*Post updated 1.12.21. See footnote.
Sitting with two precious women many years ago in the midst of their deepest grief profoundly impacted me. One grieved over a loss she couldn’t control, and the other grieved over her loss years before due to a choice. Yet they both grieved. One struggled with infertility and when she joyfully finally conceived, her precious children were miscarried. The other found herself in an unexpected, difficult situation and made the only choice she felt she had at the time, but deeply grieved that decision later. Both lost their babies.
I was honored to be present for one of those sacred times. I saw the twins, beautifully-formed and perfect, lying together. The powerful image of life created by God, however small, yet infinitely valuable is burned in my heart and mind. Though they joined heaven long before my friend was ready to say goodbye, those moments were a profound commingling of wonder and sorrow. The weight of such an intimate moment left me speechless and yet feeling so privileged to be there. We cried together when no words could be found.
This blog is written with the desire to honor life. It’s not intended to attack, demean or hurt anyone. Instead, I write to expose hidden truths that grieve me deeply. The saying, “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes”, is one I identify with as I type. By God’s grace, I want to share what I’ve learned to help more people understand the inner workings of an industry we often implicitly trust without a second thought.
Current events have stirred up a renewed fervor, opening up conversations around issues of life. Regardless of your political perspective, it’s been difficult to ignore changes in New York’s abortion laws and proposed changes in Virginia. The debate centers around whether a woman has the right to terminate her pregnancy at any point – even up until the day of birth.
On the heels of this expanding abortion legislation, my heart is deeply grieved. Grieved for the lives that will be lost due to this new found “freedom”. Grieved over the slow and collective deception of so many in our country. The deception runs so deep that our elected leaders passed the act in NY with smiles while receiving praise by many in the media.
There are many reading this blog who deeply value life at its inception, its end, and all points in-between. Perhaps, like me, from a young age, you’ve had a tender, protective place in your heart for the unborn, the elderly, the disabled, and those broken-hearted and struggling in countless seen and unseen ways. It is for this reason my heart sank one day while reading a journal article from the 1960s. What I learned was almost impossible to believe. Since the 1960’s fetal cell lines from aborted babies have been used for the research and production of the vaccines we use today. My eyes were opened, and my heart broke. The tears flowed on reading the cold manner in which researchers reported the utilitarian use of human lives taken too early.
Today, my heart is to share with those who deeply value life what I have learned through peer-reviewed science. I was surprised to learn the researchers didn’t even try to hide it back in the 1960s. They often listed the age and gender of the child… sometimes even with information about the baby’s mother. At least one of those researchers, Dr. Stanley Plotkin, was and is a self-avowed atheist. As recently as a 2018 deposition, he acknowledged taking issue with religion and showed disgust for people of faith to the point of laughing as he said he’d gladly go to hell for the babies’ lives taken in the name of research.
As one whose worldview is informed through the lens of God’s heart and His words in the Bible, I had somehow allowed the research and recommendations of an atheist to deceive my thinking. The thoughts and reasoning of this man, who does not value life in the same way I do, deceived me into thinking that because vaccines purport to be valuable life-savers, it was OK for others’ babies to die in order for mine to supposedly be more healthy. Even now, when I put it in black and white, it’s as shocking as it was when I first realized it.
Here are just some of the facts I uncovered in reading the full history in the peer-reviewed literature:
- Vaccines were cultured exclusively on animal tissue prior to the 1960’s (animals such as the rhesus monkey).
- Culturing vaccines on animal cells was useful but had unintended consequences. A well-documented example is the discovery of vaccines contaminated with the SV40 virus from rhesus monkey cells used in its production.
- In the early 1960’s, Dr. Leonard Hayflick was the first researcher who set out to create a “fetal cell line” for use in culturing vaccines instead of using animal tissue.
- A fetal cell line is derived from live cells taken from an aborted baby. The live cells are modified so they can replicate indefinitely.
- In 1962, Dr. Hayflick developed the first fetal cell line called WI-38 (Wistar Institute, 38th fetal sample) from the lung tissue of an aborted 3 month gestation baby girl.
- The data in his 1961 and 1965 papers show at least 23 aborted babies used in the research around the creation of WI-38. The number is likely higher, given that some of the cell strains he researched were not documented in his published papers.
