Tag: COVID-19

Still dreaming

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech 57 years ago today.

I’m understating the case to say that nonviolence hasn’t quite won out yet. I could fill this post with links to news reports just from today, from this country, proving that point.

With all that Dr. King wrote and said, I keep coming back to his 1964 book, Why We Can’t Wait. I have a paperback edition I treasure, published in his lifetime, without prefaces or afterwords written by people trying to frame his words for me.

In a book that continues to challenge me every time I pick it up, there’s this.

Man was born into barbarism when killing his fellow man was a normal condition of existence. He became endowed with a conscience. And he has now reached the day when violence toward another human being must become as abhorrent as eating another’s flesh.

Martin Luther King, Why We Can’t Wait

“Must” become, not “has” or “will.” There’s urgency there. Perpetual urgency seems a contradiction in terms, yet here we are.

Marching

There’s a march in Washington today, timed to coincide with the anniversary of “I have a dream.” It’s meant to be a nonviolent affirmation of the need for racial justice, and I hope nothing disrupts it.

Pandemic or not, I have no problem with a scheduled march for human rights. Coronavirus doesn’t seem to stand in the way of violence anywhere, so it shouldn’t stand in the way of peaceful demonstrations. The National Park Service in Washington seems to appreciate that.

I expect the same courtesy, permits, and COVID-19 precautions to be extended to the March for Life next January.

Featured photo: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Washington, DC. Photo credit: National Park Service/volunteer Bill Shugarts.

USCCB leads petition drive to FDA: keep COVID-19 vaccine free from abortion connection

Originally published at Leaven for the Loaf.

letter to the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from a coalition of concerned Americans has urged that any vaccine being developed for COVID-19 be derived from ethical sources, without use of cell lines derived from aborted human beings. An associated email petition drive organized through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) invites the general public to send the same message to the FDA.

The April 17 letter says in part, “To be clear, we strongly support efforts to develop an effective, safe, and widely available vaccine as quickly as possible. However, we also strongly urge our federal government to ensure that fundamental moral principles are followed in the development of such vaccines, most importantly, the principle that human life is sacred and should never be exploited.”

The letter, released by the USCCB, is signed by several USCCB members as well as by physicians and other health care professionals, medical ethicists, and pro-life activists.

NOT A HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION

According to the letter, the concern over how a COVID-19 vaccine is to be derived is based on work that is already happening. Practical decisions are being made now. 

We are aware that, among the dozens of vaccines currently in development, some are being produced using old cell lines that were created from the cells of aborted babies. For example, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has a substantial contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is working on a vaccine that is being produced using one of these ethically problematic cell lines. Thankfully, other vaccines such as those being developed by Sanofi Pasteur, Inovio, and the John Paul II Medical Research Institute utilize cell lines not connected to unethical procedures and methods.

It is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically: no American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience. Fortunately, there is no need to use ethically problematic cell lines to produce a COVID vaccine, or any vaccine, as other cell lines or processes that do not involve cells from abortions are available and are regularly being used to produce other vaccines.

from coalition letter to FDA, 4/17/2020

SHARE THE MESSAGE 

Share this letter and petition as you see fit. The online petition has a clear message, but includes space for your own words. 

Petition: https://www.votervoice.net/USCCB/Campaigns/73486/Respond?fbclid=IwAR1hxb17qXYhIVy8a099oh7PPJh_YBXRi6vJZGV-DvXwP13lXJadrhmlV-Q

This is not about whether vaccines in general are a good idea. (I am grateful for some and reject others.) This is about refusing to embrace abortion in order to cure or prevent COVID-19. 

I wish the letter had been unnecessary. The people who signed it clearly saw the need, though. All of them live and work in the real world with real people. They take things like pandemics seriously. 

They have the right idea. I’m with them.

Image in post header by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.