Remember when I posted the prayer request for the Hauser family before the story gained national attention? I pulled the posts because a commenter was trying to communicate with Colleen Hauser by leaving a comment for her on my blog. Not knowing whether or not Mrs. Hauser even reads my blog, I explained to the commenter that I felt his approach to be outside of my comfort zone and requested that he write to her directly.
Now that their story has come to a climax and seems to be coming to a happy conclusion I am still concerned with one of the main issues at stake here - freedom of choice when it comes to health care as well as disease care. Today's editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune illogically compared the Hauser's initial refusal to continue their son's chemotherapy to parents who make an informed decision to decline vaccinations for their children. This is exactly where I suspected the media's attention would lead - a movement to require vaccinations without the option of conscientiously declining.
Treating disease and preventing disease are two separate issues and require vastly different approaches. I do not believe that refusing to inject a perfectly healthy baby or child with vaccines can or should be considered the same as a cancer patient declining chemotherapy. I know the editor is trying to make a case for acting "responsibly" but I believe we should have the freedom to draw on our religious beliefs when it comes to responsibly treating disease and preventing disease - not the court. And if the courts begin to require vaccinations because it's "the responsible thing to do" will they eventually require or limit births in America because having more than two or three is "irresponsible"? I just think this illogical comparison leads to a slippery slope of lost freedom.
Personally speaking, when my husband and I researched the vaccinations before our first child was born we felt that we had read a great deal on both sides of the issue and felt the presentation on both sides rather twisted and very much like propaganda. Enough suspicion was raised that we did not feel comfortable allowing our first baby to be vaccinated. Our older three children have now received the DTaP on the "catch up schedule" and we intend to decline other vaccinations until morally acceptable alternatives are available.
Our decision was confirmed after learning that most available vaccinations in the U.S. are derived from aborted fetus cells. While the Catholic Church allows the faithful to use these vaccines, she strongly encourages us to seek alternatives and to pressure the pharmaceutical industry to create morally acceptable alternatives.
In 2005, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated:
However, in this situation, the aspect of passive cooperation is that which stands out most. It is up to the faithful and citizens of upright conscience (fathers of families, doctors, etc.) to oppose, even by making an objection of conscience, the ever more widespread attacks against life and the "culture of death" which underlies them. From this point of view, the use of vaccines whose production is connected with procured abortion constitutes at least a mediate remote passive material cooperation to the abortion, and an immediate passive material cooperation with regard to their marketing. Furthermore, on a cultural level, the use of such vaccines contributes in the creation of a generalized social consensus to the operation of the pharmaceutical industries which produce them in an immoral way.
Therefore, doctors and fathers of families have a duty to take recourse to alternative vaccines13 (if they exist), putting pressure on the political authorities and health systems so that other vaccines without moral problems become available. They should take recourse, if necessary, to the use of conscientious objection 14 with regard to the use of vaccines produced by means of cell lines of aborted human foetal origin. Equally, they should oppose by all means (in writing, through the various associations, mass media, etc.) the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting rigorous legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers.
What I comprehend from this is that we as Catholics have the permission and even the encouragement from the Vatican to conscientiously object to receiving vaccines from aborted fetus cells as well as the duty to request alternatives, when available, in order to avoid passive cooperation to abortion.
The entire document is here.
This chart lists the vaccines come from aborted fetal cell lines. (There's no alternative for MMR!)
Also, the website run by Children of God for Life has a bounty of information including a page with links to differing the opinions of various prominent Catholics as to whether vaccinations are morally acceptable.
Please understand that I am closing comments on this one, only because I will be away from the computer for the next three days.
Pentecost blessings to you!