The Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans counseled its parishioners on Friday against taking the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine because it is allegedly developed from stem cells derived from two abortions.
The organization released a statement on the archdiocese’s website that proclaimed the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was “morally compromised.”
“The Archdiocese of New Orleans, in light of guidance from the Vatican, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and The National Catholic Bioethics Center affirm that though there was some lab testing that utilized the abortion-derived cell line, the two vaccines currently available from Pfizer and Moderna do not rely on cell lines from abortions in the manufacturing process and therefore can be morally acceptable for Catholics as the connection to abortion is extremely remote,” the statement read.
“It is under the same guidance that the archdiocese must instruct Catholics that the latest vaccine from Janssen/Johnson & Johnson is morally compromised as it uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing,” it stated.
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“We advise that if the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is available, Catholics should choose to receive either of those vaccines rather than to receive the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of its extensive use of abortion-derived cell lines,” the archdiocese added.
Anti-abortion Catholic groups have been opponents of medical companies using stem cells from aborted fetuses for a long time. Johnson & Johnson and other large pharmaceutical companies have defended the practice because it has reportedly led to medical breakthroughs.
“As a research tool, human pluripotent stem cells promise to expand our understanding of normal physiologic processes such as cell growth and differentiation and to enable new insights into disease, which may lead to new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat a wide variety of disorders,” the company states.
Johnson & Johnson is the third vaccine manufacturer that has been approved for the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic. They follow pharmaceutical manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna.
Both Pfizer and Moderna use stem cells from abortions for testing, but they do not use them in the manufacturing process. That is why the church has reportedly deemed them acceptable. The stem cells being used by Johnson & Johnson came from two abortions: one that occurred in 1972, which has been used extensively in medical research, and another one that took place in 1985, whose cells were taken from an 18-week-old fetus. Those are used exclusively by Johnson & Johnson.
“Cells derived from abortions have been used since the 1960s to manufacture vaccines, including current vaccines against chickenpox, hepatitis A, rubella, and shingles. They also have been used to make drugs that treat diseases like hemophilia, rheumatoid arthritis, and cystic fibrosis,” reported Big Easy Magazine.
The Vatican has issued general guidelines regarding vaccines that view it as “morally acceptable” for Catholics to receive inoculations that use the stem cells for research. While the stem cells reportedly originated from an aborted fetus in 1972, bioethicists claim that the cells are clones and are not the original fetal tissue.
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