Response to August 2nd NCBC Statement

Debi Vinnedge
Reproduced with Permission
Response to August 2nd NCBC Statement

The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) is dangerously teetering on a public perception that they have some sort of underlying motive when it comes to their position on using and producing vaccines with aborted fetal cell lines. In fact, their opinion on this issue has been so far removed from mainstream Catholic views that they actually concluded it was also morally acceptable for Catholic Universities to use the aborted fetal cell lines in research. (See http://www.cogforlife.org/ncbcgeorgetown.htm)

They've done it again! In an utterly ambiguous document released by the Center, on August 2nd, in response to the Vatican's recent statement, "Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared From Cells Derived From Aborted Human Foetuses", the NCBC boldly proclaimed:

"The practical conclusion of the [Vatican] commentary is consistent with the position held by The National Catholic Bioethics Center."
 

We would hold this to be patently false in that the NCBC has consistently refused to support our Campaign for Ethical Vaccines to obtain the ethical alternatives. The perception has been that if it is morally permissible to use these vaccines, why would one need to obtain alternatives?   But let's see how close their overall position really is to the Vatican by examining just what the Vatican actually said. A summary of the PAFL document is as follows:

It should be noted that the Vatican directive applies not only to families, but especially to those in positions of Catholic authority, such as the NCBC. We see little to nothing in the main thrust of their opinion that conforms with the Vatican, but we'll let you be the judge.

What the NCBC said:

The abortions occurred decades ago and were unrelated to the production of the vaccines

What the Vatican said:

"There was collaboration between those who made the vaccine and those who practiced abortion," said the bishop, [Sgreccia, Pontifical Academy for Life] and "this is the point that has triggered the opposition of the pro-life movements." (ZENIT ZE05072604, July 26, 2005-Rome)

Note: The same documentation that the Vatican used in this assertion was also provided to the NCBC two years ago, however it appears they chose to ignore it. Had they read the reports by the researchers themselves, they would have seen the direct complicity by the pharmaceutical researchers and abortionists. For further information see http://www.cogforlife.org/fetalvaccinetruth.htm

What the NCBC said:

Finally, the commentary in fact does not condemn the use of these vaccines but states clearly that they may be used without moral guilt.

What the Vatican said:

"However, in this situation, the aspect of passive cooperation is that which stands out most. It is up to the faithful and citizens of upright conscience (fathers of families, doctors, etc.) to oppose, even by making an objection of conscience, the ever more widespread attacks against life and the "culture of death" which underlies them. From this point of view, the use of vaccines whose production is connected with procured abortion constitutes at least a mediate remote passive material cooperation to the abortion, and an immediate passive material cooperation with regard to their marketing. Furthermore, on a cultural level, the use of such vaccines contributes in the creation of a generalized social consensus to the operation of the pharmaceutical industries which produce them in an immoral way." (page 7)

What the NCBC said:

The Pontifical Academy for Life has concluded that parents and physicians may make use of such vaccines without any immoral cooperation in abortion.

What the Vatican said:

"[D]octors or parents who resort to the use of these vaccines for their children, in spite of knowing their origin (voluntary abortion), carry out a form of very remote mediate material cooperation, and thus very mild, in the performance of the original act of abortion, and a mediate material cooperation, with regard to the marketing of cells coming from abortions, and immediate, with regard to the marketing of vaccines produced with such cells." (pg 6)
"[B]ut even passive material cooperation should generally be avoided, (pg 5)

What the NCBC said:

The document states that parents have a duty to seek an alternative product when it is available, however, the extent of this duty is not articulated.

What the Vatican said:

"Therefore, doctors and fathers of families have a duty to take recourse to alternative vaccines (if they exist), putting pressure on the political authorities and health systems so that other vaccines without moral problems become available. They should take recourse, if necessary, to the use of conscientious objection 14 with regard to the use of vaccines produced by means of cell lines of aborted human foetal origin. Equally, they should oppose by all means (in writing, through the various associations, mass media, etc.) the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting rigorous legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers". (pg 6-7)

What the NCBC said:

The Pontifical Academy for Life rejects the claim that Catholics have a moral duty to refuse the rubella vaccine on the grounds of conscience and Catholic teaching. It encourages Catholic parents to vaccinate their children against rubella and other serious diseases despite the unfortunate origin of the cell lines used in the manufacture of the vaccines.

What the Vatican said:

"It is up to the faithful and citizens of upright conscience (fathers of families, doctors, etc.) to oppose, even by making an objection of conscience, the ever more widespread attacks against life and the "culture of death" which underlies them." (pg 6)
"[T]here is a grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines and to make a conscientious objection with regard to those which have moral problems" (pg 7)
"As regards the diseases against which there are no alternative vaccines which are available and ethically acceptable, it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health. However, if the latter are exposed to considerable dangers to their health, vaccines with moral problems pertaining to them may also be used on a temporary basis. The moral reason is that the duty to avoid passive material cooperation is not obligatory if there is grave inconvenience." (page 7)

Note: The Vatican document was prepared for the entire world, not just for the US. But here in America, there is no "significant risk", "considerable danger" or "grave inconvenience". This is especially true since the CDC announced in March 2005 that rubella had been eliminated in the US with less than 10 cases per year for the past 3 years and only one case of congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) which is the very heart of the Vatican reasoning for vaccinating in the first place: to protect pregnant women. Also, it should be noted that the term "temporary basis" does not mean we continue to use these vaccines year after year for 30 years without doing anything about it!

What the NCBC said:

In footnote #15, the summary holds parents who refuse the use of the rubella vaccine responsible for harm that might come to others because their children were not immunized.

Note: This statement has been put to the Vatican for clarification since the parents of other non-immunized children are in fact equally responsible. If a parent refuses to vaccinate her child for whatever reason, the parents of other unvaccinated children who may be abstaining for religious reasons, hold no specific responsibility to another non-immunized child. The same holds true for pregnant women who have the right to use or refuse aborted fetal cell line vaccines just as parents do. She accepts that responsibility herself if her unborn child contracts CRS, since she will be tested for immunity at her first prenatal checkup and can then either accept or refuse the vaccine. As a further note, in a study published in June 2001 by the Centers for Disease Control of over 300 women in the past decade who have received the rubella vaccine during pregnancy, none of their children contracted CRS from the vaccine. The point is being made that the responsibility should lie directly with the parent or pregnant woman herself who has made the decision not to vaccinate - not with other parents or their children who have made that same decision. And lastly, do we not all share in some responsibility for not having done something over the past 30 years to correct this injustice so that all women and children could be rightfully protected without moral compromise? The more we try to deny any moral culpability, the greater our own complicity becomes.


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