Campaign for Ethical Vaccines & Medicines


1)      To petition the vaccine manufacturers to produce safe, effective alternatives for Rubella/MMR, Hepatitis-A and Chickenpox that are not derived from or cultivated on aborted fetal tissue. Further, in the event there is a lack of cooperation on the pharmaceutical companies’ part, Children of God for Life will seek to import alternatives from overseas through a formal IND application to the FDA (currently in progress)

2)      To discourage the further production of vaccines or medical treatments that are derived from deliberately destroyed human life, including fetal tissue and Embryonic Stem Cell Research

3)      To encourage the use of alternatives where they are available and to educate the public as to how their family physicians may obtain these alternatives

4)      To uphold the individual rights of any person, who in good moral conscience refuses to use these vaccines due to their source.

Right of Acceptance or Refusal

Many articles have been written regarding the morally acceptable use of these vaccines in the absence of alternatives. The argument most generally used is that of “remote material cooperation” whereby the original act of abortion, which is gravely immoral, is so far removed or distant from the end user of the vaccines, that there is no complicity in the evil of the original act on the part of the parents vaccinating their children.  While this statement may satisfy the minds of many parents who have used the vaccines, there are many people – parents and physicians alike – who have a deep aversion to abortion and cannot accept such statements as being truly pro-life.  We believe these people are entitled to act according to their conscience.

Although Children of God for Life has not advocated a boycott of these vaccines, the fact remains that many parents have refused to use them and many physicians have refused to dispense them.  We recognize that every person is entitled to protect the health and safety of their families without compromising their moral conscience or religious beliefs.  In that most State Health Departments require these vaccinations for entrance to both public and Catholic or Christian private schools, colleges and universities and various types of employment, many people have filed for religious exemptions, based on the teachings of their respective faiths in matters of abortion and fetal tissue research.

However in many cases, parents are being denied their rights by State officials who cite the recent articles as evidence of Catholic teaching.  We in turn cite the true Church Teachings under the direct advice of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Considerations – Prior Knowledge and Intent

Abortion is unnecessary to obtain live viruses as proved by the Japanese in producing Takahashi for rubella.  The virus was obtained by swabbing the throat of an infected child.

Aborted fetal tissue is unnecessary as a culture medium, as non-abortive human tissue may be used or animal cell lines, as evidenced in the production of Measles, Mumps, Polio, Rabies and the Japanese Aimmungen for Hepatitis-A and Takahashi for Rubella.

The abortions were done with the intention of creating medical products. This is evidenced by the very fact that not only were women encouraged to abort their children during the 1964 Rubella epidemic, there was a also a control study group used in obtaining the Rubella virus. Fetal tissue cannot be successfully utilized without immediate preservation of the fetus.  We know that in the production of the Rubella vaccine, Wistar Institute collaborated with the abortionists and collected the aborted fetal tissue from 27 fetuses before finding the live rubella vaccine. To further denigrate their concern for human life, after producing the vaccine, Wistar Institute conducted their clinical trials on orphans in Philadelphia, Pa. to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Today, Wistar Institute is also heavily involved with Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

The parent gave full consent for the use of their aborted child for research purposes.  It is illegal in the United States to use aborted, miscarried or still born children for research without previous written consent of the donor. (4. US Code Title 42, Sect. 289 g.1 (b) Informed Consent of Donor)


 The Church has emphatically and unequivocally stated Her position on the evil of abortion.  The Church further teaches the use of Moral Conscience (Cat 1776-1789) to turn away from that which is evil: “In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right.”

When we try to remove the burden of guilt from the minds of our fellow Catholics, we are in effect watering down the truth.  While the Church should not have to dictate that these vaccines cannot be used under any circumstance due to their immoral source, nor do we expect Her to,  it is equally unjust for some to advise the use of the vaccines to be morally acceptable.  The use of “remote material cooperation” as an argument is problematic in that the very word “cooperation” intimates association, regardless of how “remote” it might be, and violates the inner conscience.  The faithful pro-life Catholic:

  • Will not support pro-abortion candidates for public office
  • Will not donate to charities that support fetal tissue or embryonic stem cell research
  • Will not buy products from companies who support Planned Parenthood
  • Will not use doctors who also offer abortion
  • Will not do business with retailers who supply over-the counter abortifacients
  • Will not use medical treatments taken from fetal tissue transplants
  • Will not attend public events with pro-abortion guest speakers

In short, faithful pro-life Catholics will not even “remotely” support any organization or position that is connected with the abortion industry. They do so because their conscience directs them. Using products derived from abortion is in direct contradiction with the above pro-life practices.

