de Nicola Center director O. Carter Snead joined leading pro-life Catholic scholars on a statement regarding the moral acceptability of receiving the currently-available COVID-19 vaccines. The statement reads, in part, "Foremost among the questions for those of us who are committed to defending the intrinsic equal dignity of all human beings from conception to natural death are these: in accepting any of the vaccines on offer, is one in any way endorsing or contributing to the practice of abortion, or is one in any way showing disrespect for the remains of an unborn human being? As to the vaccines currently or soon available in the United States, we agree with Bishop Kevin Rhoades, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine, that the answer is no. While there is a technical causal linkage between each of the current vaccines and prior abortions of human persons, we are all agreed, that connection does not mean that vaccine use contributes to the evil of abortion or shows disrespect for the remains of unborn human beings. Accordingly, Catholics, and indeed, all persons of good will who embrace a culture of life for the whole human family, born and unborn, can use these vaccines without fear of moral culpability."
Catholics, and indeed, all persons of good will who embrace a culture of life for the whole human family, born and unborn, can use these vaccines without fear of moral culpability.
The authors explain the use of abortion-derived human stem cell lines used in the development and testing of vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca. "As a descriptive matter, some pro-life advocates may prefer to use one vaccine rather than another in order to witness against the evil of abortion, or to signal special respect for the unborn babies whose lives were lost. Again, we agree with Bishop Rhoades that such a choice is a matter for their conscience. But we think it a mistake to say both that these vaccines are morally permissible to use and yet that some ought to be preferred to others. There appears to us to be no real distinction between the vaccines in terms of their connection to an abortion many decades ago, and thus the moral starting point is one of equivalence."
The statement concludes, "Persons with access to these vaccines have strong moral reasons to take them: in doing so, they build up the herd immunity that will provide the greatest possible protection for the most vulnerable among us, including the elderly, those with pre-existing conditions, some minority populations, and the many other seemingly random victims of severe COVD-19. To be perfectly clear, we are not saying that people are justified in using and promoting these vaccines because the great goods they provide offset the evil of appropriating a prior wicked action. Rather, we believe that there is no such impermissible cooperation or appropriation here. The attenuated and remote connection to abortions performed decades ago and the absence of any incentive for future abortions offer little if any moral reasons against accepting this welcome advance of science."