Image for Vaccines and medical research that use the tissues of aborted babies

Vaccines and transplants that use the tissues of aborted babies

Renew/ God's truths
“The use of fetal tissue from elective abortions is commonplace in the pharmaceutical industry and in medical research,” states an article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information in the US*. Many common vaccines, for instance, have been developed using the fetal tissues of two aborted foetuses from the 1960’s, ranging from vaccines that treat chicken pox, smallpox, measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles) to hepatitis A, polio, and rabies. Do we need to be more aware of what we allow others to introduce into our bodies, as well as our children’s? Could we unwittingly become part of a world system that condones the use of aborted babies for our personal gain?


Vaccinations are now mandatory for children in many countries. Manmade medical treatments have saved millions of lives and we should honour the God-pleasing work and sacrifices of doctors around the world. Nonetheless, we ought to test everything we are told to do and believe by our fellow human beings, regardless of how well-intentioned they may be. Will the Spirit of the living God, who dwells in us, welcome medical treatments made from dead babies? Will we place more faith in our doctors’ instructions or in God’s? Thankfully, there is always the option of using vaccines cultivated from plant or animal cell cultures.

 Psalm 118:8 ESV  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.

2 Corinthians 6:15-17 ESV  … Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you

A brief history of using aborted fetal tissues in manmade medical treatments


Vaccines are made using disease-causing virus or bacteria that are cultured in human, plant or animal cells. Two human fetal cell cultures, known as WI-38 and MRC-5, were taken from elective abortions (i.e. not done for the sake of the mother’s health or fetal disease) in the 1960s, one in England and one in Sweden. They are still widely used by large pharmaceutical companies for vaccine production today. Whether these vaccines contain very little or no aborted fetal tissues appears to be unclear.


Aborted fetal tissue transplants have been tested for decades, mostly with negative results. Today, scientists are still testing such fetal tissue transplants for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Many doctors will say that there is nothing ethically wrong with using fetal tissues of aborted babies or vaccines grown on their cells, and that no new babies were aborted. Let us keep in mind, however, that medical ethics (involving the principles of autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence) are based on man’s wisdom, not God’s. As believers, we are to obey the morals and code of conduct that God, the Highest Authority, sets for us. We are called to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

1 Corinthians 3:19 ESV  For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”

Ephesians 5:6-12 ESV  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

Beware the dehumanisation of life in a woman’s womb

Every human being’s identity starts even before we comprised any biological cell. God’s Word shows that our Heavenly Father:

  • chose us before He made the world to be holy and without fault in His eyes | Ephesians 1:4 NLT Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
  • knew us individually even before we were formed in the womb | Jeremiah 1:5 ESV  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
  • determined the days of our lives when we were just an “unformed substance” in our mothers’ wombs | Psalm 139:13-16 ESV  For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
  • named us when we were just fetuses | Isaiah 49:1 ESV  … The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.

Contrary to this, Science has tried to identify life as starting after around eight weeks when a heartbeat can be detected in the womb. The Bible makes it clear that abortion at any pregnancy trimester is a form of rebellion against God, who knit us in our mothers’ wombs and says that children are a gift from Him. WI-38 and MRC-5 are not just product codes for human cell cultures, they are the remains of real human beings that God knew and had named.

Psalm 127:3 ESV  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

A separate note: For these same reasons, stem cell treatments that use baby embryos produced from in vitro fertilization (IVF) that are no longer wanted by couples for producing children also grieve our Creator. These baby embryos are God’s unborn children.

We can be complicit in the shedding of innocent blood

God’s Word warns that He will not let anyone off for shedding innocent blood, which would include helpless, unborn children. Imagine God’s anguish at seeing the unborn children He created in His image used for procedures or rituals that mankind has determined is the way to bring healing and restoration of our bodies, instead of turning to God. See a sample prayer to repent of Abortion. 

Exodus 23:7 ESV  Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked.

Genesis 9:6 ESV  “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

In God’s ethics and code of conduct, we can still be associated with the killing of the innocent – even when we did not witness it or were directly involved in it. In Deuteronomy 21, God tells His people to pray to be cleansed of the guilt of any innocent blood shed in their land. Vaccines from WI-38 and MRC-5 and fetal tissue transplants go several steps further, by bringing the sin of others directly into our bodies through injections and operations. Jesus, our Saviour, resurrected from the dead to give us His new life. Should we then inject things made from the dead back into our bodies?

Deuteronomy 21:7-9 ESV  “If in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess someone is found slain,  lying in the open country, and it is not known who killed him, … and they shall declare: “Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done. Accept this atonement for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, Lord, and do not hold your people guilty of the blood of an innocent person.” Then the bloodshed will be atoned for, and you will have purged from yourselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood, since you have done what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

1 Peter 1:3 ESV  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Exercising wisdom in medical treatments and vaccines

1. Look carefully at what treatments we are prescribed

It is good to ask our medical advisers deeper questions about the treatments we are being prescribed, particularly if it may involve embryonic stem cells, fetal tissues, human-based cultures or vaccines from WI-38 and MRC-5.

Doctors may even try to convince us that these are harmless for us, without the same Biblical understanding that our bodies are temples of God’s Spirit. God’s Word reminds us not to live life thoughtlessly, but understand what our Father in heaven wants us to do. God is the One who should decide what is done to our bodies, not people. Jesus died to purchase us and our bodies are not our own, we belong to Jesus. No doctor will ever lay his or her life down for us as Jesus has.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

2. Do not be overly anxious about our health

The world idolises health and youth. When we follow this worldly pattern, we live our lives based on the fear of sickness and old age, focused on our limited physical bodies rather our spiritual eternities. We are called to care for the physical body but not idolise it. Instead, we can celebrate that our inner selves are being renewed every day, even as our bodies fade away. 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 

3. Submit to God

As we submit to God in all our ways and our thought life, we can trust God to protect and rescue us from deadly diseases when we welcome His Holy Spirit to be fully in charge of our lives’ control centres. We are even promised long lives. Obedience to God this way, however, requires us to love God first and obey His ways, including forgiving others, letting go of bitterness, repenting of our sins, not being enslaved to this world’s demands etc. 

Psalm 91:3-4,6 NLT For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease… His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

Psalm 91:14-16 NLT The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

It also means that we learn to praise God in the midst of suffering, sickness, and pain because these episodes will pass and we would have developed greater endurance and strength as a result. Neither are we afraid of death, because that only brings us directly into the loving presence of God. As followers of Jesus, we will always come out on the winning side. This is why God’s Word says we are to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.”

Romans 8:18 ESV  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV   Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Also see Praying for physical healing and a Sample prayer for Healing 

4. Ask God-fearing believers to pray for us

The Bible tells us that we can ask God-fearing brothers and sisters-in-Christ to pray for our healing when we are sick. The steps involve confessing our sins before them, asking God for forgiveness, having them anoint us with oil and pray for us. Jesus promised that when we do this with a heart to testify of God’s glory, He will answer our prayers.

James 5:14-16 ESV  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

John 14:13-14 ESV  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

If we feel convicted to confess of using aborted fetal tissue based vaccines and treatments in the past, please refer to the next post for a sample prayer. God does not condemn us when we seek Him, He loves to receive us.

A few of the references used for this post:

* Use of Aborted Fetal Tissue in Vaccines and Medical Research Obscures the Value of All Human Life.

Abortion and fetal tissue research: some ethical concerns. 

Fetal tissue transplantation: can it be morally insulated from abortion?

Human Cell Strains in Vaccine Development



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