Newly Approved Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine Used Preborn Remains, Catholics Urged to Avoid

The Archdiocese of New Orleans and other Catholic leaders are encouraging their parishioners to avoid the newly released Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine, which utilized the remains of two preborn babies aborted in the 1970s and 1980s, respectively.

As more COVID vaccines hit the market, Americans remain hopeful that the various lockdowns and mask-wearing requirements may soon be a thing of the past. However, this anxiousness to get things back to normal should not come at the cost of aborted preborn babies, whose remains were used to create some of the vaccines currently available.

In a statement released last week, the Archdiocese of New Orleans wrote, “The archdiocese must instruct Catholics that the latest vaccine from Janssen/Johnson & Johnson is morally compromised as it uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing.

This warning should not preclude the faithful from getting a vaccine, just not the one from Johnson & Johnson. He continued, “We advise that if the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is available, Catholics should choose to receive either of those vaccines rather than to receive the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of its extensive use of abortion-derived cell lines.”

The Colorado Catholic Conference released a similar statement and explanation in December 2020, writing, “In our current circumstances, when better options are not available, the use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines remains a morally valid option. On the other hand, vaccines such as AstraZeneca-Oxford use aborted fetal lines in design, development, production, and testing, and therefore are not a morally valid option because better options are available.”

The Charlotte Lozier group, a pro-life research organization associated with Susan B. Anthony List, has worked to provide pro-life Americans with critical information regarding how research institutions are developing and testing the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to its research, “abortion-derived cell lines” were used in the design and development process, production and confirmatory lab tests of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Historically, when vaccines were first being developed, scientists always utilized animals as part of the developing process. Though considered “not ideal,” many of humanity’s earliest vaccines were created by using animals.

That changed in the 1960s, when two scientists working congruently both isolated WI-38 from the remains of two different aborted babies while doing research into rubella. The vaccine developed through WI-38 is still used today, it’s called the MMR or measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, and is recommended for babies between 12-15 months and then a follow-up at 4-6 years.

Sadly, there was already a rubella vaccine available on the market that was developed by using duck embryo cells. But eventually, the MMR vaccine replaced it and the U.S. was considered rubella free by? 2015. To eradicate a disease from a country or the world is a unique accomplishment, but at what cost? It could easily be argued that the moral and ethical cost of abortion was too high.

Getting a vaccine is often considered a deeply personal decision—but the advantage with the COVID-19 vaccines is that there are multiple options for families who don’t have to compromise their pro-life beliefs to protect themselves or their loved ones from the global pandemic.

Photo from Vladimka production /

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