BY Ryan McDougall | April 30 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


SPUC urges government to create COVID-19 vaccine without use of foetal cell lines

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has asked the UK Government to work on COVID-19 vaccines that are not made using cell lines from aborted foetuses.

In a letter to Jo Churchill, the parliamentary under-secretary, SPUC urged her to ensure that vaccines in development should respect those with concerns of conscience.

There is currently no vaccine for coronavirus, however countries around the world are working hard to create a cure for the pandemic.

Some research teams, such as the Imperial College, London team, are not using cells from aborted foetuses and others are using plant and animal cells.


However, researchers from Oxford University are using a cell-line derived from an unborn child aborted several years ago.

Dr Anthony McCarthy, director of research for SPUC, wrote in his letter to Mrs Churchill: “As you will know, scientists across the globe are currently seeking to develop vaccines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The laudable goal is being attempted by various means, some of which raise, however, ethical problems.”

He added: “While I appreciate that using such a cell-line is not the same as using foetal tissue itself, which involves close liaison with the abortion provider on the part of those collecting the tissue and making it available, use of foetal cell-lines created from such tissue can nonetheless pose problems of conscience for those who ay eventually be offered the vaccine.”

‘Harmful message’

Dr McCarthy stated that those who are opposed to abortion see using a cell line derived from the tissue of an aborted foetus believe it ‘risks sending out a harmful message concerning the value of early human life and the mother-child bond.’

He said that ‘even those not opposed to abortion may well have serious and substantial moral concerns over practices which seem to treat opportunistically the remains of an aborted unborn child.’

“Moreover, some women who have abortions and who regret their decision may be negatively impacted by such use of their unborn child’s tissue for cell-line creation, even if they consented at the time,” he continued.

Pro-life conscience

Dr McCarthy stressed that a ‘vaccine acceptable to all’ should be created, and asked that non-foetal developed vaccines should be ‘made generously available to all who need them’ and should be prioritised in terms of research funding.

“Society needs to respect the consciences of its members who uphold the inviolability of human life from conception and who do not wish to be involved in anything they may see as complicit with the unjust taking of such life,” the letter continued.

“It is disappointing that in the past ethically developed vaccines have not been available to those who have needed them, even when such alternative vaccines existed as in many cases they do for various conditions. Many people have serious objections to the use of vaccines developed from procedures which undermine the ethical practice of medicine.”

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