Responding to The Call: Is Anyone Listening?

Debi Vinnedge
Reproduced with Permission
Responding to The Call: Is Anyone Listening?

"Anyone who is afraid of looking into his conscience is afraid of looking at God." (In Conversation with God, Vol. 3, p.114)

For the past five years, Children of God for Life has sought the help of every theologian, ethicist or clergy who has weighed in on the issue of aborted fetal cell line vaccines. With the exception of a few good moral leaders, priests and bishops, nearly all who have responded have done so as though they were treading on thin ice, so afraid to produce a crack that might actually reveal the truth and awaken a sleeping conscience.

The fact is that casually accepting the use of aborted fetal cell lines in medical treatments has been a blatant disgrace to humanity, a despicable sullying of the value and dignity of human life and has leant credibility to the gross commercialization of aborted babies, ripped from their mothers' wombs - so that someone could turn a profit.

Somewhere along the way, we have been lulled into believing that this barbaric and utilitarian practice is somehow the right thing to do - alas, we have no choice - we must protect society from infectious disease at all costs - we must become slaves to the Culture of Death - very sad, very unfortunate, but so very necessary.

I can only respond in a word that would not be permissible in any cultured society, but suffice it to say that foul molting stain in the pastures of society reeks of the distinct odor of decaying moral values.

Using aborted babies as products to help those children fortunate enough to not have their lives snuffed out pre-birth is akin to the most vile form of cannibalism imaginable. Yet we are asked to accept it for every polite reason except one that begs the question:

What kind of a civilization have we really progressed to when we can find no better way to protect ourselves than by using the remains of murdered children?

One can try to sanitize this as much as possible, but "Out, out damn spot!" - the blood of innocents will not be washed away. The very acceptance of this sinister practice has coarsened society - even the most dignified, prolific moralists seem to have forgotten that it is not always easy or popular to do what is right.

I would be remiss to say I have not tried to tread the same precipitous walk...gingerly stepping at times, in the worry of offending someone by my zeal to expose the truth and letting those with a conscience wallow along beside me. After all, a voice crying out in the wilderness gets little attention if it can't be heard because there's no one around willing to listen anymore. And so I tread cautiously, keenly aware of the need to be "sly as serpents and gentle as doves".

Those days are over. For when the Church I so dearly love rises to defend me - willing to do battle with the politically correct or those of ennobled stature who have led others astray, suddenly I no longer feel like David facing Goliath. The Vatican has spoken and I am both deeply humbled and inexplicably fulfilled. No small observance but David won that battle with God behind him, too.

In the newly released dissertation, Moral Reflections On Vaccines Prepared From Cells Derived From Aborted Human Foetuses, the Vatican does much more than settle an old score with those who have scoffed at our efforts. With wisdom so evident in Her ability to withstand the gates of hell, She has laid out the truth in perfect tradition. Ever in accord with Church doctrine and ever merciful, the document states that:

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

The Vatican also thoughtfully explored the need to protect public health, especially pregnant women from the dangers of exposure to rubella. If a pregnant woman contracts rubella in the first trimester of pregnancy there is a 20-25% her unborn child could be born with some form of Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) which can cause birth defects. However in March of this year, the Centers for Disease Control announced that rubella had been eliminated in the US, with less than ten cases per year over the past three years and only one case of CRS.

And while there are still many foreign countries where rubella is prevalent, unlike the US, which has stringent controls on drug import and licensing, these countries are free to avail themselves to the Takahashi Rubella vaccine from Japan. This untainted vaccine has been on the market since 1986 and uses rabbit cell lines. There is simply no reason for foreign countries especially, to use those rubella vaccines that take their origin in aborted babies.

Meanwhile, efforts to gain licensing in the US have been underway for several years, but those efforts have been hindered by a perceived notion there was no reason to obtain them since the tainted vaccines did not impose any moral obligations on society. The Vatican statement effectively refuted that notion and has provided a strong admonition for authorities to act on the public's demand.

But accomplishing that directive up until now has been a proverbial "Catch-22": In order to consider producing ethical alternatives, the pharmaceutical companies need to know they will have a solid market, yet the present market seems to accept the status quo. Why is that? The answer is simple: The majority of the public has no idea this is going on. It is not as though the pharmaceutical industry is openly bragging about it and in fact, their labeling is so deceptive that one would have to be a cell biologist to recognize that DNA from aborted babies is present in the products. That does not bode well for a potential company that is considering developing moral alternatives.

