By Kathleen Gilbert

BEND, Oregon, March 4, 2009 ( – Bishop Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Baker has warned that Catholic parents, when using vaccines cultivated from aborted fetal tissue, have a duty to voice their disagreement with a production method that exploits aborted children.

In his column in the Catholic Sentinel today, Vasa acknowledged that the Catholic Church considers use of such vaccines morally permissible.  However, he said, “We also need to be aware that products of illicit scientific research, particularly that which involves the death of innocent children, are not entirely morally neutral.”  As such, consumers have a duty to take steps to end the gravely immoral production technique. 

“Parents may use these vaccines derived from cell lines of illicit origin but they should inquire about the availability of a more ethical alternative and they must make their objections known to the physician, to the healthcare system and to the FDA,” said Vasa.

Vaccines that do not exploit aborted fetal tissue are available to Americans for most of the diseases prevented by aborted fetal cell vaccines.  When parents have no choice but to use the tainted vaccines, Vasa notes that “Dignitas Personae,” the Vatican’s recent instruction on bioethics, states that “Everyone has the duty to make known their disagreement and to ask that their healthcare system make other types of vaccines available.”

“Evil may never be done in order that good might come from it,” he continued.  “Yet, evil is done, and not just any evil but the evil of deliberate murder in abortion, with the precise intention of producing a medical good. We strongly reject the evil but, either directly or at least indirectly, we reward and even encourage the evil-doers by our wholesale acceptance of the good they have produced.”

If everyone protested the exploitation of aborted fetuses in vaccine production, Vasa said, one of two outcomes would occur: “The pharmaceutical companies would stop making the vaccine or they would begin to look seriously for alternatives that are not tied to abortion.

“Without our protest, however, these companies have no incentive to change their ways. They will continue to do evil that good may come from it; we will continue to receive the good they produce, and we will thus give moral and financial support to their heinous practices.” 

In June 2005 the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life stated that doctors and families have a “grave responsibility” to use alternatives and to put pressure on the industry to use morally acceptable methods of vaccine production. 

In May 2006, the Catholic Medical Association formally stated that “When alternative vaccines are available, they must be used in place of those produced by immoral means.”  The Christian Medical and Dental Association has also repeatedly called for an end to the use of aborted fetal cell lines.

The bishop said he was “personally troubled” by the abortion connection despite its remoteness. 

After listing the practical advantages of the strains that contained traces of the aborted child’s DNA, Vasa added: “This all sounds so cold and even gruesome to me.  It is very easy for me to see why some have protested the use of these vaccines so strenuously.”

To read Bishop Vasa’s full column for the Catholic Sentinel, go to:

See related coverage:

Vatican Condemns Vaccines Made with Tissue Obtained by Abortion

Vatican Official Clarifies Stand On Vaccines From Fetal Tissue


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