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Fetal Cell Lines Were Used to Make the Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine—Here’s What That Means

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Earlier this week, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans urged its parishioners to avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, calling it “morally compromised” because it was developed and tested using cells derived from aborted fetal tissue, reported NBC News on March 2.

The stance conflicts with that of the Vatican, which said in December that it was “morally acceptable” for Roman Catholics to receive any COVID-19 vaccine, even one based on research that originally used cells derived from aborted fetuses.

If you don’t have a solid grasp of human biology, this is where it gets pretty confusing. To be clear, there are no vaccines that involve stem cells from aborted fetuses.

Please, help confuse things further.

Johnson & Johnson confirmed in a statement released Tuesday that the vaccine formula itself includes no fetal tissue. So what does make their COVID-19 vaccine so much more controversial than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines?

The particular cells that are involved in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are called PerC6 cells. “These are retinal cells that came from a fetus that was aborted in 1985 in the Netherlands, which were treated in the lab to allow them to reproduce in lab settings since that time,” Barker explains.

Okay, so the cells used in the vaccine were the product of aborted fetus cells, not directly aborted fetus cells. So there’s not fresh aborted babies in each dose, much to Planned Parenthood’s chagrin–there go the profits!

But, truly, the unsigned author of this piece has a dizzying intellect, capable of narrowly tailoring definitions to get exactly the explanation he or she wants, regardless of whether it’s completely true or not.

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