Tag: The National Catholic Bioethics Center

Who Are the Religious Leaders Who Are Against Vaccines?

Since no major religion is against vaccines, why do we still sometimes hear about religious leaders who are against vaccines?

Well, maybe not leaders…

Who Are the Religious Leaders Who Are Against Vaccines?

It is important to understand that the great majority of true religious leaders advocate for vaccines.

The Catholic Church supports and encourages families to vaccinate and protect their kids.
The Catholic Church supports and encourages families to vaccinate and protect their kids.

And the ones who don’t aren’t following traditional teachings.

Is the National Catholic Bioethics Center misinformed about actual church teachings on vaccines when they say Catholics have "no proper grounds for refusing immunization?" Is the Pontifical Academy for Life???
Is the National Catholic Bioethics Center misinformed about actual church teachings on vaccines when they say Catholics have “no proper grounds for refusing immunization?” Is the Pontifical Academy for Life???

For example, Father Michael Copenhagen, a member of the Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton, directly contradicts what the Catholic Church has said about vaccines.

“Applying a thorough moral analysis, many Catholics and conscientious people see clear immediate forced cooperation in the intrinsic evils of theft, desecration, experimentation and trafficking of human remains obtained through violence to produce the product. And this is one of a number of complex moral issues, including STD vaccines, and those which constitute extraordinary means, defined as those where there is no moral obligation to receive them.”

Father Michael Copenhagen Testimony at NJ Senate Hearing—12/12/2019

Instead, he echos anti-vaccine talking points about forced vaccination and minimizes the danger that clusters of unvaccinated students have to cause outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases.

“Consent means nothing if there is no right of refusal, and you would make the price of refusal a permanent state of segregation, isolation, and banishment when there is not even a temporary claimed (public health or infectious disease) crisis.”

Father Michael Copenhagen Testimony at NJ Senate Hearing—12/12/2019

Father Michael Copenhagen is speaking for himself and not for the Catholic Church.

“These are not only principles of faith, or even ethics, these are principles of sanity. If you pass this measure, you bear for all time the full weight and moral responsibility for outlawing the full public practice of the Catholic Faith, for coercion which fundamentally subverts the moral law and rights of citizens, and undermines the very nature of your own elected office, which is to preserve the good, not to dissolve it.”

Father Michael Copenhagen Testimony at NJ Senate Hearing—12/12/2019

Speaking of ethics and morals…

“One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.”

National Catholic Bioethics Center FAQ on the Use of Vaccines

Unfortunately, Father Copenhagan isn’t the only one out there distorting religious ideas about vaccines.

Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky has called vaccines a hoax.
Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky has called vaccines a hoax.

For example, while some Orthodox Jewish communities were recently trying to control their large measles outbreaks, there were a few rabbis, including Rabbi Hillel Handler and Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, who were actively advocating against vaccines!

“This is all being orchestrated by the drug companies, which are very close to the CDC,” Handler told the crowd in a gender-segregated room at a catering hall in the Midwood neighborhood. “The doctors all march in lockstep with the CDC. The doctors don’t think they’re marching in lockstep. They don’t understand that the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, is a totally corrupt swamp. … They are criminals.”

Gospels and child sacrifice: Inside a NYC ultra-Orthodox anti-vaccination rally

These outbreaks were the largest and the longest in the United States in at least 28 years.

And the overwhelming response from religious leaders were that those who were not vaccinating and protecting their kids were “Senseless! Heartless! Torah-less! and Reckless!”

“We are obliged by the Torah “Venishmartem Meod L’nafshoseichem,” – “to guard our health” and if the recognized experts are telling us to vaccinate, then we must do it.”

Der Yid Newspaper – Senseless! Heartless! Torah-less and Reckless

Hopefully everyone is getting that message and they aren’t listening to the very small minority of religious leaders who are against vaccines, even if they are quite vocal.

Gloria Copeland told her followers that they didn’t need flu vaccinations because Jesus already “redeemed us from the curse of the flu.”
Gloria Copeland told her followers that they didn’t need flu vaccinations because Jesus already “redeemed us from the curse of the flu.”

Because we know what happens when people do and they aren’t vaccinated and protected…

“Dr. Clymer was Director General of the Church from 1905 to his death in 1966. Following the footsteps of Dr. Wilder, in 1904, he authored his first text on this subject, Vaccination Brought Home to You. He further reiterated the Church’s tenet that immunizations are a form of spiritual blood pollution in The Book of Rosicrucaie, Volume II (1947) and the now out of print book, Age of Treason (1957).”

The Church of Illumination Tenet on Vaccination and Immunization

Are these really the religious leaders you want to listen to?

More on Vaccines and Religion

Is MRC-5 the Name of an Electively Aborted Baby Boy?

Why do anti-vax folks think that MRC-5 is the name of an electively aborted baby boy who is an ingredient in vaccines?

MRC-5 is the name of a cell line that is used to make some vaccines.
Since many think that we have a “moral obligation to protect the life and health” of our children and those around us, what does that make those folks who use propaganda to scare parents away from getting their kids vaccinated and protected.

