the cell line was derived that is used in the production of the rubella vaccine.  However, through immunization against rubella, we can prevent abortions and neonatal deaths in the future.  

In fact, the Pontifical Academy of Life has a strong warning for those who refuse vaccination against rubella:

 

Moreover, we find in such a case, a proportional reason, in order to accept the use of these vaccines in the presence of the danger of favouring the spread of the pathological agent, due to the lack of vaccination of children…

 

 

 

 

 

This is particularly true in the case of vaccination against German measles [rubella], because of the danger of Congenital Rubella Syndrome.  This could occur, causing grave congenital malformations in the foetus, when a pregnant woman enters into contact, even if it is brief, with children who have not been immunized and are carriers of the virus.  In this case, the parents who did not accept the vaccination of their own children become responsible for the malformations in question, and for the subsequent abortion of foetuses, when they have been discovered to be malformed.   [Moral Reflections on Vaccines Produced from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses; italics added.]

 

In allowing the use of the rubella vaccine, isn’t the Catholic Church “giving in” to an immoral action?
The teaching of the Catholic Church has two prongs.  While allowing use of the rubella vaccine for the present time, the Church affirms a serious obligation to work for change in how the vaccine for this disease is produced.  A memorandum from the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops points this out: “The Pontifical Academy calls for appropriate expressions of protest against the origins of these vaccines as well as for vigorous efforts to promote the creation of alternatives.  ‘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.’” 

Clarification of Catholic Teaching on the Use of Vaccines Produced with Aborted Fetal Cell Lines

Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa
April 2006

In dealing with the current mumps epidemic in the state of Iowa, the combined vaccine MMR for measles, mumps, and rubella is being administered.  Questions have been raised about the moral permissibility of using this combined vaccine since the rubella component, Meruvax, is produced in a cell culture using a cell line derived from an aborted human fetus (http://www.merck.com).

In response to an inquiry posed by the organization Children of God for Life, the Vatican Pontifical Academy for Life prepared a statement Moral Reflections on Vaccines Produced from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses in June 2005 (http://www.academiavita.org > documents).  This document was approved by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and offers the following guidance:

  • It is morally wrong to produce, market, and distribute vaccines derived from aborted fetal cell lines because this could encourage the performance of other voluntary abortions for the purpose of producing such vaccines.
  • We have a duty to request and use alternative vaccines which were produced in a morally acceptable way, if such alternative vaccines exist.
  • In the case of vaccines produced with aborted fetal cell lines for which no alternatives currently exist, it is morally permissible to use them “on a temporary basis” and “insomuch as is necessary” to ensure the health of individuals and the population as a whole.
  • It is right to abstain from using vaccines produced with aborted fetal cell lines on condition that this can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health.
  • We have a responsibility to “oppose by all means (in writing, through the various associations, mass media, etc.) the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers.” 

How do these principles apply to vaccination during the current mumps epidemic?  Since the mumps component of MMR, Mumpsvax, is produced in a morally acceptable way and can be obtained alone from its manufacturer Merck, it might seem that Catholics should opt for the use of Mumpsvax alone.  However, the total context of immunization must be considered before making such a judgment.

In response to the question, “Can the single mumps antigen be used to vaccinate?”, the Iowa Department of Public Health indicates that “the preferred vaccine is the MMR combination” (http://www.idph.state.ia.us/adper/cade.asp). More specifically, “MMR is the preferred vaccine when there is no documentation of immunity either by vaccination or physician diagnosed disease. …If the recipient has acceptable evidence of immunity to one or more components, monovalent or bivalent vaccines may be used.” (Archdiocesan correspondence with the Iowa Department of Public Health, April 14, 2006).  In other words, although we are currently dealing with an epidemic of mumps, there is concern with the totality of an individual’s immunization history.  This is a legitimate concern in order to prevent outbreaks of diseases in the future which are preventable through vaccination.

