Tom Pittman's WebLog

2021 June 17 -- I Didn't Kill a Baby Today

I got myself signed up for the COVID vaccination before I remembered that there are rumors of one or more of the vaccines involving stem cells derived from abortions. Fortunately it got cancelled (for other reasons), but I Googled the question, and everybody was quick to tell us
There are no stem cells among the ingredients of any COVID vaccine.
That's like saying there are no peanuts in the ingredient list of the yogurt raisins I enjoy. It's not good enough for the hyper-allergic people, so the package adds also that
This product is processed on equipment that also processes products that contain peanuts.

All of the Google top ten hits are (and Google itself is known to be) of left-wing Feminazi persuasion. Google's parent company is among those (like Facebook and Twitter) who admittedly went out of their way to suppress pro-Trump "fake news" (which amounts to injecting their own bias) in the 2020 election. The advantage of using these sites for information is that when they give information that appears damaging to their own partisan views, it is most likely true. The following quotes I took from one of those top ten with an ironic web page file name, where the double negative makes it come out more positive than they intended (no link: their web site crashed my computer)


The first paragraph clearly insists:

Fetal tissue was not used in the creation of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
They can make a false statement like this by carefully redefining "Fetal tissue" to be only the undivided cells that happened to exist at the time the baby was killed, or else by restricting "creation" to exclude testing.
According to Dr. Aleena Banerji, a member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, fetal cell lines are not the same thing as fetal tissue.

They don't tell you that the cells in the baby naturally divide every day, until there are enough of them to be a full grown human. The process slows down as the child gets older, but every cell in your body is the result of that division, thousands of times over, and it is mostly still going on today. Most of the cells in your body ten years ago subsequently divided and/or died off, yet you are the same person, some differences in knowledge and muscle tone, some scars, but still the same person with the same unique DNA and fingerprints.

At the beginning these cells are all the same -- called "stem cells" -- but later they "differentiate" to become muscle and bone and nerve and skin and other organs. When they kill a pre-born baby, they can "harvest" some of these stem cells, and under suitable lab conditions, continue to let the cells divide but preventing them from differentiating. The baby still died in the process, and that baby's cells are still living in the petri dishes. Adults also have stem cells floating around (mostly in bone marrow), which are used in the body to repair damaged tissue and replenish the blood. Adult stem cells can be removed and used in research or developing vaccines without killing the human they came from, but that didn't happen for the COVID vaccines.

In the middle of this piece, where it is least likely to be seen by "tl; dr" people accustomed to getting their information from TV news and YouTube and otherwise try to read as little as possible, is the damaging admission

Fetal cells lines are used in vaccine research because viruses need cells in which to grow. Viruses that can infect humans grow best in human cells.

"Neither the Pfizer nor Moderna vaccines used fetal cell lines during the development or production phases, so there are no fetal cells in the vaccine," Banerji said.

"However, both of these companies used the fetal cell line HEK-293 in the confirmation phase to ensure the vaccines work," she said.

HEK-293 is a kidney cell line that was isolated from a fetus in 1973.

There you have it: a baby was killed in 1973, and a necessary part of the development of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines profited from that death. Technically,
...It's unknown whether it originated from a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or an elective abortion.
But most miscarriages happen at times and places where it is not possible to harvest any stem cells and preserve them before the cells die with the baby, but in 1973 King SCOTUS had just declared the killing of babies legal in all 50 states, so they had lots of aborted babies to harvest the organs and stem cells from.

This article continues,

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, has made more extensive use of fetal cell lines.

It required the use of a cell line called PER.C6 in both its development and manufacture.

PER.C6 is a retinal cell line that was isolated from a fetus in 1985.

It uses a fetal cell line in its manufacture because it uses a modified adenovirus as the carrier for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein gene.

Much more prominent in this article is a quote from unnamed "leaders in the Roman Catholic Church released a statement saying that it's 'morally acceptable' to receive the vaccine." If *I* were in the Catholic Church and *I* wanted to make an immoral statement like that, I wouldn't want my name associated with it either. These unnamed "leaders" and the article author herself are effectively arguing that the end justifies the means, which is an abhorrent moral doctrine. You cannot achieve Good ends by doing Evil.

It might be argued -- but only vaguely implied in this article -- that the two babies killed in the service of these vaccines, both died decades ago, and no new babies were killed in the research and development of the vaccines. To understand the moral hypocrisy going on here, it is only necessary to compare this to the outrage expressed in that formerly technical magazine WIRED last month which reported on some racist (that is, issues of race were more important to her than the corporate agenda she was hired to support) who tried to force Pinterest to reject business with former slave-holding plantations in the South. The current management of these plantations are not slavers, all that stopped all over the country more than a 150 years ago, but some people -- this woman in particular -- want to punish people who were not even alive when that happened. The designation of some people in this country as "non-persons" did not stop with the Emancipation Proclamation, it continues as abortion even today, but no new fetal cell lines have started recently.

