Vatican urges caution on refusing 'unethical vaccines'

The Vatican has advised parents to exercise caution when deciding not to inoculate their children against infectious diseases because the vaccine was derived from aborted foetuses.

Catholic News Service reports that the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life reaffirmed a person's right to abstain from receiving such vaccines. However it stressed that such a choice must be made after carefully considering whether refusing the vaccination would pose serious health risks to the child and the larger public.

"We are responsible for all people, not just ourselves," said Monsignor Jacques Suaudeau, a medical doctor and official at the Pontifical Academy for Life.

"If it is a question of protecting the whole population and avoiding death and malformation in others, that is more important" than abstaining from vaccines developed from abortions that might have occurred decades ago, he said.

The academy's paper, "Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared From Cells Derived From Aborted Human foetuses," was based on a study of the issue resulting from a request by a Florida-based pro-life group, Children of God for Life. In June 2003 the group asked the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for a formal statement on the church's position concerning the morality of using vaccines associated with human tissue coming from abortions.

The doctrinal congregation approved of the academy's findings, which were published in Italian in the May/June edition of Medicina e Morale (Medicine and Morals), a journal put out by the bioethics institute at Rome's Sacred Heart University.

The Pontifical Academy for Life also sent an English synthesis of the same paper to Children of God for Life; the group released the synthesis to the public earlier this month.

Vatican says refusing vaccines must be weighed against health threats (Catholic News Service 22/7/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Children of God for Life
Pontifical Academy for Life - Letter to Executive Director, Children of God for Life (9/6/05)
Pontifical Academy for Life
The Campaign For Ethical vaccines - Alternatives to vaccines made from aborted babies
Letter urging President Bush to discotinue Government use of unethical vaccines (Human Life International 10/3/03)

Vatican Officials Condemn Aborted Fetal Vaccines (Children of God for Life 18/7/05)
Vatican Condemns Vaccines Made with Tissue Obtained by Abortion (LifeSiteNews.com 18/7/05)
Vatican condemns vaccines derived from aborted foetuses (Catholic News Agency/EWTN 19/7/05)

25 Jul 2005