The unethical testing of “ethical” COVID vaccines

By Sarah Quale Both Pfizer and Moderna have announced major milestones in the race to get a COVID-19 vaccine candidate to market. Almost all media outlets and pro-life groups are claiming both vaccines are ethical, even though aborted fetal cells were used to test them. This is wrong, and here’s why it matters.


Click here to sign our petition with LifeSiteNews to urge HHS to stop funding and promoting aborted baby vaccines!

Another Operation Warp Speed breakthrough hit the news yesterday. This time, it was Moderna’s press release, claiming preliminary analysis of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate showed “94.5% effectiveness” in preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19. Last week, it was Pfizer/BioNTech’s “90% effectiveness” claim. The media and the stock market have been in a frenzy. Pro-life news outlets like and many national pro-life organizations and leaders are tripping over themselves to spread the good news that both vaccines are “ethical.”

Here’s what we know for sure.

Both candidates use a technology called mRNA that has never been approved to build a coronavirus vaccine. Both candidates were designed using computer-based genetic sequencing. Both candidates were produced without the use of aborted fetal cells.

And both candidates used aborted fetal cells in the testing phase.

Personhood Alliance - Lozier Institute vaccine chart

The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) has published a comprehensive chart on the COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Click here to see it for yourself. As shown in the screenshot above, the red triangle placed in the last column indicates the lab test used to test the vaccine included “abortion-derived cell lines.” Specifically, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine candidates used the HEK293 cell line during testing; immortalized cells from the kidney of an aborted child killed in the Netherlands in 1973.

Even though CLI’s data clearly show that both vaccines were tested using aborted fetal cells, CLI is one of the organizations claiming these vaccines are ethical, because they were not produced using an aborted fetal cell line. Jeffrey Barrow of the Christian Medical & Dental Association and Jonathan Imbody of Freedom2Care and the Christian Medical Association are also claiming the vaccines are ethical, writing in a recent article for Public Discourse that the Pfizer vaccine can be received “in good conscience.” So is Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, who stated in a recent article that the connection of medical therapies to abortion is “unfortunate” but that it is “ethically permissible” to receive a therapy that is tested using aborted fetal cells.

If organizations and leaders are demanding that a vaccine be produced without the use of aborted fetal cells, then why aren’t they asking that a vaccine also be tested using the same standard?

Sign our petition to raise a consistent pro-life ethic and demand that HHS stop funding unethical vaccines!

Let’s come back to this inconsistency in a moment, and ask an important question we’re hearing often.

What does it mean to test a vaccine using aborted fetal cells?

Animal testing is a standard protocol of vaccine development before human trials begin, so it is this stage at which we hear about aborted fetal cells being used for testing.

Here, specialized mice are “humanized,” meaning mice embryos are transplanted with cells from an aborted child that have been programmed to develop into humanized lungs—the part of the body COVID-19 affects. When the mice are born, they have humanized lungs, created from the aborted fetal cell line. Researchers inject the humanized mice with the vaccine candidate and then infect them with a coronavirus that’s very similar to the COVID-19 disease to test the mice’s immune response to the vaccine product.

You may recall that humanized mice made the news a few years ago, when the Center for Medical Progress’s undercover Planned Parenthood videos, along with evidence directly from researchers, showed that aborted baby parts were being trafficked to create humanized mice for medical research. Those babies were part of the new aborted fetal cells lines that are currently being procured for use in medical experiments. Not cell lines from the 1970s that many say are too remote to still have any ethical issues attached to them; new cell lines for next generation therapies.

This begs the next question.

Can vaccines be tested without using aborted fetal cell lines?

The answer is yes.

According to Dr. Alan Moy of the John Paul II Medical Research Institute, there are currently several other human cell lines that are ethically non-controversial and can be effectively used for testing:

  • HEPG2—An immortalized human cell line from a hepatic cancer
  • HeLA—An immortalized human cervical cell line
  • A549—An immortalized human alveolar cell line, which would have been more appropriate to test COVID-19 because it targets the alveolar cells
  • Alveolar cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Human adult stem cells

So why aren’t they being tested without the use of aborted fetal cells? Because, with the exception of the Personhood Alliance and a few others, no one is calling for the testing to also be ethical. And thus, no one is exerting any pressure on these pharmaceutical companies or our own government.

