Babies were aborted alive, placed in fridge to harvest cell lines used in some vaccines: researcher
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February 19, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Cell lines derived from aborted babies used in the production or testing of various vaccines, including a number of COVID vaccines, most likely came from babies who were aborted alive, and according to the general practice as outlined in medical literature, may have been placed in a fridge while still living where they awaited dismemberment before having their organs harvested, a researcher has found.
Biologist Pamela Acker, who has a master’s degree in Biology from the Catholic University of America and who recently authored a book titled Vaccination: A Catholic Perspective, related what the literature says about how babies were aborted to obtain cell lines used in a number of vaccines.
“A number of these abortions that were done in that way were termed ‘abdominal hysterectomies’ in the medical literature. So in some cases, the women were actually being sterilized in the process as well,” she said.
“They had to maintain a sterile environment because you don't want any contamination of the tissue with any kind of foreign agents, any bacteria, or viruses, or anything like that. The babies were — and, in some cases, the uterus as well — removed from the woman and, without even puncturing the amniotic sac, placed directly into the refrigerator where it was kept for no more than 24 hours.”
“So these babies were literally placed into the fridge alive and then stored between one and 24 hours until they could be dismembered, basically. And this is right there in the scientific literature,” she said.
Acker made these comments during her Feb. 19 presentation at an online conference hosted by LifeSiteNews titled “Unmasking COVID-19: Vaccines, Mandates, and Global Health.”
Acker spent about nine months in a lab a decade ago working on a project to develop an HIV vaccine with a grant provided by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It was when her team decided to use HEK-293 cells for the project that she began to question her involvement.
“At this point, most people have heard of these (cell lines) because they are connected with the COVID vaccines, but at that time I hadn't. So I asked (my colleague) what ‘HEK’ stands for, and she told me, ‘Human Embryonic Kidney,”’ Acker said in an interview last month with LifeSite Editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen.
Acker said that it was after reading Dr. Alvin Wong’s paper titled “The Ethics of HEK 293” that appeared in the 2006 autumn issue of The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly that she was able to arrive at some moral clarity on the issue.
Wong, an oncologist and senior consultant at Singapore’s National University Cancer Institute who has an interest in bioethics, wrote in his paper that due to evidence that the cells were “obtained from the embryo of a willfully induced abortion,” there is “a moral duty on the part of any researcher to discontinue using this cell line.”
“That moral duty should be particularly clear to Catholic researchers and institutions. Even if it may be extremely difficult to stop or modify the experiments in progress, an immediate cessation of the use of the cell line is the correct and just action to take,” Wong added.
Acker said that when she “expressed my concerns to my primary investigator, it ended up being the end of my career in his lab.”
The baby girl behind HEK-293
Acker explained to Westen during her January 12 interview the meaning behind the letters and numbers HEK 293, the cell line developed by Dr. Frank Graham in the Netherlands in 1973.
“HEK stands for Human Embryonic Kidney. But 293 stands for the 293rd experiment that this particular researcher did to develop the cell lines.”
Acker said at the time to Westen that there were likely more abortions behind the final development of the cell line since “for 293 experiments you need far more than one abortion.”
“We're talking probably 100s of abortions,” she said at that time.
Graham, however, recently told Ian Jackson, who was conducting research in the HEK-293 cell line, that only one fetus was involved.
"On my arrival at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands I kept lab books in which I numbered my experiments in the order in which I carried them out starting in 1970. None of these experiments used human embryo kidney cells (HEK) until very late in my studies in Leiden (1973) when I carried out 2 (two!) experiments that utilized kidney cells from 1 (one!) human fetus."
“Since abortion was illegal in the Netherlands at that time except to save the life of the mother I have always assumed that that fetus resulted from a therapeutic abortion. However, the kidney cells I used had been prepared and frozen away before I even arrived in Leiden. Consequently, I do not have first hand knowledge of the circumstances relating to that single abortion. The second of the two experiments I carried out with these HEK cells was experiment 293 and resulted in the cell line of the same name. The bottom line is that the 293 cell line resulted from cells obtained from a single fetus,” Graham told Jackson, who forwarded the doctor’s statement to LifeSite.
Acker told LifeSite for this report that Graham's statement is “misleading at best.”
“Dr. Plotkin tried to say something similar, that the cell lines involved in the creation of vaccines only came from two abortions. But that ignores the other 74 babies that were a part of the research he was doing. It's published in the literature that other HEK and HER (human embryonic retina) cell lines are attributed to Frank Graham. So his research definitely involved more than one abortion.”
“When a cell line is developed, it is usually produced using a sample of tissue from a single individual unless it's a hybrid cell line. So on the one hand, it is technically correct to say that the cell line was developed using one aborted baby. However, this is not an accurate representation of how many lives were actually sacrificed in the whole process of developing an aborted fetal cell line," she continued.
“If Graham wasn't just working on fetal cell lines during his time at the University of Leiden, it may not have been hundreds of abortions," she added, "but we would need to see his notebooks to know.”
Acker pointed out that there is every indication that the cells were derived from an “electively aborted” baby.
“In particular, the fact that the cells were stored in the freezer lends further credence to the conclusion that HEK-293 was derived from an electively aborted fetus,” she said.
“The success and longevity of HEK-293 suggests that the specimen was remarkably well-suited for culturing, and anyone who has studied cell theory should know that you cannot derive a living cell culture from tissue that is already dead. Because of the biological impossibility of creating a live cell line from dead tissue, and the practical and biological implausibility of obtaining live tissue from a spontaneously miscarried fetus, it is far more likely that the baby from whom HEK-293 was derived was electively aborted and alive at the time of tissue extraction,” she added.