 The State of Iowa requires two doses of MMR for enrollment of children in school (http://www.dubuque.k12.ia.us/schoolnurse/index.htm).  Similarly, health care workers should have immunity against measles, mumps, and rubella (Archdiocesan correspondence with the Iowa Department of Public Health, April 14, 2006).  The vaccine against rubella, Meruvax, was produced using aborted fetal cell lines. However, there is no alternative vaccine for rubella currently approved for use in the United States, a fact explicitly noted in the document from the Pontifical Academy for Life.  Hence, Catholic teaching allows use of this vaccine for the present. Indeed, the Pontifical Academy for Life makes a strong statement about the need to undertake vaccination against rubella (German measles): “Moreover, we find, in such a case, a proportional reason, in order to accept the use of these vaccines in the presence of the danger of favouring the spread of the pathological agent, due to the lack of vaccination of children.  This is particularly true in the case of vaccination against German measles, because of the danger of Congenital Rubella Syndrome.  This could occur, causing grave congenital malformations in the foetus, when a pregnant woman enters into contact, even if it is brief, with children who have not been immunized and are carriers of the virus.  In this case, the parents who did not accept the vaccination of their own children become responsible for the malformations in question, and for the subsequent abortion of fetuses, when they have been discovered to be malformed.” (Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses)

In sum, even though we are currently dealing with an epidemic of mumps, use of the MMR combination is permitted by Catholic teaching when administered as part of an individual’s comprehensive immunization program.  At the same time, it must be kept in mind that we have an obligation to lobby pharmaceutical companies and legislators for production of all vaccines without the use of aborted fetal cell lines. 

It should be noted that, following the release of the document Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses, the organization Children of God for Life circulated an interpretation of the document which was questionable.  A copy of the corrective statement issued by the chair of the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops may be obtained from the Office of the Health Care Consultant at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center.

Approved by Most Rev. Jerome Hanus, OSB   Archbishop of Dubuque   April  2006

Commonly Used Vaccines and their Method of Production

 The vaccines for the following diseases are produced in a morally acceptable way, without using aborted fetal cell lines:

  • diphtheria
  • tetanus
  • pertussis (whopping cough)
  • haemophilus influenza type B
  • hepatitis B
  • anthrax
  • influenza.

The following list concerns diseases for which vaccines have been produced using aborted fetal cells lines and the existence or non-existence of alternative vaccines.

Disease

Vaccine

 

Polio

Poliovax [Aventis-Pasteur/Pasteur Merieux Connaught]

produced using aborted fetal cell line

 

IPOL [Aventis-Pasteur]

morally acceptable alternative

 

Orimune [Lederle]

morally acceptable alternative

 

 

 

Rabies

Imovax [Aventis-Pasteur/Pasteur Merieux Connaught]

produced using aborted fetal cell line

 

RabAvert [Chiron]

morally acceptable alternative

 

RVA [SmithKline Beecham]

morally acceptable alternative

 

 

 

Smallpox

Acambis 1000 [Acambis]

produced using aborted fetal cell line

 

Acambis 2000 [Acambis-Baxter]

morally acceptable alternative

 

 

 

Rubella

Meruvax II [Merck]

produced using aborted fetal cell line *No morally acceptable alternative currently approved for use in U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

Measles, Mumps, Rubella

MMR II [Merck]

Contains Attenuvax (morally acceptable),Mumpsvax (morally acceptable), and Meruvax (produced using aborted fetal cell line)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mumps & Rubella

Biavax II [Merck]

Rubella component produced using aborted fetal cell line.

 

 

 

Measles and Rubella

MR - VAX II [Merck]

contains a Attenuvax (morally acceptable) and Meruvax II (produced using aborted fetal cell line)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chickenpox   

Varivax [Merck]

produced using aborted fetal cell line *No morally acceptable alternative currently approved for use in U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

Hepatitis-A   

Havrix [SmithKline Beecham/Glaxo SmithKline]

produced using aborted fetal cell line *No morally acceptable alternative currently approved for use in U.S.

