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Answers from our Priests for Life Medical Team

Submitted by: K on  5/13/2010
Answered by: Matthew P. Harrison, M.D.
Topic: Vaccines
My pediatrician wants to give my daughter the chicken pox vaccine. Is that made from aborted babies? Should I allow them to give it to her?
Dear Kimberly,
I am so happy to know that you are carefully thinking about these issues and what your child is receiving in the way of vaccines. It seems unthinkable, but some vaccines have been developed from cell lines that came from aborted fetuses. The common vaccines that we use in America include those for Rubella (in the MMR), Varicella (chicken pox), Zoster (shingles), Hepatitis A, and some Polio. Children of God for Life ( is an excellent resource for which vaccines use aborted fetal tissue in their development and if there are alternatives. The embryonic cell lines have been used to produce large numbers of human cells that are then used to produce the viral proteins that are used in viruses. During the Holocaust, Jewish concentration camp victims were used for experimentation without their consent. That research was destroyed after the war in order to honor those whose rights were taken away. Similarly, these aborted children did not give permission to use their lung tissue for vaccines. “Parts” of aborted babies are not literally in the vaccine that is given to children, but the cell lines that are descended from the aborted fetal tissue is being used. The Vatican has issued an opinion that it is not immoral to give these vaccines or to allow your children to get them; some of these vaccines can be life saving. You are encouraged to pray about this, talk to your priest, and allow a well formed pro-life conscience guide your decision. At the same time, we should all pressure the pharmaceutical companies to develop new vaccines from other sources and to support pro-life doctors that offer alternatives such as the Mumps and Measles vaccines without the Rubella.

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