Catholic Archbishop Joseph Naumann urged pro-life advocates to speak out against the unethical use of cells from aborted babies in the creation of a coronavirus vaccine.
Speaking with EWTN Pro-Life Weekly on Thursday, Naumann said now is the time for Catholics and other pro-lifers to demand ethically developed vaccines.
“I think all we need really is for our pharmaceutical companies to realize that this is offensive to a large number of Americans and give them the encouragement, give our government the encouragement, to make sure these vaccines are not morally compromised in any way,” he said, according to the National Catholic Register.
Naumann is the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. The bishops recently sent a letter urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure vaccines are being produced ethically.
“There’s been a history in creating vaccines of—in some cases anyway—of using cell lines from aborted fetuses,” Naumann said. “So some of the vaccines that are used today have this ethical problem.”
“We as a Church, obviously, we see this as a moral issue, that we don’t want to do anything that—in some way gives support for the idea of abortion,” he continued.
LifeNews recently reported about at least two companies that are using cell lines created from aborted babies to develop a coronavirus vaccine. A third vaccine developed by the University of Oxford using cells from aborted babies is in the process of human trials and could be available by September, according to the Catholic News Agency.
Naumann said sometimes Catholics feel forced to use vaccines developed using cell lines from aborted babies because there is no alternative. But pro-lifers have the opportunity to advocate for change right now, he said.
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“There’s no need to really use cell lines from aborted fetuses, there are other cell lines that can be used to develop these vaccines,” Naumann said. “… we think it’s very important at this moment to let the voice not only of the Church but other concerned citizens to voice that we want to—we all want a vaccine, we realize that’s important for our public health, but we also want a vaccine that has no ethical problems in the way it’s developed.”
Naumann said he has been encouraged by the life-affirming responses to the coronavirus.
“As a culture and society, we’re going to enormous lengths to try to protect the elderly and those that might be susceptible to the virus where it’s much more dangerous for them,” the archbishop said. “So I think it’s admirable that we as a culture are taking these steps to try to protect those that are most vulnerable to the virus, and hopefully that can translate into a similar concern for the lives of the unborn as well.”
Catholic and pro-life organizations have been advocating against research using aborted baby body parts for years. During the coronavirus crisis, they have renewed calls to scientists to abide by basic ethical standards in their efforts to save lives.
According to the Catholic News Agency, a Canadian Catholic archbishop recently took his pro-life advocacy a step further by donating thousands of dollars to an ethical vaccine research project at the University of British Columbia.
Pro-life leaders also have highlighted how ethical alternatives to tissue from aborted babies are available, including pluripotent stem cells and tissue from placentas, umbilical cords and amniotic fluid. In 2018, the Trump administration created a $20 million grant to invest in these ethical research alternatives.
Abortion activists have been trying to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis by pushing for abortion funding in government spending bills, the de-regulation of abortion drugs, and research using aborted baby body parts. In March, the Washington Post highlighted complaints from anonymous scientists claiming research on the coronavirus is being hindered by new restrictions from the Trump administration on the use of aborted baby body parts in taxpayer-funded research.
National Review reports pro-life lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate both sent letters to the Trump administration telling leaders to stand firm in their commitment to defund the unethical research.
“In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, complaints against your decision to halt funding of aborted fetal tissue research has reached a crescendo,” the House letter states. “These critical litanies, however, repeat false claims and narratives which for many years have touted the utility of aborted fetal tissue in research …”
Recently, the Charlotte Lozier Institute noted that at least 60 potential treatments for the virus are being investigated right now using materials that do not come from aborted babies.