Do the present plantation owners profit today from the slavery of two centuries ago? Even if not, punish them today! So the thinking goes. Me, I like God's solution better: If they repent (repudiate that activity as Wrong), forgive them.

Do the present vaccines profit today from the involuntary death of babies more than three decades ago? I'm not asking you to punish the pharmaceutical companies (they already got paid for the vaccines), I just don't want to participate in that profit. But if they repent (use adult stem cells instead), forgive them. I don't see that happening.

The essence of ethical behavior is the Golden Rule, the refusal of voluntary personal gain at some other person's involuntary loss. If they choose to give me a gift, I can accept it -- indeed the whole Christian message is based on accepting the voluntary sacrifice of Christ on the Cross to pay for my sins -- and any Act of God is automatically exempt, but it is immoral for me to force another person to give up what is rightfully theirs so that I can benefit from it, and even the laws of this country provide for prosecution of an "accessory after the fact," intentionally helping somebody profit from their crime after the crime was committed. Although abortion was decriminalized in January 1973, it didn't stop being Wrong, and it would be immoral for me to choose to benefit from the intentional death a baby who did not (and cannot) give informed consent, however long ago it was. It would also be immoral for me to choose to benefit from somebody's involuntary servitude, however long ago it was. It's the same issue.

2021 June 18 -- The Moral Issue (for Me)

Why is this a moral issue, and not merely economic?

The stem cells are not the baby that was killed in 1973 or 1985, any more than the leg amputated from the wounded soldier is that soldier. The gangrene leg is amputated to save the life of the soldier, but the stem cells did not save the life of the baby. The baby was killed for other (immoral/unethical) reasons, and by using those stem cells rather than adult stem cells which involved no involuntary loss of life, the pharmaceutical companies -- or rather their decision makers -- are attempting to sanitize both the immoral killing of the child from which those cells came, and the national scandal that began in January 1973. The baby is dead, but let's not justify that death -- and by implication, millions of immoral deaths that continue even today -- by pretending that Good came of it. That same Good could have come from adult stem cells with no Evil precursor, no dead child in its wake, at worst a tiny higher cost insignificant against the multi-million-dollar profits the companies have already realized from the sale of these vaccines to the government.

In March 2020 the Governor of Oregon and the Pastor of one particular church took from me what I was not willing to give up. The Governor had no choice, she had to save thousands of lives by imposing general quarantine; the Pastor had other (less moral) reasons. I was inconvenienced, but nobody died. Babies died in 1973 and 1985 (and millions more in years between and since) and no lives were saved -- not even the lives saved by the vaccine, which could have been saved anyway without relying on the death of those two babies. The pharm execs chose and took their stand against the lives of those babies.

I choose otherwise. Maybe I will die from it, but nobody died in more than a year from my not being vaccinated, and nothing has changed. It is my choice, and (at least today) I have that choice. I do not -- indeed I cannot -- force my ethics on other people, they must make their own choices, for Good or for Evil. The government can make choices that involve life or death, and God gives them that right and obligation. I am not the government, and neither are the pharmaceutical companies, they are just private citizens collectively doing business for profit. Covid happens to be profitable this year.

Last week I considered the mask a nuisance. Starting today, it is my badge of courage, a statement for Justice and Truth.

2021 November 18 -- Covid Postscript

My friend and business colleague spent more than a half-hour yesterday throwing numbers and probabilities at me in a futile attempt to persuade me to change my mind. My perspective is driven more by an ancient philosopher, who was about to take his students on a dangerous trip. They -- and one in particular -- were arguing the risk of death, but the Teacher was concerned only for the Good that he could do. His enigmatic explanation: "Are there not 12 hours in the day? When you walk in the daylight you do not stumble, it is at night when you stumble."

I thought about that for a long time before I understood. So long as we are doing God's Work in God's Way (in God's Light), we are immortal. When that work is over and it is time to enter our Eternal Reward, nothing we can do will postpone it. The Creator of the universe can do that.

The Teacher did die in that trip, and that student did not. His name was Thomas, and my parents named me after him, not so much for his famous doubt, but for the subsequent faith that came from looking at the evidence that his Teacher was no longer dead. I personally have accepted the mandate implied by my name. So long as I am doing God's Work in God's Way, Covid cannot kill me. When it's over, I go Home. Numbers and probabilities are irrelevant, the tools of people with nothing better to believe.


My comments about Pinterest in WIRED last month
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