Pro-life advocates’ calls to stop producing vaccines with cells from aborted babies are making a difference in the world.
The Catholic News Agency reports the company Sanofi-Pasteur just announced plans to produce a new, ethically-developed polio vaccine.
The project will replace an older polio vaccine that was developed with cells from an aborted baby, according to the report. Sanofi-Pasteur is one of the largest vaccine production companies in the world.
“This move from Sanofi-Pasteur is an encouraging indicator that for-profit companies creating vaccines are beginning to recognize there is no need to use cell lines derived from aborted children,” said Greg Schleppenbach of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Schleppenbach announced the good news in a September memo to pro-life leaders in Catholic dioceses across the country. He encouraged pro-lifers to thank companies like Sanofi-Pasteur that stop unethical vaccine production.
“We can hope that, with some encouragement, other vaccine manufacturers may consider creating other morally acceptable vaccines,” he said.
According to the report, Sanofi-Pasteur recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “switch from using an aborted fetal cell line (MRC-5) to using an ethical animal cell line to produce its polio combination vaccines Pentacel and Quadracel.”
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The company also is working on a vaccine for COVID-19 that does not use cells from aborted babies, the report states.
“We welcome these opportunities where we can illustrate the Church’s eager embrace of scientific advancement when it upholds the dignity of the human person and the precious gift of human life,” Schleppenbach said.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought renewed attention to the problem of aborted baby body parts used in scientific research, including the development of many vaccines. Pro-life leaders, including many in the Catholic Church, have been urging companies to produce vaccines that do not use cells from unborn babies whose lives were unnecessarily destroyed in abortions.
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, 17 research groups are conducting ethical coronavirus vaccine experiments while five are not. The five using cells from aborted babies in their research include researchers with the University of Oxford, Johnson & Johnson and the University of Pittsburgh. The Oxford research is considered to be one of the most promising for a vaccine.
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.
In May, Catholic Archbishop Joseph Naumann also 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, 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.
Many have been raising their voices in support of an ethically-developed vaccine, but one Canadian Catholic leader took his advocacy even further. According to the Catholic News Agency, the archbishop recently donated thousands of dollars to support an ethical vaccine research project at the University of British Columbia.