Each month we will offer a list of action ideas so you can defend, honor, and celebrate Life in your churches and communities on our Take Action page. This month, we are looking the ethical development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Our world has been thrown into confusion during this COVID-19 pandemic, and many of us are concerned about the unemployment rate, the economy, and the health of our family and loved ones. Unsurprisingly then, people are looking with hope at the potential of a COVID-19 vaccine. However, we need to be aware of the ethical quandaries brought up in this vaccine-producing fervor, specifically related to the use of aborted fetal cells.

To date, there are 115 identified potential COVID-19 vaccines in development, but only 16 are in registered clinic trials or in an early pre-clinical trial stage. Of those 16, five companies have used an abortion derived cell-line in the vaccine development. Fortunately, it is possible to manufacture a vaccine that does not make use of aborted fetal cells, and companies are doing it. But while vaccines are in the development and/or trial stage, life-affirming people should discourage pharmaceutical companies from utilizing fetal cell strains and our government from supporting such development.

Beyond just considering a COVID-19 treatment, the ethical implications of the use of aborted fetal cells are long reaching. Each medical benefit or scientific advance gained through the use of fetal tissue desensitizes the beneficiaries, scientists, and doctors. The aborted fetal tissues used in laboratories are minimized and treated merely as “human cells,” and the human beings whose lives were taken to provide those cells become irrelevant. The greatest concern is that desensitization will erroneously validate elective abortions, so the unborn could become, like fetal tissue cell lines, merely cells, cultured within the uterus of a woman to be used for scientific exploration.

Every human being is created in the image of God and has value from the moment of conception. Therefore, even during this pandemic, the Church has the responsibility to voice opposition to the use of fetal tissue from elective abortions in the creation of a vaccine, in order to promote the development of ethical alternatives. How to do this? Contact the

I write to thank you and the Department of Health and Human Services for all of your efforts to combat the COVID-19 virus and to ask you to ensure that Americans will have access to a vaccine that is free from any connection to abortion. No American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience.  Fortunately, there is no need to use ethically problematic cell lines to produce a COVID vaccine, or any vaccine, as other cell lines or processes that do not involve cells from abortions are available and are regularly being used to produce other vaccines. Secretary Azar, I urgently and respectfully implore you to not only ensure that Americans will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine that is free of ethical concerns but to encourage and incentivize pharmaceutical companies to use only ethical cell lines or processes for producing vaccines.

We also encourage you to remain informed about the developing vaccines, as well as the companies who use cell lines created from the remains of aborted babies. And speak out on behalf of the unborn. While we must be sensitive to the world’s desire for an answer to this pandemic, this cannot be done by devaluing human life.