The Roman Catholic organization called J&J’s vaccine, the first one-shot preventative against the coronavirus, “morally compromised” because it was developed using cloned stem cells originally derived from two fetuses aborted in the 1970s and 1980s.
“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,” the archdiocese wrote in a statement last week.
“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 archdiocese continued.
The declaration could affect vaccine distribution in the archdiocese, the Religion News Service noted, because many churches serve as vaccination centers.
Moderna and Pfizer, the makers of two previously approved COVID-19 vaccines, reportedly used cloned stem cells for testing their vaccines.
The Washington Post noted that the Vatican has already approved use of vaccines “that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process” and called them “morally acceptable.”
Anti-abortion Catholic groups have previously taken issue with drug companies that utilize human cell lines from aborted fetuses, The Hill noted.
Johnson & Johnson has defended its use of stem cells.
“As a research tool, human pluripotent stem cells promise to expand our understanding of normal physiologic processes such as cell growth and differentiation, and to enable new insights into disease, which may lead to new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat a wide variety of disorders,” the company says on its website.
The drugmaker did not immediately answer HuffPost’s request for comment.
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