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December 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishops across North America are increasingly indicating that they see no problem with Catholics receiving coronavirus vaccines that used cell lines of aborted babies at some point in the development.

The bishops of California, including the current head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), unequivocally affirmed on Thursday “that the imminent Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are morally acceptable.”

In Texas, Bishop Michael F. Olson of Fort Worth wrote on Wednesday, “Some have asserted on social media that if a vaccine is connected in any way with tainted cell lines then it is immoral to be vaccinated with them. This is an inaccurate and rigorist portrayal of authentic Catholic moral teaching.”

“I wish to assure Catholics and men and women of good will that it is morally permissible to receive the vaccines for COVID-19 that are to arrive in Texas beginning December 14, 2020,” he added.

Similarly, the bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories in Canada argued, “With respect to someone simply receiving the vaccine, the degree of connection with the original evil act is so remote that, when there also exists a proportionately grave reason for vaccination, such as the current, urgent need to halt the COVID-19 pandemic, then the Church assures us that it is morally permissible for Catholics to receive it for the good of personal and public health.”

According to Children of God for Life, a pro-life organization focusing on the relationship between abortions and the development of vaccines, both the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines are ethically problematic.

Moderna, the organization reported, extensively used “fetal cell line HEK-293 … in numerous patents in the fundamental design of mRNA technology, their Spike protein and in the research, development, production and testing.”

Pfizer, in turn, used the same fetal cell line HEK-293, which goes back to an abortion performed in the early 1970s, for testing the vaccine.

The California bishops not only said it was “morally acceptable” to use those two vaccines. They also committed “to promoting and encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations in the communities we serve.”

“The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines promote health in face of a devastating pandemic that no one expected,” the bishops claimed. “We want to reemphasize that the origins of the vaccines are morally acceptable from a Catholic perspective and their advancement fosters the common good.”

The bishops referred to a November 20 USCCB memorandum, stating, “Some are asserting that if a vaccine is connected in any way with tainted cell lines then it is immoral to be vaccinated with them.  This is an inaccurate portrayal of Catholic moral teaching.”

This memorandum, in turn, referred to several Vatican documents, which “all point to the immorality of using tissue taken from an aborted child for creating cell lines. They also make distinctions in terms of the moral responsibility of the various actors involved, from those involved in designing and producing a vaccine to those receiving the vaccine.”

“Most importantly, they all make it clear that, at the level of the recipient, it is morally permissible to accept vaccination when there are no alternatives and there is a serious risk to health.”

The memorandum failed to mention that numerous doctors have praised hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as an effective therapeutic for people who contracted COVID-19.

Additionally, the characterization of COVID-19 as “a serious risk to health,” which merely echoes the predominant media narrative, has been called into question by many observers.

According to The New York Times, more than 14.4 million positive tests have been reported in this country since the beginning of the year. Just under 280,000 people have died — just under 2 percent of cases. In relation to 328 million people living in this country, less than 0.09 percent have died with a positive COVID-19 test.

Still, the bishops seem to characterize this as a grave enough reason to use abortion-tainted vaccines.

Bishop Olson even said that the AstraZeneca vaccine “is also acceptable to receive … for the sake of our own health and the health of others if it is the only vaccine available to us in this area,” while admitting that “this particular vaccine is morally concerning because of its origins.”

On Thursday, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales also affirmed, based on documents by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Academy of Life, that “one may in good conscience and for a grave reason receive a vaccine sourced in this [abortion-tainted] way, provided that there is a sufficient moral distance between the present administration of the vaccine and the original wrongful action. In the COVID-19 pandemic, we judge that this grave reason exists and that one does not sin by receiving the vaccine.”

A small number of bishops have spoken out against the use of any vaccines connected to abortion.

Most prominently in the United States, Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas, pointed out that the Moderna vaccine “is not morally produced. Unborn children died in abortions and then their bodies were used as ‘laboratory specimens.’”

“I urge all who believe in the sanctity of life to reject a vaccine which has been produced immorally,” tweeted Strickland, who has spoken out against abortion-tainted vaccines on numerous occasions.

The United Kingdom announced its approval of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine this week. Its government-produced safety instructions indicate that the vaccine should not be used by pregnant or breast-feeding mothers, that it is unknown what effect the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine will have on fertility, and “women of childbearing age should be advised to avoid pregnancy for at least 2 months after their second dose.”

LifeSiteNews has yet to find any statements from Catholic bishops on whether they think women should delay pregnancy in order to receive the vaccine, particularly in light of the fact that the California bishops say they are committed “to promoting and encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations in the communities we serve.”