- Fetal cell line WI-38 is currently being used in the
- Next, in 1964 Dr. Stanley Plotkin isolated a rubella virus strain, RA 27/3 (Rubella Abortus, 27th fetus, 3rd tissue culture explant), that was later used in Merck’s rubella vaccine.
- RA 27/3 was combined with WI-38 to create the rubella vaccine we use today.
- It is well established that almost 80 aborted babies were used in the research leading to the development of RA 27/3. Dr. Plotkin’s 1969 article cites 76 of those abortions.
- Dr. Plotkin’s value of life is revealed through his actions. He tested his rubella vaccine on orphans as young as 14 months old and “seronegative mentally retarded children”. In a letter to the editor, he defended his colleagues’ unethical experimental research on those with disabilities at Willowbrook Hospital. He stated that “performing initial studies on children and adults who are human in form but not in social potential… nonfunctioning persons” is acceptable, even preferred. He went on to state, “Morality must be defined by circumstances and facts.”
- In 1966, researchers at the Medical Research Council in the UK developed the fetal cell line MRC-5, from a 3 1/2 month gestation baby boy who was aborted for psychiatric reasons from a physically healthy 27 year old mother.
- MRC-5 is used in numerous vaccines today, including:
- After their initial creation, each fetal cell line is reproduced many times over. Though they theoretically reproduce indefinitely, they have a finite lifespan of use, as they become more oncogenic (tumor causing/cancerous) with each reproduction.
- Due to the finite nature of the use of the current fetal cell lines, researchers have (since the 1960’s) continued to this day using aborted babies in their work toward creating new fetal cell lines.
- Here’s a list of just a few fetal cell lines created in the years since WI-38, RA 27/3, and MRC-5 (with links to where some of these aborted fetal cells can actually be purchased): WI-44, MRC-7, MRC-9, HEK 293, PER.C6, IMR-90, IMR-91, TIG-1, Walvax-2.
- The most recent fetal cell line, Walvax-2, was developed by Chinese researchers in 2015 using a 3 month gestation baby girl.
- Walvax-2 researchers matter-of-factly describe intentionally aborting 9 babies using the “water bag method” of abortion. I had not heard of that method, so I researched it and discovered it’s illegal in the United States. As little value as our country places on life, this practice is so inhumane it is still banned in America. In layman’s terms, the mother’s uterus is filled with saline water so the baby can essentially be floated out of her uterus alive and in-tact. The baby is then given straight to researchers who quickly dissect them alive, because a viable fetal cell line requires live cells. In the researcher’s own words, the “tissues from the freshly aborted fetuses were immediately sent to the laboratory for the preparation of the cells.”
- These aborted babies were used for research in 2015, not 60 years ago. It is a current and ongoing practice.
- Walvax-2 was specifically developed as a replacement for the aging MRC-5 cell line. It was tested with rabies, hepatitis, and Varicella viruses, and was found to be “equal or superior to MRC-5 cells for cultivating these viruses”.
Dissecting aborted babies (many presumed to be alive at the time) for vaccine research has been a consistent and ongoing practice for the past 60 years. As I let that fact sink in, I wondered how I did not know.
I had allowed minimal information to inform a most delicate decision for my children. I submitted without thinking critically to headlines and news articles. In the end, I allowed the thoughts of an atheist researcher with different moral, ethical and spiritual views than me to determine what I thought about such an important subject.
How does this impact the heart of our living God? As the creator and sustainer of life, I think His heart is deeply grieved over this practice.
This information created a crisis in my heart that I had to really sit with. I grieved over my contribution (passively due to my lack of knowledge, but contribution nonetheless) to the deaths of those babies and the ones being killed even now for research. As a follower of Jesus, and as one who takes a deeply pro-life stand, I had to re-think these vaccines and the role I played in supporting such a grievous industry.
Though this information is painful to consider, I hope you take some time to ponder it.
*1.12.21 Update: Since the onset of COVID-19, there are now many COVID-19 vaccines using aborted fetal cell lines either in the production of the vaccine itself or in the research, development, or testing. These include the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines already in use under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) AND vaccines still in development. Click here to learn more. On the other hand, VFT is happy to report that Pentacel and Quadracel have changed their formulations and are no longer made with aborted fetal cell line MRC-5.