Another argument used by some ethicists is the comparison of the use of aborted fetal tissue to other atrocities against humanity, such as using the donated organs of a murdered child. This too is flawed for several obvious reasons:

  • The crime of murder is punishable by law; abortion is not
  • The parents donating their child’s organs had no direct involvement with the murder
  • The murderer does not gain financially from the donated organs; the abortionist does

Some ethicists have further stated that for the good of public health, Catholics are obliged to used the vaccines, regardless of their personal convictions.  This is also wrong for two reasons:

  • In dubio libertas. If there is doubt about an obligation of law, a person is free to not follow the law. The Magisterium of the Church has not formally issued any guidelines.
  • No one can be obliged by another to act against his conscience. Those who judge that the vaccination is illicit cooperation with abortion should be free to follow their conscience.

Public Perception

Most if not all of these tainted vaccines are required for admission to public and Catholic school.  In filing for religious exemption, as thousands of Catholics have already done, many have been refused and told their Catholic Church says the vaccines are permissible, citing the article as proof.  With no formal statement from the Church, parents are left to defend their actions with no guidance from their pastors or bishops.

How serious could it be?  Consider the cases of the following children who refused to use these vaccinations:

  • Children have been expelled (widespread)
  • State health departments have used their own interpretation of Catholic teaching to force vaccinations or remove children from their parents or schools
  • Parents have been threatened with child abuse  (Utica NY Fall School Session of 2000)
  • In Atlanta, Georgia a parent was refused all medical treatment for her child by her pediatrician unless she had the vaccinations.
  • In Covington, Louisiana, a child was denied admittance to her Catholic School

The article was also used by Merck & Company to defend their use of aborted fetal tissue. In response to our petition in which we requested they produce alternatives for the Rubella, Hepatitis-A and Chickenpox vaccinations, they included a copy of the article with their letter, along with a second article by John Grabenstein, condoning the use of the vaccines.  Merck further presumed we thought it was morally acceptable for those 27 women to have abortions in the RA/27/3 study, since they were infected with the virus and might have passed on some form of Congenital Rubella Syndrome to their unborn child. Children of God for Life quickly asserted that aborting children simply because they might be born less than perfect is not principled reasoning.

In response to these assaults on the teaching of the Catholic Church, Children of God for Life compiled established Doctrine from several sources into one authoritative document to assist Catholics in this area.

The pharmaceutical industry recognizes the enormity of the Catholic market not only in the United States, but worldwide.   Yet without any statement of support, the efforts of Children of God for Life have been severely hampered from effectively applying the necessary pressure to obtain alternatives, when the current products are perceived to be morally acceptable and permissible by the Catholic Church.

 Fetal Tissue and Embryonic Stem Cell (ESC) Research

 April 26, 2000 Senate Subcommittee Hearings

  • Senator Harry Reid (NV) compares the Polio vaccine and it’s derivation from abortion, to justify using embryonic stem cells and their potential medical possibilities for treating major diseases in the future.

April 30, 2000 Hearings on University of Nebraska’s research on aborted fetuses

  • State Senator David Landis and University of Nebraska Board of Regents member Allen Hastings who favor abortive fetal tissue research used the same aforementioned article to defend their position.  Mr. Hastings, in response to public outrage, wrote a scathing article citing the Church as being supportive of their research as evidenced by their position on the vaccines. In fact they claim such research to be “pro-life”!   The Nebraska bishops asserted the two situations are “easily and clearly distinguishable”, since the vaccines do not require a continual supply of tissue from ongoing abortions.  However, the Medical Center disagreed: “Both are seeking to benefit vulnerable people in important ways by using means that are derived from a putatively evil source,” said Dr. Barbara Stock, a postdoctoral scholar at the Nebraska University Medical Center.

February 2001 Tampa Tribune Article favoring ESC Research

  • Writer Jeff Stidham in reporting on the marvels that embryonic stem cells could produce, stated it was acceptable in that there were vaccines developed using human fetal cell lines “but there has not been any protests against their use.”

August 2001 President Bush Justifies ESC Research with Chickenpox Vaccine

  • President Bush used the current vaccines that are derived from aborted fetal tissue to justify his decision for funding research on those stem cell lines whose embryos had already been destroyed. In a letter written to the NY Times, he stated, “There is a precedent. The only licensed live chickenpox vaccine used in the United States was developed, in part, from cells derived from research involving human embryos. Researchers first grew the virus in embryonic lung cells, which were later cloned and grown in two previously existing cell lines. Many ethical and religious leaders agree that even if the history of this vaccine raises ethical questions, its current use does not.” 

Some ethicists have commented that “past Catholic statements on individuals’ use of vaccines developed from fetal tissue are not relevant to this issue”.  We disagree because the fact that one is destroyed in advance with the intention of research, while the other one is destroyed and then used for research after the fact, is really inconsequential.

  • Both have immoral acts in their origin.
  • Both provide means of profiting from the destruction of human life.
  • Both are done with the intent of research and product development.
  • Both create a marketplace for further fetal tissue and embryonic stem cell research.
  • Both hope to achieve some noble benefit for mankind.
  • Both are unnecessary, as moral alternatives do exist.

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