Tag: The National Catholic Bioethics Center

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

Why Is a Kentucky Teen Who Refused to Get Vaccinated Suing His School?

One extra consequence of the rise in cases of vaccine-preventable diseases we have been seeing lately, in addition to the fact that more kids are getting sick, is that we are seeing more kids being quarantined and kept out of school.

“The parents of 42 children affected by the ban at the school, the Green Meadow Waldorf School, sued the Rockland County health department, asking a federal judge to issue an injunction to allow the children to return.”

Parents Wanted Their Unvaccinated Children in School, but a Judge Said No.

And in a few cases, we are seeing lawsuits trying to get some of these kids, mostly intentionally unvaccinated kids, back into school.

Why Is a Kentucky Teen Who Refused to Get Vaccinated Suing His School?

While most outbreaks are related to measles, in Kentucky, a large outbreak of chickenpox at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy in Walton has led to the quarantine of a number of unvaccinated students.

A chickenpox quarantine sign

One student, a senior and the starting center on the school basketball team, is suing to get him back in school.

“The Kunkels filed their lawsuit Thursday in the Boone County Circuit Court alleging that the Northern Kentucky Health Department had violated Jerome’s First Amendment rights. Accepting the chickenpox vaccine would be “immoral, illegal and sinful,” they said, according to their Catholic beliefs. The lawsuit also alleges that the health department violated due process when officials enacted the extracurricular and school attendance bans without declaring an official emergency, which would have triggered the involvement of the state legislature.”

God, country and chickenpox: How an outbreak entangled one school in a vaccine showdown

So they are actually suing the health department, not his school, to get him back into school…

Wait a minute though?

Is the Catholic Church against vaccines?

“Since there is no Catholic teaching that the use of these vaccines is sinful, schools cannot allow Catholic parents to claim a religious exemption from the requirement of immunization.”

National Catholic Bioethics Center on Vaccines and Exemptions Granted by Schools

Are they against the chickenpox vaccine?

“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

No, they aren’t, which is why most Catholics vaccinate and protect their kids.

“In the event that the county health department or state health department declares an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease for which proof of immunity for a child cannot be provided, he or she may not be allowed to attend childcare or school for up to three (3) weeks, or until the risk period ends.”

Kentucky Parent or Guardian Declination on Religious Grounds to Required Immunizaitons

A judge will have to decide the merits of the case, but from a moral standpoint, it seems like they are on shaky ground.

More on Quarantines for Intentionally Unvaccinated Kids

Which Vaccines Contain Aborted Baby Parts?

If you are already on the fence about vaccines, there are probably some you want to avoid…

For many parents, that likely means skipping all of the vaccines with aborted baby parts and fetal tissue.

Which Vaccines Contain Aborted Baby Parts?

Do vaccines really contain aborted baby parts and fetal tissue?

“Have you read the CDC’s vaccine ingredient list? Why would they list aborted baby parts as ingredients if they weren’t actually in vaccines? Just because there’s only a little baking soda in a cake doesn’t mean it’s not in there. In fact, a little baking soda can have quite the effect on a cake and the person eating it. If it’s on the label, it’s in the vaccine.”

Megan Heimer on What You Didn’t Know About the Aborted Baby Parts in Your Vaccines

Are you surprised that the CDC’s vaccine ingredient list doesn’t list aborted baby parts as ingredients of any vaccines?

It does list:

  • WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblast cells
  • MRC-5 human diploid cells

But cells are not tissues or body parts…

Cells make up tissues and tissues make up body parts, but that doesn’t sound as scary, does it?

“Given that many vaccines use aborted fetal cell tissue (where a viable fetus was medically and voluntarily aborted, not miscarried), there is clearly a valid, religious argument for not submitting to these shots.”

Sarah Pope on How to Resist Pediatrician Pro Vaccination Tactics

Immortalized cell lines, like the WI-38 and MRC-5 cell lines, even lose their tissue characteristics.

This type of anti-vaccine propaganda is likely why so many anti-vaccine folks still think that aborted baby parts and fetal tissue are ingredients in vaccines.

The Pontifical Academy for Life reaffirmed the "lawfulness" of using vaccines to protect children and those around them.
The Pontifical Academy for Life reaffirmed the “lawfulness” of using vaccines to protect children and those around them.

They aren’t. Not in any vaccine.

Some vaccines are made with fetal embryo fibroblast cells (the WI-38 and MRC-5 cells) from cell lines that are derived (they can replicate infinitely) from two electively terminated pregnancies (abortions) in the 1960s. That certainly does not mean that any vaccines contain aborted fetal tissue or baby parts though.

Those original cells aren’t even involved in making these vaccines any more.

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.”

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

That’s why the National Catholic Bioethics Center states that that:

“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.”

And why it is said that Catholics are “morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion” and that “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.”

What To Know About Vaccines, Abortion & Fetal Tissue

Vaccines are safe and necessary and do not contain aborted fetal tissue or body parts, although some do have a distant association with abortion.

More on Vaccines, Abortion & Fetal Tissue