The Catholic Medical Association is calling on pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines that are not derived from aborted fetuses.
"The pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the vaccines have the ability and know-how to produce versions of these vaccines which do not depend on cell lines from aborted fetuses,” says a recent statement issued by the CMA. “They should be pressured to develop those vaccines to meet the health needs of those who have religious and ethical objections to abortion.”
Vaccines that have been derived from cell lines originally prepared from tissue taken from voluntarily aborted fetuses include those for rubella and Hepatitis A, among others.
The statement says that physicians and patients are permitted to use the vaccines derived from aborted fetuses “when no effective alternative is available."
However, they noted, it is also permissable to abstain from using these vaccines “if it can be done without significant risk to their health.” And when alternative versions of these vaccines are available, "they must be used in place of those produced by immoral means," reads the CMA statement.
"But there is really no reason why those alternatives should be unavailable," said Robert Saxer, CMA's executive vice president.
“The FDA has the authority to allow for the licensing and importation of safe and effective ethical alternative vaccines such as Takahashi (rubella) and Aimmugen (Hepatitis A), and it has a moral duty to exercise that authority," Saxer added.
Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities welcomed the CMA statement. He said his office looks forward to working with the CMA to help make alternative vaccines readily available in the U.S.
The current situation in Iowa, where there has been an outbreak of mumps, highlights the ongoing urgency to resolve the issue of vaccines derived from abortions. Part of the vaccine being used (MMR) is derived from aborted tissue, and there is no alternative available for that component in the U.S.