Instead, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being celebrated.

The time to call for a fully ethical COVID vaccine is right now

Christians must demand an end to the trafficking and commodification of aborted human beings. Period. We must not participate or accept practices that perpetuate and encourage the relationship between abortion, biomedical science, and human trafficking, no matter when that connection was initiated or how long a practice has been medically accepted.

Sign our petition to urge HHS to stop funding and promoting aborted baby vaccines...without exception!

Now is the perfect time to completely and publicly reject both unethical production and testing of these vaccines and to demand that the ethical alternatives already in the pipeline be brought to market in the US instead. In the meantime, American taxpayers are already on the hook for billions of dollars in funding—funding that continues to sustain the evil of abortion.

We must now ask ourselves: At what other time have we had such a clear, immediate opportunity to plead a consistent case for vaccine ethics?

The production and testing of vaccines that use the remains of aborted human beings, regardless of when they were killed and at what point they were used in the process, is morally unacceptable and must be consistently opposed. If not now, as new vaccines are currently being created….then when?

It is time for people of good conscience to speak the truth about these vaccines and demand that the connection between abortion, biomedical science, and human trafficking be severed. We encourage other pro-life organizations and leaders to join us in doing so.

Sign and share our petition with LifeSiteNews today to urge HHS to stop funding aborted baby vaccines.

The Personhood Alliance’s official position on vaccine ethics can be found here.

To learn more about how the Personhood Alliance stands consistently against all direct assaults on human life and human dignity, subscribe to our email list.

Sarah Quale is president of Personhood Alliance Education, founder of Educe® online learning, and author of the Foundations online pro-life curriculum. She is an award-winning curriculum and instructional designer who has worked for over 20 years in corporate, academic, and ministerial environments.

35 comments on “The unethical testing of “ethical” COVID vaccines

  1. Andrew says:

    Nicely put. John Kennedy has all discussed tshi issue as well on how deadly Pfizer and Modern vaccines are according to the reports in the Vaccine Adverse Event Report System (VAERS). Here is also a debate with John Kennedy vs. Alan Dershowitz.

    As someone though said in the comment section, “This wasn’t a debate, this was was a slaughter. Facts, science and studies to support points vs. Zero science, zero studies and only questions? This was a classroom lesson and Dershowitz got an F.”

  2. Gary D. Knight says:

    The ethical conundrum in using HEK293 cell line products and derivatives to lab-verify a vaccine before a successful application for permission to launch human trials is this: it creates a ghoulish market for destroyed human remains. Now, of course even adult stem cells could potentially run into that dilemma if they were part of an organ harvesting regime, especially one that may overlook the question of consent by the adult providing the vital organ. At least one country has been identified as practicing human organ harvesting without free consent of the subject, who may be a ‘political’ prisoner. If we all agree that no country should be allowed to create or feed into a market for human organs so obtained, likewise we must oppose harvesting fetal cells since no fetus has reached the point of being able to give consent. Now then, what about Moderna and Pfizer, who wrongfully chose such a cell line for their lab verifications? Their ethics seem to have been governed by the erroneous idea that ends justify means: the end being to get a viable vaccine into human trials sooner rather than later: the availability of the adult alveolar cell line might have limited or delayed, and perhaps neither company wanted to lose a potential market lead by waiting. I think we can all agree that such a decision was reprehensible, and reason enough for a boycott. However, is it enough to condemn anyone – especially anyone in a high risk group – who notes that it is now too late or a moot question to ask them to redo lab tests by other, ethical means, since now the efficacy is proven by human trials that in their own design were not unethical? I would say we cannot condemn or discountenance the choice by those wanting the benefits of these particular vaccine(s) when they say they are satisfied ethically that the vaccines in their actual makeup and biochemical / genetic nature do not derive from or depend on fetal cell lines. Many of us can choose to be heroes by example and boycott Pfizer and Moderna until they show some contrition by doing seemingly redundant lab verifications with adult stem cell or adult alveolar cell products to ‘humanize’ the subject lab animals’ tissues. But as for that contrition don’t hold your breath. If hundreds of thousands of lives are saved, there will be no room for contrition. In the end, what is sad is that the perspective of Personhood Alliance and the clear warnings about lab test procedures was not widely disseminated and picked up in other proLife and ethical media long before the lab tests were even contemplated – which would have been April or May this year (human trials being in July). A lab report sourced by CoGforLife that detailed use of HEK293 cell lines in the pre-tests was dated in November, which should at least raise the question whether Pfizer and / or Moderna suppressed publication of these lab tests until well after the human trials had begun. Indeed, were the subjects of the human trials informed that the vaccine they were receiving had been lab-verified using products from aborted fetal cell lines? These remaining ethical questions are not moot, and proLife organizations can put legal pressure for full disclosure.

