In the May issue of its monthly publication “On Point,” the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, assessed the ethical concerns surrounding a number of COVID-19 vaccine programs currently being studied for potential use by the public. There has been a great deal of public concern that a vaccine might utilize cells or tissue from aborted babies.
According to the Lozier Institute, “the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) identified 115 COVID-19 vaccines in development. At least 78 of these vaccine development initiatives were confirmed to be actively under way. However, many of these active projects are still only at the laboratory investigation stage, with many different biological strategies being investigated.” Of these 78 vaccine development initiatives, the Lozier Institute created a table of 16 initiatives that are “now in registered trials or in early stages of pre-clinical development.” See the table here.
Out of the 16 listed, five of them, all of which seek to manufacture “replication-deficient (RD) adenoviruses,” present ethical concerns because they utilize cells taken from electively aborted babies. As the Lozier Institute points out, “The use of cells from electively aborted fetuses for vaccine production makes these five COVID-19 vaccine programs unethical, because they exploit the innocent human beings who were aborted.”
Lozier researchers note that some will say vaccines developed now are using derivatives of cells from babies aborted in the distant past and thus pose no ethical concern, but the researchers point out that “the connection line” between the abortion and the current vaccine still exists. They argue:
… the possibility of conscientious objection by those to whom a vaccine is offered creates ethical demands on the policymakers, healthcare officials, scientists, vaccine creators and funders, whether or not they themselves have an ethical concern, because of the question of access to the vaccine by the entire citizenry in good conscience. This is especially true if alternative production methods and vaccines are available for which there is no ethical question.
In June of 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ruled that it would no longer fund research using new fetal remains obtained from elective abortions, but would allow new research using already-obtained fetal remains from elective abortions that took place prior to the rule. Besides the five unethical vaccine initiatives, one vaccine initiative’s ethical status is unclear because its unknown whether cells from aborted babies were used.
That leaves 10 vaccine initiatives that pose no ethical quandaries, of which two have received nearly half a billion dollars in funding from the U.S. government thus far.
The Lozier Institute notes that even the five unethical vaccine initiatives have the potential to become ethical if they would utilize cells from amniocentesis, which have long been available for research use, rather than cells from aborted babies. The bulletin concludes, “Adherence to the highest ethical standards in science and medicine serves all humanity, because it values the dignity of every human life and respects the consciences of all, without exploitation of any group.”
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