Considering the fact that certain vaccines require aborted fetal matter to be made, how does the Church support vaccines while condemning abortion?
The question submitted offers an intriguing comparison in relation to vaccines (a known product that sustains life), a fetus (a human baby), and abortions (a procedure that more often ends the life of healthy offspring). The first thoughts I have, as I entertain this question, are that this question can be answered by similar comparisons. The Church invites its members to avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol is often used in over the counter medicinal drugs. The Church supports medicinal drugs that heal the body, while condemning the consumption of alcohol. I believe an honest and sincere heart would be able to distinguish between the support of medicinal drugs that heal the body in comparison to the consumption of alcohol, however, let us review the stated facts provided in this question.
The following vaccines known to have been grown from fetal embryo fibroblast cells are: varicella (or chickenpox), rubella, hepatitis A, shingles, and a specific rabies. As these vaccines stand now, they are made from the fetal embryo of two elective abortions in the 1960s, one of the elective abortions was from Sweden and the other from England. These two terminations that provided the necessary embryonic cells have continued to grow, have been used to make the necessary vaccines today, and no other sources are needed to make these vaccines as of today, at least according to this article: Vaccine Ingredients – Fetal Tissues I assume a question we can ask ourselves, as our understanding matures in matters of biology, are there yet ethical means by which these diseases will be combated without using any aborted fetus? According to some online research there appears to be some consensus that certain vaccines which are currently using fetal embryo fibroblast cells might have an alternative source to produce vaccinations that are able to cure some of these diseases.
True, the Church condemns elective abortions, and rightfully so, save in the case of rape or should the mother’s life be at risk (and these exceptions should not be done without much thought, prayer, and fasting). Here are actual statements regarding the Church’s position regarding abortions:
“In today’s society, abortion has become a common practice, defended by deceptive arguments. Latter-day prophets have denounced abortion, referring to the Lord’s declaration, “Thou shalt not … kill, nor do anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6).”
In the words of Elder Russell M. Nelson, in relation to a war on the unborn, “However [Word War I and World War II], are dwarfed by the [death] toll of another war that claims more casualties annually than did World War I and World War II combined. Worldwide reports indicate that more than 40 million abortions are performed per year.
“This war called abortion is a war on the defenseless and the voiceless. It is a war on the unborn. This war is being waged globally. Ironically, civilized societies that have generally placed safeguards on human life have now passed laws that sanction this practice”
Now, if fetal tissue is necessary for certain life saving vaccines there are other options available other than elective abortions providing the fetal tissue for these vaccines. Over the course of my marriage, my wife unfortunately had to endure four miscarriages. One of her miscarriages resulted in the known dilation and curettage operation (D&C). This was not an elective abortion, and yet this fetal tissue resulting from natural causes would be sufficient to grow vaccines from fetal embryo fibroblast cells. Natural abortions, nothing self induced, occur often enough that as long as fetal matter is required for vaccines we would have sufficient tissue without the need of any elective abortion that terminates the life of healthy human offspring, which causes me to think that the question more so approaches deceptive arguments against the Church — in attempts to say “Gotcha!” If some vaccines require fetal cells, wouldn’t natural miscarriages work just as well? Yes, they would, thus elective abortions are not necessary for vaccines. This is choice, not necessity.
Although, not directly involved in the question, I feel it important to note that there are groups who do not choose to immunize their children for exactly this reason. They have discovered that these vaccines use the fetus from abortions. Are they wrong? Would you force them to immunize their children?
If the article previously mentioned is correct, only two abortions have been used from the 1960s for the vaccines we used today, and the question leaves it open as if declaring elective abortions today are being used. This doesn’t appear to be the case.
Richard, the Church will continue to condemn elective abortions resulting from selfish desires in dealing with unwanted pregnancies, as the Church and many others recognize that “human life is a sacred gift from God.” This will not change, and thank goodness!