CMA Calls for Vaccines Not Associated With Abortion

For Immediate Release  May 16, 2006         Contact:  Dr Steven White, CMA 386-252-3985




NEEDHAM, MA — The Catholic Medical Association – the nation’s largest professional organization of Catholic doctors – is calling on the nation’s vaccine makers to develop, as soon as possible, vaccines that are not cultivated on cells taken from aborted fetuses.


According to a recent statement by the CMA, “physicians and patients are permitted to use the vaccines when no effective alternative is available.”  In addition, they noted, “It is right [permissible] to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without significant risk to their health.”


However, when alternative versions of these vaccines are available, “they must be used in place of those produced by immoral means,” CMA states.


Vaccines that have been derived from cell lines originally prepared from tissue taken from voluntarily aborted fetuses include those for rubella, Hepatitis A, as well as others.


“The bottom line is that vaccines derived from abortions should mainly be avoided and used only when alternatives are unavailable,” said Robert Saxer, CMA’s executive vice president. “But there is really no reason why those alternatives should be unavailable,” Saxer continued.  “The pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the vaccines have the ability and know-how to produce versions of these vaccines which do not depend on cell lines from aborted fetuses.  They should be pressured to develop those vaccines to meet the health needs of those who have religious and ethical objections to abortion.”


“In addition,” Saxer pointed out, “The FDA has the authority to allow for the  licensing and importation of safe and effective ethical alternative vaccines such as Takahashi (rubella) and Aimmugen (Hepatitis A), and it has a moral duty to exercise that authority.”


Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities welcomed the CMA statement. “The Catholic bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat looks forward to working with the Catholic Medical Association and other organizations to help make alternative vaccines readily available in the United States,” said Mr. Doerflinger.  “In this way we can ensure that concerned Catholics and other pro-life Americans will not confront the dilemma of having to accept a vaccine based on morally illicit sources, or risk compromising the health of themselves and others.”


The current situation in Iowa, where there has been an outbreak of mumps, highlights the ongoing urgency to resolve the issue of vaccines derived from abortions.  Part of the vaccine being used (MMR) is derived from tissue obtained from abortion, and there is no alternative available for that component in the US.  This has raised concerns about its use among many residents of the state.


“The concerns raised in Iowa show that this is a real issue for many people, and that pharmaceutical companies and the FDA have a responsibility to address these concerns and provide vaccines that can be used by all,” Saxer said.


The entire CMA statement can be read at: or here if the link is unavailable