Editor’s Note: I was investigating the link between abortion and vaccination when I came into contact with Catholic author Mark Armstrong, who was also investigating the subject (an interview he conducted with Dr. Theresa Deisher on the topic can be heard by clicking here). I believe Mark makes some important points here, and while we at VOR do not share Mr. Armstrong’s views on Catholicism, and we are not yet calling for an abortion-aided vaccine boycott, we believe the points he makes here are worthy of consideration for pro-life Catholics and non-Catholics alike. My hope is that this opens discussion on the topic , and we determine as a pro-life community where to go from here. Originally Published on Catholic Exchange, used with permission.
In the media uproar and rush to be vaccinated against Swine Flu or H1N1 there is a quiet discussion about exactly what are the deadly ingredients in these vaccinations. Many parents, rightly so, are concerned about the levels of Thimerosal and the potential for mercury poisoning that some blame for autism in some vaccines. While there may be Thimerosal-free vaccines available, most of the first shipments of the H1N1 vaccine apparently contain very high levels of Thimerosal. To vaccinate a child in the face of some statistics showing autism rates of 1.4% for children today, versus virtually zero before widespread vaccinations programs began, gives one pause for concern. What is even more disturbing to those in the pro-life movement is the knowledge that these vaccines designed to prevent the flu are possibly tainted with the tissues from voluntarily aborted babies.
To date, according to a multiple sources, dozens of the vaccines used by Americans today are contaminated with human diploid cells; the tissues derived from the cells of voluntarily aborted babies. What is even more alarming is there are no laws to require that people be informed as to which vaccines have these tainted tissues as their root base and which do not. Vaccine makers, attempting to get around what they know to be controversial information, label their ingredients in such a way to mask the fact that there are cells from electively aborted babies in the formulation of their vaccines.
What is a pro-life parent or person to do? Catholic experts give conflicting information at best. The Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, who serves as the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, says parents may vaccinate their children with these tainted vaccines because by doing so, “they are not involved in any illicit form of cooperation with the original abortion.”
Further Father Pasholczyk explains that parents who use these tainted vaccines should educate themselves and others about the facts of their origination. They should demand that alternatives and morally-derived vaccines be developed. But in the end he says, “Parents may vaccinate their children because vaccinations are critical to preventing serious, life-threatening diseases and to safeguarding large segments of the population from cataclysmic disease outbreaks and epidemics.”
Do all of the nearly two dozen vaccines contaminated by voluntarily aborted babies rise to a “cataclysmic level” as Father Pasholczyk suggests? For many baby-boomer parents, mumps, measles and chicken pox were almost a rite of passage. In fact, there is a growing school of thought in medicine that these childhood illnesses help to strengthen a child’s immune system for later in life. Ironic to think that the very vaccines designed to prevent these illnesses now, tainted with the blood of electively aborted babies, may be producing a new generation of children with weakened immune systems.
Remember that Father Pasholczyk is not speaking for the Magisterium of the Catholic Church when he tells parents that it’s okay to use tainted vaccines. From Rome, we have a different Catholic perspective, in a letter from Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life to Mrs. Debra Vinnedge, executive director, Children of God for Life in July, 2005. Bishop Sgreccia says that Catholics have “a grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines and to make a conscientious objection with regard to those which have moral problems. The lawfulness of the use of these vaccines should not be misinterpreted as a declaration of the lawfulness of their production, marketing and use, but is to be understood as being a passive material cooperation (emphasis added) and, in its mildest and remotest sense, also active material cooperation , morally justified as an “extrema ratio” due to the necessity to provide for the good of one’s children and of the people who come in contact with the children — especially pregnant women. Such cooperation occurs in a context of moral coercion of the conscience of parents, who are forced to choose to act against their conscience or otherwise, to put the health of their children and of the population as a whole at risk. This is an unjust alternative choice, which must be eliminated as soon as possible.”