Acker quoted Dr. C. Ward Kischer, an embryologist and emeritus professor of anatomy from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, who stated the following regarding the cells obtained for aborted fetal cell lines: “In order to sustain 95% of the cells, the live tissue would need to be preserved within 5 minutes of the abortion [...] within an hour the cells would continue to deteriorate, rendering the specimen useless.”
Acker said that if the baby used in the production of HEK-293 “had already been dead (through a natural miscarriage), the tissue would certainly have been of no use to Mr. Graham in making a cell line after it had been stored in a freezer.”
She speculated that the tissue from the baby used for the production of HEK-293 was likely procured by the surgical method of whole-fetus extraction, often referred to as a C-section abortion, which can include the removal of the uterus along with the living baby still inside.
Acker quoted a 1952 study from Dr. Thomas Weller and Dr. John Enders (among others), who were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954 for their polio research involving growing cultures in various types of tissue, where they explained how “human embryonic tissues” were obtained for their experiments.
“This material was employed in most of the experiments. It was obtained under sterile precautions at the time of abdominal hysterotomy for therapeutic indications. Embryos of between 12 and 18 weeks’ gestation have been utilized. Rarely tissues were obtained from stillborn fetuses, or from premature infants at autopsy … In the experiments on prolonged propagation of virus, three sorts of embryonic materials were used: elements of skin, connective tissue, and muscle; intestinal tissue; brain tissue,” the researchers stated.
“Embryonic tissues were prepared in the following manner. Whenever possible the embryo was removed from the amniotic sac under sterile precautions, transferred to a sterile towel and kept at 5 C until dissected,” (bold added) they added.
Acker then quoted from Dr. Gonzalo Herranz, Professor of Histology and General Embryology at the University of Navarra, Spain, who described how abortions must be done to obtain uncontaminated fetal material in Italian scientist Pietro Croce’s book Vivisection or Science? first published in English in 1991.
“To obtain embryo cells, embryos from spontaneous abortions cannot be used, nor can those obtained by means of abortions performed via the vagina: in both cases, the embryo will be contaminated by micro-organisms,” wrote Herranz.
“The correct way consists in having recourse to Caesarian section or to the removal of the uterus. Only in this way can bacteriological sterility be guaranteed. In either case, then, to obtain embryo cells for culture, a programmed abortion must be adopted, choosing the age of the embryo and dissecting it while still alive to remove tissues to be placed in culture media,” (bold added) he added.
Commented Acker: “Because of the necessity of maintaining a sterile culture of tissue for developing a cell line, it seems reasonable to conclude that there would — at minimum — had to have been some pre-arrangement to obtain sterile, unmacerated tissue from the fetus used for HEK-293. The easiest and surest way to do this is by the surgical method of whole-fetus extraction.”
Acker’s findings relate to the findings of U.S. pro-life investigator David Daleiden, who performed an undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the illegal harvesting and trafficking of aborted baby body parts. Daleiden, who began to release videos of his sting operation in 2015, uncovered that biotech companies in the United States harvested numerous organs, including “live beating” hearts from aborted babies for research (see here, here, and here).
Multiple abortions behind various aborted fetal cell lines
Acker told LifeSite for this report that the formation of other cell lines derived from aborted babies and used for research purposes and in the development of numerous vaccines involved hundreds of abortions.
“Many aborted fetal cell lines and all the aborted fetal cell lines used in currently licensed vaccines are the culmination of a series of experiments that include multiple abortions,” she said. Acker listed the following examples:
- The WI-38 cell line (used in MMR and shingles vaccines) came from the 32nd aborted baby that was used in a series of experiments. Other cell lines that came out of the Wistar Institute include WI-26 (from the 20th aborted baby) and WI-44 cell (from the 38th aborted baby).
- The MRC-5 line (used in hepatitis A, measles, and shingles vaccines) required five abortions to develop.
- WALVAX2, the most recent aborted fetal cell line, came from the ninth aborted baby in a series.
- RA273, which is the virus used in the rubella vaccine, originated in the 27th baby that was aborted in search of the virus. Mothers who were infected with the rubella virus during pregnancy were actively encouraged to abort their children. Forty more elective abortions for rubella virus were performed after this, though RA273 was the strain that ended up in the final vaccine preparation.
Acker said that the use of aborted fetal cell lines in medical research, at any level, “fuels a growing acceptance of using aborted babies in other types of medical research.”
“This problem is irrespective of the original number of abortions performed to obtain a cell line, and will only be exacerbated by the acceptance of HEK-293-derived COVID vaccines,” she added.
‘New pro-life movement’
Kazakhstan Bishop Athanasius Schneider, during his presentation at today’s vaccine conference, called for the 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.
Schneider said that until now, the pro-life movement has been “very meritorious” in raising a united voice against abortion. “But I think there now comes a new time, a new phase, a new period of all pro-life movements to protest, clearly and unambiguously, against abortion-tainted medicines, against the abuse of the body parts of the unborn.”
While the Catholic Church’s 2020 guidelines permit Catholics to receive abortion-tainted vaccines, the Bishop said 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 utilized 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. “This voice is crying all over the world, and we have to awaken.”
“No one who is really deeply concerned about the defense of life and the moral law can be silent or can be quiet and can resign to this situation,” he added.
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