 

Vaqta [Merck]

produced using aborted fetal cell line *No morally acceptable alternative currently approved for use in U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

Hepatitis A-B  

Twinrix [Glaxo SmithKline]

Contains Havrix (produced using aborted fetal cell line) and Engerix-B (morally acceptable)

 

 

 

It should be noted that the vaccines produced from morally acceptable sources are comparable in cost to the vaccines they replace.

Disclaimer:
The above information represents the best of our knowledge as of January 2005.

Sources:
http://www.rtl.org/html/hot topics html/vaccines.html 
http://www.cogforlife.org/fetalvaccines.htm 
http://www.dgwsoft.co.uk/homepages/vaccines/usvaccines.html
http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic2/biavax.htm
http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic2/mrvaxii.htm
http://vaccinationnews.com/DailyNews/June2001/VaccineIngredients.htm

Pharmaceutical companies Chiron, GlaxoSmithKline, Lederle, Merck, SmithKlineBeecham.

Acknowledgements:
Bob Ripley, Clinical Coordinator of Pharmacy at Mercy Medical Center — Dubuque and Dyersville, Iowa, and Diane Reist, Director of Pharmacy at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, provided assistance to the Medical-Moral Commission in determining the availability and cost of various vaccines.

OPPORTUNITY FOR POLITICAL ACTION
on the use of vaccines produced with aborted fetal cell lines

Moral Reflections on Vaccines Produced from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses from the Vatican Pontifical Academy for Life affirms that we have a responsibility to “oppose by all means (in writing, through the various associations, mass media, etc.) the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers. 

An opportunity to send a letter regarding vaccines produced with aborted fetal cell lines to U.S. senators and representatives from the State of Iowa is provided on the web site of the Iowa Catholic Conference:

 http://www.iowacatholicconference.org > Opportunity for Political Action on the Use of Vaccines Produced with Aborted Fetal Cell Lines > Send a message to US senators and representatives from the State of Iowa

OR click on the link below:
http://capwiz.com/iowanasccd/issues/alert/?alertid=8802046&type=ML&show_alert=1

The following sample letter is provided by the Medical-Moral Commission of the Archdiocese of Dubuque:

As a resident of Iowa, I am writing to urge Congress to prohibit pharmaceutical companies and their suppliers from using cell lines derived from aborted human fetuses in the production of vaccines.

Use of the MMR vaccine (Merck) during the mumps epidemic in Iowa has raised awareness of the fact that the rubella component, Meruvax, was produced using an aborted fetal cell line.  The same is true of the vaccine Varivax (Merck) for chickenpox and the vaccines Havrix (SmithKline Beecham/Glaxo SmithKline) and Vaqta (Merck) for hepatits-A.  No alternatives to these vaccines, produced without the use of aborted fetal cell lines, are currently approved for use in the United States.  I am concerned about this method of producing vaccines because it reduces the human fetus to commercial research material, and thus erodes our respect for human life in all its stages.   

While some vaccines for polio (Poliovax), rabies (Imovax), and smallpox (Acambis 1000) were produced using aborted fetal cell lines, other vaccines for the same diseases have been produced using monkey kidney and chick embryo cell lines. Moreover, Japanese researchers have produced alternative vaccines for rubella and hepatitis-A using rabbit and monkey kidney cell line, vaccines which  are available in the U.K. (http://www.rtl.org/html/hot_topics_html /vaccines.html and http://www.cogforlife.org/ fetalvaccines.htm )  This clearly demonstrates that it is not necessary to use aborted fetal cell lines in the production of vaccines. 

Please advise me of steps you and others in Congress are taking to address this moral issue.

Please note: Heightened security measures have dramatically increased the time it takes for a letter sent by U.S. mail to reach the offices of federal or state legislators.  More and more, citizens are using emails to communicate their concerns, and increasingly elected officials’ offices prefer electronic communications for constituent contact. 

Janine Marie Idziak, Ph.D.
Health Care Consultant
Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa