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The Catholic Church, always finding new ways to be destructive, is urging patients to avoid the new Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine, claiming it was created using cell lines derived from an abortion more than 50 years ago. (The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were only indirectly tied to those cell lines, so the same rule doesn’t apply to them.)

The Archdiocese of New Orleans put out this statement on Friday:

The Archdiocese of New Orleans, in light of guidance from the Vatican, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and The National Catholic Bioethics Center affirm that though there was some lab testing that utilized the abortion-derived cell line, the two vaccines currently available from Pfizer and Moderna do not rely on cell lines from abortions in the manufacturing process and therefore can be morally acceptable for Catholics as the connection to abortion is extremely remote.

It is under the same guidance that the archdiocese must instruct Catholics that the latest vaccine from Janssen/Johnson & Johnson is morally compromised as it uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing.

I have some even better advice for Catholics: Ignore the Archdiocese and get the first available vaccine because NONE OF THAT MATTERS.

To dismiss a vaccine because it utilized cells from an aborted fetus several decades ago is the height of moral stupidity. These Catholics are willing to let millions of people potentially suffer in the name of a single fetus that never survived. (It’s not like they took a guillotine to it specifically for science.)

We’re lucky to have a third vaccine, period. We’re lucky that this vaccine appears to effectively prevent people from dying of a virus that has taken well over 500,000 lives in a single year so far. But leave it to religious leaders to find a new irrational reason to hurt people even when they don’t have to.

… we advise that if the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is available, Catholics should choose to receive either of those vaccines rather than to receive the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of its extensive use of abortion-derived cell lines.

The problem isn’t that the Church remains anti-abortion even to the point of insanity. It’s that most people do not have a choice of what vaccine they get. If the J&J vaccine is the one available to you, you should get it. It’s idiotic and dangerous not to. And yet here are trusted Church leaders telling people to avoid a life-saving vaccine in certain circumstances that have nothing to do with its efficacy.

What happens if no other vaccines are available? What would the Church say then?

For what it’s worth, the Vatican previously urged people to get any vaccine available even if it’s derived from an abortion. But that was when there weren’t multiple options.

We don’t have the luxury of choice right now. All three vaccines are really damn good. If you can get one, you should.

It’s utterly irresponsible of the Archdiocese of New Orleans to tell people to avoid one of the vaccines because of some arbitrary moral sin that isn’t even immoral to begin with. There’s nothing “pro-life” about watching more people die for the sake of a fetus (that was never born).

The less people listen to Catholic leaders, the better off we’ll all be.

(via Religion News Service. Image via Shutterstock)

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.