  3. Colleen Kelly Spellecy says:

    I am very surprised that the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, would liken this to morally acceptable. Shame on them!

  4. Colleen Kelly Spellecy says:

    I am very surpriser that the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, would liken this to morally acceptable. Shame on them!

  5. Thank you for your input! It is very important for me and my family to know which vaccines are ethically eligible!!

  6. Joanne Webber says:

    We are practicing the religion of offering up to Molech with our preborn children. If this continues we as believers will have to make a very serious decision regarding our future and obedience to God. Are we willing to lose everything when we will not take the vaccine; ask yourself this question.

  7. James Cook says:

    Are any vaccines ethical? Injecting people with poison does not protect from disease but causes it; and make no mistake, all vaccines are poison. The real history of vaccines has been as warped and twisted by the mainstream media and the medical and academic establishments as the real history of feminism, Planned Parenthood and abortion. It seems to me that the Personhood Alliance should be focusing on the issue of medical freedom; because forced vaccination, vaccination without truly informed consent, is assault and in some cases homicide. Mass forced vaccination is genocide. And, as Erin Marie Olszewski put it, anyone who learns the truth about vaccination would never consent to it. For the true history of vaccines, a good place to start is

    1. Carrie says:

      I agree 1,000%

    2. Peter says:

      That makes Fauci and Gates etc mass murderers. They should be put arrested for war crimes against humanity.

    3. Andrew says:

      Cool! I’m surprised though that it is still on Amazon as Amazon has been responsible for hate speech, or maybe I’m confusing them with Big Tech who would abolish books like this one?

  8. Sarah Quale says:

    Thanks for the questions regarding next steps! Here is a list of all of the people in leadership positions within Operation Warp Speed: The pressure needs to be put on them and HHS Secretary Alex Azar and assistant secretary for health, Brett P. Giroir, M.D. It’s too late to petition the pharma companies themselves, as the products have already been tested. We need to push HHS and Operation Warp Speed leadership to stop promoting and funding these unethical candidates, while there’s still time. The Dept of HHS contact line is 1-877-696-6775​. The direct line to the HHS Secretary is 202-690-7000 and the email is THANK YOU!!!

    1. Clarissa says:

      Why is Trump getting no attention here!! He has been pushing Operation warp speed!! If Bill Gates can be considered a mass murderer why not Trump???

      1. Sarah Quale says:

        I think that’s a very fair question!

        1. AmericanPatriot says:

          I agree murdered babies cells should NOT be used in this reserch! However I think it’s an UNFAIR question. How many other things do you suppose he has on his shoulders without micro managing or knowing all that goes on in someones elses bailiwick? Is he a research scientist? I likely will not take the shot except MAYBE if the research was done ethically.

          1. Andrew says:

            Well said. Yeah I wasn’t too happy with Trump, but my hope is that he brought in the vaccine due to ignorance. I tried emailing to warn them and well didn’t hear anything from them.

    2. Colleen Kelly Spellecy says:

      I just emailed the head of HHS!

  9. Andrea says:

    Are any of the vaccines using mRNA ethical at all? This technology ‘programs’ your body – this can be used for all kinds of sinister purposes.

    1. Yvonne says:

      Yes, CureVac. They use mRNA, but do so very differently from ALL the others.

      CureVac is pioneering the use of natural and chemically unmodified mRNA as a data carrier to instruct the human body to produce its own proteins capable of fighting a wide range of diseases. CureVac’s novel technology is the broadest and most advanced mRNA therapeutic platform and allows for rapid, low-cost production of multiple drugs and vaccines. Additionally, CureVac’s mRNA vaccines are thermostable, which eliminates the demand for cold-chain storage and infrastructure, a major challenge in the vaccine supply of most developing countries.
      CureVac’s RNA Technology – Inspired by Nature

      CureVac’s active ingredients do not negatively manipulate the body, but rather work based on the very same functional principles found in nature. Our format is simple: the body receives specific information that is coded in RNA and uses this information to produce its own, custom-tailored protein as medicine.

