Several vaccines in current use are developed from the cells of aborted babies. Can Christians use these vaccines in good conscience?
Hello, everyone. This is Tony, speaking to you from November as I edit this episode for the podcast, with a brief programming note before we begin. Due to studio schedules, this episode had to be recorded way back in October, back when it was widely reported that a major ethical dilemma was looming for pro-life Christians related to COVID vaccines made from aborted tissue cell lines. As the weeks passed, however, vaccines rose to the forefront that do not pose this ethical dilemma, particularly those from Pfizer and Moderna. All that to say, today’s question needs to be addressed, even if it’s looking now like it will thankfully not be a major dilemma with COVID vaccines. Alas, on to today’s episode.
The pandemic has disrupted our lives in America for nearly a year now. And I know this disruption is very real for many of you around the world too. As we record this, vaccinations are on many minds as an important step to ending the pandemic and returning to some sense of normalcy. But with it arrive many emails about the ethics of vaccines, questions from listeners like Callum, Benjamin, Anna, Heather, Megan, Michelle, Krista, Tenesha, Matt, Caroline, Candice, Daniel, James, and Franco — just to name a few!
Basically, these listeners share one dilemma. Several frontrunners for the new coronavirus vaccine are made from the cells of aborted children — healthy children who were murdered. Most notably, this includes a human fetal kidney cell line called HEK-293, from the kidney of a healthy girl aborted in 1972, and PER.C6, from the retina of a healthy boy aborted in 1985.
Science magazine reported that five of the leading coronavirus vaccines use one of these two human fetal cell lines. And apparently similar cell lines have been used since the 1960s to manufacture vaccines against rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis A, shingles, hemophilia, rheumatoid arthritis, and cystic fibrosis.
As we record this, ethically derived coronavirus vaccines are in process, but they are slower and will likely be more expensive, rarer, and more difficult to get. That’s the prediction, at least. So should committed pro-lifers get the fast, available, cheap vaccines made from aborted cells? Or should they wait? Pastor John, how do you think through this?