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Catholic Bishops OK Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines, Call AstraZeneca ‘More Morally Compromised’ Due To Connections To Abortions

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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  • Catholic bishops said Monday that under the current “sufficiently serious” conditions of the pandemic, Catholics may take the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna but should avoid the “more morally compromised” AstraZeneca vaccine due to its use of aborted baby cells. 
  • The bishops noted that “while neither vaccine is completely free from any connection to morally compromised cell lines, in this case the connection is very remote from the initial evil of the abortion.” 
  • The potential that the highly anticipated coronavirus vaccines would use cells from aborted babies posed weighty moral problems for many Americans who object to abortion.

Catholic bishops said Monday that under the current “sufficiently serious” conditions of the pandemic, Catholics may take the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna but should avoid the “morally compromised” AstraZeneca vaccine due to its use of aborted baby cells.

“In view of the gravity of the current pandemic and the lack of availability of alternative vaccines, the reasons to accept the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are sufficiently serious to justify their use, despite their remote connection to morally compromised cell lines,” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops chairmen Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas said in a document released Monday.

The bishops noted that “while neither vaccine is completely free from any connection to morally compromised cell lines, in this case the connection is very remote from the initial evil of the abortion.”

The AstraZeneca vaccine, however, is “more morally compromised” and thus “should be avoided,”the bishops said. (RELATED: Here’s Which COVID Vaccines Are Produced, Tested Using Aborted Baby Cells, According To A Pro-Life Institute)

“It may turn out, however, that one does not really have a choice of vaccine, at least, not without a lengthy delay in immunization that may have serious consequences for one’s health and the health of others,” the bishop chairmen added. “In such a case … it would be permissible to accept the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

“While having ourselves and our families immunized against COVID-19 with the new vaccines is morally permissible and can be an act of self-love and of charity toward others, we must not allow the gravely immoral nature of abortion to be obscured,” the bishops said.

The potential that the highly anticipated coronavirus vaccines would use cells from aborted babies posed weighty moral problems for many Americans who object to abortion. Analysis from the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) found that most of the major vaccine candidates do not use cell lines derived from abortions in their production, though several used abortion-derived cell lines in laboratory testing.

AstraZeneca uses abortion-derived cell lines in development, production, and lab testing, the analysis found. Pfizer and Moderna sometimes abortion-derived cells in testing but do not use abortion-derived cell lines in development or production of the vaccine, the analysis found.

CLI Vice President Dr. David Prentice previously explained to the Daily Caller News Foundation that when abortion-derived cell lines are used in the production of a vaccine, that means the cells are “directly involved in making the final product, the vaccine that is injected in our arms.”

“It is an essential element for the final vaccine,” Prentice said of abortion-derived cell lines used in the production of a vaccine. “Although the connection is distant both in time and space, since the abortion occurred decades ago and the cells have been grown in the lab ever since, that connection to abortion remains and is of concern to many Americans. ”

Laboratory testing using abortion-derived cell lines is potentially less morally problematic, since it is “anther step removed” Prentice said.

“When an abortion-derived cell line is used in laboratory testing, that is not done within the production line,” he explained. “It’s a confirmatory test done on the final vaccine, to validate what the scientists believe they’ve produced.”

“So this is another step removed, and there was nothing touching the abortion-derived cell line that ended up in the final vaccine product, or in our arms,” he continued. “For some, it doesn’t completely remove the concern. It is important to note that there are testing methods that can be done with cells not derived from abortion.”

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