      CureVac uses a Protein test Reticulocyte lysate,
      HeLa cells Rauch et al., bioRxiv 9Feb2021. (Their vaccine has no connection to aborted fetal cells or derivations there of -not even remotely!)

      It is in line to be approved next month in Germany. They are already testing it on children. They were funded by Bill Gates and have an office in Boston. If we urge our local and federal civil leaders to take steps to make it available here, we might have better choices soon!
      The John Paul Medical Research Institute is also working on an ethical RNA vaccine…

  10. Gail Jones says:

    I agree. Can a petition be started that we can all share and sign?

  11. Debbie says:

    Please share some ways that we can demand that ethical vaccine alternatives be produced, tested, and brought to market by pharmaceutical companies and public health officials.

  12. Peggy Price says:

    Who do I write to, in order to protest and demand a change in testing?

    1. Yvonne says:

      You can write to pharmaceutical companies, but it might be more effective to write to your civil representatives.

      Write your state representatives such as state senators and assembly persons.

      Write your US Senator and your US House representative.

  13. Mel says:

    Animals shouldn’t be used either. It’s time we stopped making them suffer when their bodies are not at all like ours.

    1. AmericanPatriot says:

      It has been found years ago that ADULT stem cells are actually better for medical research. The reasons for using babies are hideous and disingenuous!

    2. Bree says:

      You better get ready to offer up your body for testing then. ?

  14. Joan says:

    I feel the whole process is sickening. Humanized lung cells in mice. It’s any wonder that human beings function at all with all the poisons we put in our bodies; including vaccines.

    1. I agree!!!! God Bless you!!

    2. Colin skillin says:

      As a catholic ,I agree ,we also have a leader here on earth ,who should be very vocal ,when it comes to the new vaccine ,but I just don’t hear it

    3. Sylvia Bertolini says:

      I agree, sickening, “humanized” animals! AND the fact that they are using aborted fetus cells, shows that they do not care anything about human beings, they are not a person but “parts”, etc. Like using the cells of someone who was killed by a serial killer.

      1. Kathi says:

        So are there any ethical vaccines that are near ready? Or at all?

        & this lost me a little. 1st it referred to using that Hek line from 73 Abortion. But then it brought up research using more recently aborted babies. Does that apply to either of these 2 or others?

        1. Sarah Quale says:

          Hi Kathi! There are only two of the eight Operation Warp Speed vaccines that may be ethical. The are the Merck and Sanofi/GSK candidates. I say “may” because we don’t yet have information about their testing, only that their production was ethical. Outside of Operation Warp Speed, there are several candidates that are ethical so far and some that we know are fully ethical. John Paul II Medical Research Institute’s candidate is one that is fully ethical. As far as your other question, the Pfizer and Moderna candidates used the HEK293 cell line to test, which is the original line from 1973. New aborted fetal cell lines are currently in development for vaccines and other medical therapies, but those were not used to develop or test any of the COVID vaccines that we know information on so far. The HEK293 cell line is a “standard” line that’s often used in vaccine development and testing. It doesn’t have to be, but it’s common. This is what needs to change.

          1. Sherry says:

            Do you know if along with the Hek cell line for testing Pfizer if the BLT mouse was used? This would mean fetal livers and thymus was used.

          2. Sarah Quale says:

            I can confirm the HEK293 line only, based on published data from Pfizer. I’ve not seen any mention of other cell lines or mouse models.

        2. James says:

          Safe to say we cannot trust the statements of big pharma, so the obvious trafficking of baby parts is cause to assume that they are being used. Claims of reliance on HEK293 cant be trusted, and show the Moloch-type mindset present in any given company.

        3. Loesje Shema says:

          There is one vaccine which will be ready early next year. No step in the process involves fetal cells. It is used when a patient has tested positive and prevents the progression of the disease, instead of vaccinating everyone “just in case”. It is also administered as an inhalation treatment and requires no refrigeration, so it can be distributed to places with little or no electricity. Look up FlowVax at

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