So what is a pro-life Catholic to do? We are left simply with the lesser of two evils. Either we participate in (at least) “passive material cooperation” to abortion or decide to take our chances and not vaccinate our children, hoping that if they do catch one of these illnesses our modern American medical system can provide care for a full recovery. And yet, even those in the pro-life movement who decide a “passive material cooperation” is their moral choice are left with some other rather startling information.
It is clear, with the power of the pharmaceutical lobby and the present leadership of the U.S. government, there is going to be no effort to “force” vaccine manufacturers to create vaccines that are not tainted with the blood of voluntarily aborted babies. And to complicate the matter even further, in nearly all current vaccines products there is a statement that declares there is residual DNA in their formulation. Each new vaccine is a virtual cocktail that contains ingredients built from the ingredients made in the last one. Trying to even discern which vaccines are truly “abortion-free” may be impossible to tell.
According to Dr. Theresa Deisher president of the Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute (SCPI), as well development director for Ave Maria Biotechnology Company, which promotes pro-life biotechnology, it may not be Thimerosal in vaccines that parents, concerned about autism, need to worry about, but, in fact, the residual DNA from the tissues of voluntarily aborted babies. In an article Dr. Deisher wrote for the SCPI June, 2009 newsletter she said:
There are groups researching the potential link between this DNA and autoimmune diseases such as juvenile (type I) diabetes, multiple sclerosis and lupus. Our organization, (SCPI), is focused on studying the quantity, characteristics and genomic recombination of the aborted fetal DNA found in many of our vaccines. Preliminary bioinformatics research conducted at SCPI indicates that “hot spots” for DNA recombination are found in nine autism-associated genes present on the X chromosome. These nine genes are involved in nerve-cell synapse formation, central nervous system development and mitochondrial function. Could genomic insertion of the aborted fetal DNA, found in some of our childhood vaccines since 1979, be an environmental trigger for autism? Could the fact that genes critical for nerve synapse formation and nervous system development found on the X chromosome, provide some explanation of why autism is predominantly a disease found in boys? Could the “hot spots” identified in these autism-associated genes be sites for insertion of contaminating aborted fetal DNA?
These are the questions just now being look into by the same organizations and research firms, like the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, that assured us that Thimerosal was not the link between vaccines and autism. In the meantime, good pro-life people will have to decide between the lesser of two evils: Whether to have “passive material cooperation” and allow ourselves to be immunized with vaccines known to be tainted with the tissues from electively aborted babies, or take our chances that we won’t get these diseases or viruses.
Although H1N1 makes this issue especially relevant, it is not a new one. As far as 1994 at the Catholic Bishops conference of England and Wales, religious leaders prepared a report on this very same subject which called vaccine use of voluntarily aborted babies,“a kind of evil which is widespread in biomedical research and which people rightly think they should combat when they can…the practice of medicine is being made parasitic on the evils of abortion and fetal experimentation.”
Fifteen years ago they called on Catholics to refuse vaccination as “one way of seeking to turn medicine from a course which will increasingly subvert people’s confidence in it.” For many of us, we cannot “passively materially cooperate” in the killing of the unborn and so refusing to vaccinate is our only choice. Maybe if enough pro-lifers took this stand, we could turn medicine from its course of continuing to kill and using the unborn to save the rest of us.
About the Author: Mark Armstrong lives in North Dakota where he and his wife Patti are the parents to ten children, eight boys and two girls, including two adopted AIDS orphans from Kenya. He spent nearly 30 years as an award-winning broadcast journalist before serving as the communications head for North Dakota’s workers’ compensation agency. He co-authored the best-selling Catholic book, “Amazing Grace for Fathers.” The couple have a pro-life talk, “Confessions of a Catholic Couple” available at One More Soul. Mark is also an occasional guest host on the Relevant Radio Network for both Sean Herriott on Morning Air and The Drew Mariani Show. Mark’s website is at www.RaisingCatholicKids.com.
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