To combat this, Children of God for Life introduced the Fair Labeling and Informed Consent Act (FLICA), which would force the pharmaceutical companies to disclose whenever aborted fetal or embryonic cell lines are used in any medical products. Good news for doctors, pharmacists and families who want to use existing ethical alternatives - good news for those hoping to break into the market with new products -bad news for those who refuse to amend their practice.

But getting the legislation the attention it deserves has been hampered by those who saw nothing wrong in using what was already out there. Enter the Vatican statement:

"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 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."

Make no mistake, the Vatican has clearly defined our moral obligations and every person in this country who has already risen to help in this effort should be polishing their halos about right now. Those who have willfully turned away should hang their heads in shame - for about 30 seconds - then rise up to do what is right at last.

Burden of Guilt

Over the years, much had been written about the varying levels of cooperation in the original act of evil, but none so eloquently as the Vatican thesis. Their statement went much further than past opinions, breaking down moral culpability under three categories of persons involved: those who prepare the vaccines, those who mass market them and those who use them. Yet still they went deeper, placing each of these persons at different levels of cooperation with not only the original act of abortion, but the marketing and use of the cell lines and the vaccines as well.

While I will not go into every possible aspect reiterated in that document, I will focus on the key observations they made. Parents were held only mildly and remotely cooperative with the abortions, however, the cooperation with the marketing aspect of the vaccines was a bit stronger. This type of cooperation was stated as direct (immediate) passive (unintended) material cooperation, which the Vatican stated should be avoided if possible.

Likewise, they noted the burden was even more intense on the part of authorities and health care providers who accept the use of the vaccines. While these various aspects of cooperation do not mean one has committed a mortal sin by their participation, what the Vatican makes crystal clear is the moral duty to bring about change by all those who make, market or use the tainted vaccines.

As regard to a direct participation in the evil of abortion, the Vatican was not so kind to the pharmaceutical companies, researchers and marketers of the immoral vaccines, placing the greatest burden of guilt unequivocally upon them.

Anyone - researchers or pharmaceutical companies - whose aim is to produce vaccines using aborted fetal cells participate in formal cooperation with evil and therefore, they bear the same moral complicity as the abortionists themselves.

Those who prepare, distribute and market the vaccines, without any involvement in the procurement of the fetal tissue or the abortion participate in passive material cooperation and those actions are equally illicit.

Without question, the pharmaceutical companies and researchers bear the greatest guilt and the greatest burden of reforming their actions. Their responsibility goes beyond public health to moral sensibility for they are partnering with the Culture of Death in an act no less vile than the Nazi experiments on the Jews. What gives anyone the right to slaughter another human being and then make a useful profit from the remains? Did the pharmaceutical companies hold the knife? No, but they may as well have. They certainly had full knowledge when their research was being conducted of just what it was they were using. They certainly knew in advance that the ultimate goal was to produce viable cell lines for vaccine production. They even had a hand in deciding which fetus they wanted to use - all of which is documented in their own peer review reports.

Years later they sit back and quietly rake in billions of dollars in complete denial that they have done anything wrong or need to do anything differently in the future. Why should they? The public is buying it, while ethicists have blessed it. If you were an unscrupulous profitable business would you make a change just because a several hundred thousand morally sane people have asked you - "pretty please"?

My point is that without good reason, there will be no changes to their present immoral practice and in fact, they will continue to exploit more and more butchered babies. They are already doing that, despite the public promise that they never would. The only way they will change is when Catholics worldwide unite and do exactly what the Vatican has advocated: demand and use ethical alternatives. To willfully not do so would be a grave error - and that goes for parents, clergy, lay ethicists and theologians, physicians, pharmacists, government officials, school authorities, public health officials and the pharmaceutical companies themselves.

Perhaps it is time we all carefully consider the words of our new Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, who only a few months earlier had blessed the recent Vatican release in his role as leader of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: "We must lead society back to the eternal moral values, that is to say, open ears almost gone deaf, so that once again the promptings of God might be heard in human hearts...The silencing of conscience leads to the dehumanization of the world and to moral danger, if one does not work against it." (Conscience and Truth, Presented at the 10th Workshop for Bishops February 1991 Dallas, Texas)

The Vatican has indeed spoken. The question remains, is anybody listening?
Read the Vatican Statement in its entirety