November 11, 2016

Speaker urges ‘ethical alternatives’ to use of fetal DNA

Speaker Theresa Deisher discusses how commercial vaccines made from the cells of aborted human fetuses are both unethical and unnecessary during an Oct. 22 presentation at the St. Paul campus of St. John Paul II Parish in Clark County. (Photo by Patricia Happel Cornwell)

Speaker Theresa Deisher discusses how commercial vaccines made from the cells of aborted human fetuses are both unethical and unnecessary during an Oct. 22 presentation at the St. Paul campus of St. John Paul II Parish in Clark County. (Photo by Patricia Happel Cornwell)

By Patricia Happel Cornwell (Special to The Criterion)

SELLERSBURG—The St. Gianna Culture of Life Group at St. John Paul II Parish in Clark County hosted a speaker on Oct. 22 on the controversial use of “electively aborted” human DNA in the creation of childhood vaccines. Dr. Theresa Deisher presented a technical explanation of her premise to an audience of adults and children.

Deisher’s talk centered on the premise that commercial vaccines made from the cells of aborted human fetuses, which she includes in the term “human trafficking,” are both unethical and unnecessary. She said that vaccines made from animal cells are less profitable to manufacture.

“There is continued interest in harvesting tissue from aborted babies for research and clinical trials,” Deiser said. “Some organs are taken from fetuses between 16 and 26 weeks of gestation. … Scientists have moved from using cell lines from animals to those of [voluntarily aborted] human babies.”

The speaker urged parents in the audience to ask their pediatricians what vaccines are made from and if there are “moral alternatives” available, such as vaccines made with non-fetal cells. Deisher believes that some vaccines are “contaminated” with fetal DNA and may cause genetic mutations in some children who receive them.

“Most families are being given these [fetal DNA-based] vaccines, and are not being told that there are alternatives,” Deisher said.

The speaker said that the independent National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia “proposes that all vaccines be manufactured with animal DNA, that there be disclosure [to the public] of the sources of vaccines in their packaging, that model legislation be written and that alternative vaccines be made available.”

The St. Gianna Culture of Life Group is named for St. Gianna Beretta Molla, an Italian doctor and mother, who chose to have surgery to remove only a uterine tumor while preserving the life of her unborn fourth child.

She died at the age of 39, a week after the child was born in 1962. She was canonized in 2004. Catholic teaching would have allowed for a hysterectomy in such a case in order to save the life of the mother, but Molla chose to save the child instead of herself.

The parish’s St. Gianna group, formed in the early 2000s, has about 15 members, according to Phyllis Burkholder, its president. The group has an activity nearly monthly, including speakers and selling roses on Respect Life Sunday. A future project will be to knit baby booties to line the sidewalk in front of an abortion center in Louisville.

“Our mission is to protect life from birth to natural death,” she said. “As St. John Paul II taught in his encyclical ‘The Gospel of Life,’ we need to have a well-formed conscience in order to build a new culture of life.”

St. Gianna member Esther Endris introduced Deisher, who has a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular physiology from Stanford University in California, and has worked in “commercial biotechnology” for 20 years. In 2008, she founded both a for-profit corporation and a nonprofit biomedical research organization to deal with stem-cell research.
 

(Patricia Happel Cornwell is a freelance writer and a member of St. Joseph Parish in Corydon.)

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