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March 5, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – A coalition of four U.S.-based medical organizations representing some 20,000 healthcare professionals emphasized this week that free citizens should never be mandated to receive the coronavirus vaccine jab.

“Governing authorities must respect an individual’s right to accept or decline a vaccine,” the strongly worded joint March 2 statement reads, adding that there is “no justifiable moral obligation to accept vaccination.”

“While the pandemic remains a significant public health crisis, the individual rights of American citizens also remains of paramount importance,” the statement reads. “The guarantee of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ includes the right to make individual health care decisions while taking into account our responsibility for the common good.”

The statement’s backers, which are pro-vaccine, include the American College of Pediatricians, Catholic Medical Association, Christian Medical and Dental Association, and the National Association of Catholic Nurses–USA.

The coalition points out that some people may have objections to receiving the vaccine based on moral or health-related grounds.

“If a vaccine has been developed, tested, or produced with technology that an individual deems morally unacceptable, such as the use of abortion-derived fetal cell lines, vaccine refusal is morally acceptable,” the statement reads. “An individual’s decision to be vaccinated will also depend upon their personal assessment of the medical risks, a choice that should be respected.”

The coalition states that the protection of First Amendment rights is “imperative” when it comes to healthcare decisions.

“It is fundamental that the right of individual conscience be preserved. Coerced vaccination would irreparably harm Constitutional rights and the patient-physician relationship. Conscience is an individual belief influenced by many factors such as faith, culture, family, and reason. Each individual makes a conscientious decision in any given situation. Respect for conscience rights is always of primary importance.”

A recent Harvard CAPS-Harris poll found that 41 percent of voters are not willing to get a coronavirus vaccine due largely to concerns about negative side effects.

“Among those who said they were unwilling to get the vaccine, 66 percent said they were concerned about side effects, while another 33 percent said they did not believe it was effective,” The Hill reported this week. “Twenty-seven percent said they were not concerned about the virus, 23 percent said it should go to more at-risk individuals and 17 percent said they had health concerns.”

American voters may have valid grounds for being suspicious about the safety of the vaccines. LifeSite has reported on the thousands of injuries and deaths that have happened after people receive what doctors point out is an “experimental” medical intervention. After taking the vaccine, dozens of residents in nursing homes have suddenly died, pregnant women have miscarried, and healthy people such as young mothers and doctors have unexpectedly died.

The Catholic Church’s guidelines permit Catholics to receive abortion-tainted vaccines, emphasizing that Catholics who receive a COVID vaccine connected in some way to abortion can do so in “good conscience” with “the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion” (italics in original). Catholic leaders such as Kazakhstan Bishop Athanasius Schneider, however, have pointed out that Christians cannot simply resign themselves to the fact that the production of various medicines is tied to the slaughter of preborn babies who are used for their body parts.

“The voice of the unborn children’s blood is crying to God from the abortion-tainted vaccines, from the abortion-tainted medicines,” he said at a recent conference hosted by LifeSite on vaccines. “This voice is crying all over the world, and we have to awaken.”

Schneider called for a formation of a “new pro-life movement” that refuses to have anything to do with medicines or vaccines derived in one way or another from aborted babies.