Should Pro-Lifers Take the COVID Vaccines?

It’s interesting that so far, at least that I have seen, there is no discussion here that all of these vaccines are created using cell lines from aborted children.

There has been discussion about this. I’m not sure what you are talking about.

I looked at the last few threads about the vaccines and saw no mention. If I missed it in earlier threads then fair enough. I’ll go back farther.

We are going to avoid a debate here about abortion. However, we will clarify how cell lines derived from an aborted fetus in 1985 are used (or not) to manufacture vaccines.

These two links from Catholics (unapologetically pro-life) are helpful:

Yes, in the course of testing, but not for all vaccine production:

Vaccine makers may use these fetal cell lines in any of the following three stages of vaccine development:

  • Development: Identifying what works
  • Confirmation: Making sure it works
  • Production: Manufacturing the formula that works

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for emergency use, neither the Pfizer nor Moderna vaccines used fetal cell lines during the development or production phases. (So, no fetal cell lines were used to manufacture the vaccine, and they are not inside the injection you receive from your doctor.) However, both companies used the fetal cell line HEK 293 in the confirmation phase to ensure the vaccines work. All HEK 293 cells are descended from tissue taken from a 1973 elective abortion that took place in the Netherlands.
Do the COVID-19 vaccines contain aborted fetal cells?


Why should there be a discussion of something that is false?


I am happy to be corrected that the fetal cell lines are not used in the initial development or production of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, but only in final testing – I should have done more investigation into this myself prior to posting. I agree that this does mitigate the moral complicity somewhat: “Thus, while neither vaccine is completely free from any connection to morally compromised cell lines, in this case the connection is very remote from the initial evil of abortion” (“Moral Considerations Regarding the New COVID-19 Vaccines”). Ultimately I agree with the conclusion of that article that, “we should be on guard so that the new COVID-19 vaccines do not desensitize us or weaken our determination to the evil of abortion itself and the subsequent use of of fetal cells in research” (ibid.) But sorry if I hijacked the thread.


We will split this off and close the thread. It is an important topic.

It doesn’t really serve our goals to have an extended debate about the morality of abortion (so we are not going to do that). However, it is important to clarify exactly what the facts are and the ethical questions for those that have strong moral objections to abortion.

I do emphasize that there is nothing particularly remarkable about the use of fetal derived stem cells in the case of these vaccines. Just about every drug that comes to market involves these cell lines at one point or another. The ethics of this were closely looked at by Bush #2’s administration from a staunchly pro-life point of view, and he personally endorsed this in the end, in line with Catholic recommendations from the Vatican.

I’m not Catholic, but I bring them up because they have been vanguards on pro-life matters, especially at that time. It isn’t really plausible to dismiss their ethical analysis as anything less than a staunchly pro-life ethical analysis.

I highly encourage reading the Catholic position papers I linked earlier.