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    Beyond Prolife: Vaccines Part II

    May 18, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    It has come to my attention that when I casually mention that vaccines are made from aborted fetal tissue, the people around me may look at me like I am crazy. Once, I was actually accused of reading a “fictional anti-vaccination website.” Now, there are some crazy websites out there, but I want my readers to know there are also some pretty reliable online sources, and I’ve done some of the research here. And it’s free!

    Of course, you get bonus points if you shop Amazon using the sidebar. {End shameless sales pitch.}

    I am not a Catholic, but usually if I throw out that I got a lot of my information from an endorsed-by-the-Vatican source {The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly}, it helps. The Vatican has the funding to do some real research. For now, they have more money than Big Pharma, and a lot of this is about money. Remind me to tell you about the time my sister overheard her doctor telling a nurse how upset he was that his flu shots didn’t come in because he usually makes $10,000 at least and was planning to take his wife on a cruise!

    In order to more thoroughly explain the situation, I will use the rubella vaccine as my example.

    The component vaccine for rubella is called the Meruvax II. It contains an attenuated strain of live rubella virus. The interesting thing about the rubella vaccine is that the virus is not only grown on cell lines {called human diploid cell strains, or ADCS’s} obtained from an aborted fetus, but also the virus itself was obtained from a fetus that was aborted after the mother suffered rubella in her first trimester during the 1964 rubella outbreak. The virus being grown is referred to as the RA 27/3 virus, which means rubella abortus, twenty-seventh fetus, third tissue extract. The developer of the vaccine, one Dr. Stanley Plotkin, wrote in his paper “Studies of Immunization with Living Rubella Virus” {all emphasis mine},

    This fetus was from a twenty-five-year-old mother exposed to rubella eight weeks after her last menstrual period…. The fetus was surgically aborted seventeen days after maternal illness and dissected immediately… It was then grown on WI-38. {pp 381-382}

    The propagation medium for the rubella vaccine referred to above is known as the “WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblasts” in pharmaceutical and medical circles. Most parents don’t know what this language even means. I know I didn’t until quite recently. In the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly from Autumn 2006, one can learn this:

    The Wistar Institute is a scientific institute located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, specializing in the fields of immunology and cell biology. Working for the Institute in 1961, Dr. Leonard Hayflick first published a paper describing twenty-five HDCS: WI-1 through WI-25 {Wistar Institute fetal samples nos. 1–25}. These cell strains were derived from the lung, skin, muscle, kidney, heart, thyroid, thymus and liver of nineteen separate, electively-aborted fetuses. The purpose of choosing different organs was to test difference in tissue characteristics. His research included also testing these cell strains’ susceptibility for different viruses.

    And one can also learn this:

    Even though there are many cell strains in use in research, the most well known are WI-38 and MRC-5. These two cell strains come from two deliberately aborted fetuses. But as the evidence shows, there were more abortions involved to achieve the technical expertise needed for development of these cell strains. In addition, other cell strains have been developed for vaccine manufacturing and other purposes.

    And finally:

    WI-38 was obtained from a three-month-old female fetus:

    This fetus was chosen by Dr. Sven Gard, specifically for this purpose. Both parents are known, and unfortunately for the story, they are married to each other, still alive and well, and living in Stockholm, presumably. The abortion was done because they felt they had too many children. There were no familial diseases in the history of either parent, and no history of cancer specifically in the families.

    In 2001, a group within the scientific community sent a letter to President Bush in favor of fetal stem cell research. Dr. Hayflick signed this letter. Here is an excerpt:

    For the past thirty-five years many of the common human virus vaccines—such as measles, rubella, hepatitis A, rabies and poliovirus—have been produced in cells derived from a human fetus to the benefit of tens of millions of Americans. Thus precedent has been established for the use of fetal tissue that would otherwise be discarded.

    As a child, I was taught that smoking was a “gateway drug” for marijuana, which was a “gateway drug” for harder drugs such as cocaine. Reading this excerpt from the above letter reveals that, within the scientific community, vaccines are the equivalent of a gateway drug for stem cell research. The letter clearly states that the widespread use of fetal-derived vaccines sets the precedent for even further utilization of aborted fetal material in medical research.

    If you know a doctor who is interested in these issues, there is an organization called Canadian Physicians for Life that can help. There is probably a similar organization here in the United States.

    This is the primary reason we have chosen not to vaccinate at this time. There are a few other reasons that I will not explore here. However, I believe that it is not enough to simply keep our children healthy. We must also guard the world that we eventually hand to them. I hope to hand my children a world where babies are valued as such, rather than as material that the already born can utilize to extend their own lives.

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  • Reply Brandy May 19, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Elizabeth, I am glad you found it helpful! 🙂

    And to everyone, if you haven’t already, please read my first entry on vaccines. Being “antivaccination” is different than refusing to use the specific vaccines that are tied to abortion. And many of the vaccines tied to abortion have alternatives available. The website Children of God for Life is handy because it has a chart that explains the source of each vaccine and the prolife alternative to that vaccine. If you visit the site, click on “Vaccine Sources” in the sidebar to find the chart.

    There are many reasons why we personally have chosen not to vaccinate. I think the moral issue of abortion should be separated from the health issues, which call for wisdom on the part of individual parents.

  • Reply Elizabeth at A Biblical Home May 19, 2007 at 12:14 am

    Thanks for this information. I had heard rumors that some vaccines come from aborted fetal tissue, but I wasn’t sure if it was true. I appreciate your research!

  • Reply Brandy May 18, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Link away, Kimbrah! 🙂 Like any cultural assumption (i.e., all chidren should be vaccinated), it sure is interesting to study up and see where the ideas originate from, etc. I must say that the propensity for vaccines to set a precedent for stem-cell research is most compelling for me, as I am more of a big picture person.

  • Reply Kimbrah May 18, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    Thanks for doing this series. I hope that you don’t mind my linking to this on my blog. You said it better than I ever could!

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