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How Does the Catholic Church Regard the Use of Aborted Fetal Cells Used in Biotechnology?

Human cells like the HEK293, WI-38 and MRC-5 have been routinely used in the biopharmaceutical industry for decades to produce gene therapies, vaccines and biological drugs. Since these cells are ethically controversial, this raises the question how the Catholic Church views the use of these morally-illicit cells. In 2005, the Pontifical Council of Life at the Vatican concluded the following:

1). Given the risks of untreated disease, it is morally acceptable for patients to use such tainted treatments if there is no ethical alternative.

Yet, there were 2 other conclusions that the Vatican made which receives less attention:

A). "Doctors and patients should take recourse, if necessary, to the use of conscientious objection” in refusing to use the abortion-derived vaccine."
B). Catholics have "a moral duty to continue to fight and to employ every lawful means in order to make life difficult for the pharmaceutical industries, which act unscrupulously and unethically."

To that end, the following Catholic entities that will be impacted by morally illicit biotechnology are urged to step up and confront this issue:

1. Pro-life patients.
2. Pro-life healthcare providers.
3. The Catholic Church.
4. Catholic hospitals.

For more complete details on this issue, the Institute published a full report that can be downloaded below.

To date, there has been insufficient priority by the stakeholders to confront this issue.

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