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SACRAMENTO, CA, May 12, 2015 ( – A California state Senator tried to calm the ethical concerns expressed over a bill to force vaccinations on students by declaring there are no vaccines made from aborted fetal cells before a government hearing, and also falsely claiming the Catholic Church supports his controversial proposal.

Speaking before the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee April 29 on S.B. 277, which would eliminate personal and religious objections to vaccinations, Senator Richard Pan also stated that the pope supports forcing parents to vaccinate their children.

“First of all, vaccines are not made from aborted fetal cells,” Pan said. “That, unfortunately, is a myth.” While there was once use of fetal tissue in the initial development of a couple of vaccines, he said, the continuing production of those vaccines do not involve the use of aborted fetal cells.

His claim was strongly disputed by one pro-life group that advocates for ethical vaccines.

“As a pediatrician Senator Pan should know better,” Children of God for Life’s Executive Director Debi Vinnedge told LifeSiteNews.

She said the proof is found in several documents, beginning with the package inserts from the manufacturers. “Has he ever read the package inserts?” she asked.

Vinnedge and Children of God for Life said that Pan’s claims that there are no vaccines made from aborted fetal cells and that the Roman Catholic Church supported his bill were outrageous and demanded he issue a retraction.

“He should certainly know that there are aborted fetal cell components, DNA, and proteins present in several other vaccines and medicines,” Vinnedge said, “notably Hepatitis-A, MMRII, Varicella, ProQuad, Pentacel, Zostavax and some Rabies” shots.

Democratic Senators Richard Pan and Ben Allen co-authored the controversial bill, drawing California to the forefront in the national vaccine debate, after a recent measles outbreak. California has had 136 confirmed cases of measles across 13 counties since December 2014, according to the California Medical Association.

Senator Joel Anderson questioned Pan and Allen at the April 29 Senate Judiciary hearing about the issue of aborted fetal cell use in vaccines.

“As a practicing Catholic, and other practicing Catholics, we can’t participate in that,” Senator Anderson said, asking the other senators whether there were alternatives that were not created from aborted fetal cells.

As a California Assemblyman, Pan sponsored legislation lowering standards for abortion facilities in 2013. He and Allen in tandem falsely asserted the Catholic Church supports their contentious legislation.

“I believe there was a quote from the pope,” Pan said, “who I believe is the leader of the Catholic Church, saying that he believes in forced vaccination.”

“I can certainly try to find the quote for you,” Pan continued before deferring to Allen. “I don’t have it on hand, but we’ve not received any notice or letter from the Catholic Church objecting to his bill.”

Allen then pulled out his phone and quoted from an opinion piece on vaccinations from the National Catholic Bioethics Center – which Allen wrongly called the National Catholic Bishops Council – to assert that the Church’s position on vaccines was that the potential risk to public health outweighed concerns over the vaccines' origins.

Senator Anderson pointed out to Allen and Pan that the NCBC was an advisory body and did not speak on behalf of the Papacy.

The document the NCBC wrote about had actually been sent by the Vatican to Children of God for Life in 2005 after the organization submitted questions to the Holy See on the issue of vaccinations.

The Vatican document said that doctors and families “should take recourse, if necessary, to the use of conscientious objection with regard to the use of vaccines produced by means of cell lines of aborted human fetal origin.”

Children of God for Life clarified in a May 6 letter to Anderson the Church’s position in vaccines and conscience

Vinnedge was able to excuse the senators’ lack of knowledge on Catholic principle, but not regarding medical facts.

“While one might understand how a non-Catholic could make a mistake about Church documents, there is simply no excuse for an M.D. to err on vaccine ingredients,” she said. “The people of California are looking to Senator Pan as a medical expert but unfortunately, he continues to demonstrate an enormous lack of knowledge and credibility.”

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Amendments “were quietly made to the bill last week” removing a provision requiring schools to notify parents of their immunization rates, according to a report from the Sacramento Bee. They also removed any mention of the financial costs associated with the legislation, which allowed it to skip the Senate Appropriations Committee.

This move by legislators to force vaccines on the population is part of the overall assault on religious liberty, Vinnedge told LifeSiteNews, and religious leaders need to be heard from in the battle to preserve conscience rights.

S.B. 277 could be up for a vote as early as this Thursday, after by-passing the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“We are calling on all religious leaders to voice their concerns to the members of the Assembly and Senate regarding the far reaching effects of SB277,” she said. “Religious freedom is under attack at all levels – from health care providers in the HHS mandate to our Christian and Catholic schools, which are also impacted by this proposed bill.”

“The religious right of moral conscience must be protected for all.”


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