For Oregon parents with unvaccinated children, the Oregon Health Authority’s Feb. 20 “exclusion day” is upon us. It’s the day that schools, without exception, exclude children who are not up to date on their vaccinations, and who don’t have a medical, personal or religious exemption.

 

Holy Cross Brother William Dygert, superintendent of schools in the Archdiocese of Portland, reminds Catholic parents that the church does not support claiming a religious or personal exclusion.

 

And yet many Catholic parents do. That’s because some vaccinations are prepared in a medium made of descendant cells from a fetus that was aborted in the 1960s.

 

So why would the church not officially teach against vaccinations, since that is the case?

 

“The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine,” explains the National Catholic Bioethics Center on its FAQ page. The center unequivocally states: “One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion.”

 

That FAQ page notes that parents should write the Centers for Disease Control to urge development of vaccines that can be made without association with abortion.

 

In an article titled “Vaccines and the Right of Conscience,” Edward Furton, one of the ethicists at the center, concludes, “We should not allow the one who carried out an abortion in the past to hold our children hostage in the present.”