Of course…

Is MRC-5 the Name of an Electively Aborted Baby Boy?

So what’s the real story?

MRC-5 is a line of human diploid cells that are used to make some vaccines.

“The second human cell line is MRC-5 (Medical Research Council 5) (human, lung, embryonic) (ATCC number CCL-171), with human lung fibroblasts coming from a 14 week male foetus aborted for “psychiatric reasons” from a 27 year old woman in the UK. MRC-5 was prepared and developed by J.P. Jacobs in 1966 (J.P. Jacobs et al, 1970).”

Vatican Statement on Vaccines Derived From Aborted Human Fetuses

And despite what the sign implies, vaccines do not contain aborted fetal tissue or fetal parts.

The original MRC-5 cells aren’t even involved in making vaccines anymore. The cells used today have been copied, over and over again.

They are descendant cells, which is why a common way to explain all of this is to say that vaccines are said to have a “distant association with abortion.”

“It should be obvious that vaccine use in these cases does not contribute directly to the practice of abortion since the reasons for having an abortion are not related to vaccine preparation.”

The Question of Parental Rights and Mandated Vaccinations

And even then, the cells are removed before the final vaccine is produced.

“Many Catholic experts concur that cooperation today is not really possible in an event that was over and done with many years ago. Because the abortion occurred long ago, and for reasons completely unrelated to vaccines, it is untenable to conclude that vaccine recipients today somehow cooperate in the original abortive event.”

The Morality of Vaccinating Our Children

So what about MRC-5 cells is keeping you from vaccinating and protecting your kids?

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are obviously necessary, preventing millions of deaths each year.

Don’t let someone holding an anti-vax sign to scare you away from making the right choice to vaccinate and protect your family.

More on MRC-5

Why Are States Eliminating Religious Exemptions for Immunizations?

While all states continue to have medical exemptions to getting vaccinated, more and more are eliminating their religious exemptions.

New York is one of the states that is eliminating their religious exemptions for vaccines.
New York is one of the states that is eliminating their religious exemptions for vaccines.

Do you find that surprising?

Why Are States Eliminating Religious Exemptions for Immunizations?

If you do, it might change your mind once you realize that no major religion is actually against immunizations.

“One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.”

The National Catholic Bioethics Center FAQ on the Use of Vaccines

In fact, nearly all religions actively support getting kids vaccinated and protected. That makes sense, as vaccines are safe, with few risks, and unvaccinated kids are at increased risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease and put other kids at risk too.

So why do folks get religious exemptions?

Connecticut is another state that is considering eliminating religious exemptions for vaccines.
Connecticut is another state that is considering eliminating religious exemptions for vaccines.

More and more, we are seeing parents abuse religious exemptions, using them as a personal belief exemption because they just don’t want to vaccinate their kids.

More on Religious Exemptions for Immunizations

Who Is Arthur Caplan?

Plenty of folks claim to be experts on vaccines.

Some are experts because they study epidemiology, others because they study immunology or infectious disease.

And then there are the experts in vaccination ethics.

Who Is Arthur Caplan?

With a Ph.D. in the history of philosophy of science, Dr. Art Caplan went on to co-found The Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute.

Arthur Caplan does a good job of calling out folks who push anti-vaccine misinformation.
Arthur Caplan does a good job of calling out folks who push anti-vaccine misinformation.

He has since written dozens of books and nearly a thousand articles in peer-reviewed journals, working most recently at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, where he is the founding head of the Division of Medical Ethics.

“When politicians ignore the evidence, fail to cite appropriate medical authorities, and rely on hearsay and rumor, with the result that people — out of ignorance or error — don’t vaccinate their children, we can and should deny them elective office. When a doctor does so, we should demand that he forfeit his right to use his medical degree to misinform, confuse or lie.”

Arthur L. Caplan on Revoke the license of any doctor who opposes vaccination

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Art Caplan has a lot to say about vaccines.

“Faulty ethical thinking is to blame. We are elevating parents’ rights to make misinformed decisions over the rights of children to get important vaccines. Infants and young children are blocked from receiving their routine childhood immunizations by parents who espouse an aberrant ideology of choice or are being duped by anti-vaccine groups. In so doing, they are violating children’s rights to health, welfare and equal opportunity.”

Arthur L. Caplan and Peter J. Hotez on Anti-vaccine misinformation denies children’s rights

He also has a lot to say about measles, other vaccine-preventable diseases, and how to get control back before these outbreaks turn into true epidemics.

“What should we be doing to protect our communities, our children, and ourselves? We should halt the spread of anti-vaccine misinformation and take steps to stop nonmedical vaccine exemptions. We need to restore vaccines and vaccinations as the “new normal” in America.”

Arthur L Caplan on Let’s Treat Measles Seriously

Are you still thinking about skipping or delaying your child’s vaccines?

After reading some of Dr. Caplan’s work, you should know that it’s not safe, has no benefits, and isn’t the ethical thing to do.

More on Arthur Caplan and Vaccine Ethics