QED

On the Use of Fetal Tissue in Vaccines

As the world races to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, a number of Australian archbishops have been calling for caution. In particular, Anglican, Orthodox and Roman Catholic leaders in Sydney requested the Morrison government not to use a treatment based upon the bodies of aborted babies. Their clarion call is all the more prescient when one realises that, according to Dr. Scott B. Rae:

There are…possibilities for abuse about which even the more moderate advocates are wary. Already there have been people not simply willing but eager to conceive just to donate the tissue. Fetal tissue is currently being used to make cosmetics in Sweden, and fetal kidneys from Brazil and India are being sold in West Germany to physicians for transplant.

This is a complicated moral—as well as medical—issue, with some even acknowledging that it needs the wisdom of King Solomon. Thus, one must be careful not to rashly accept convenient, utilitarian conclusions. And yet strangely, this is precisely what some religious ethicists are doing. For instance, Dr Megan Best argues in The Gospel Coalition Australia:

If the only available organ for a life-saving transplant is donated by a murder victim, we do not consider that in accepting the organ we are approving of murder. In the same way, if we have no alternative to a certain vaccine produced using tissue derived from children killed over 50 years ago, we are not necessarily condoning abortion.

Many advances in medical science have been based on information derived from evil origins. Nazi experimentation on humans during the second World War led to knowledge which informs modern orthopaedics, for example. While never condoning evil acts so that good may result, the Bible teaches of a loving God who seeks to make good out of evil. Though linked, participation in the good does not endorse the evil. However, this argument fails in two crucial ways.

First, there are alternative vaccines in development that do not use the cells of aborted babies. And hence, we are not faced with a Hobson’s choice of either using a vaccine associated with abortion versus accessing nothing at all. As Dr. Scott B. Rae concludes in Spare Parts From The Unborn?: The Ethics of Fetal Tissue Transplantation           

One viable alternative is the combination of the use of tissue from spontaneous abortions and ectopic pregnancies for both transplants and the development of cell cultures from the most promising tissue. This is already being done for diabetes. Also, the development of neuroblastoma cells shows promise for treating Parkinson’s disease. The American Paralysis Association’s statement to the NIH Panel encouraged adequate funding to develop tissue cloning that will bypass the need for the fetus per se.

Second, the analogy with that of a murder victim is fundamentally flawed. This is because the person responsible for the baby’s killing is, sadly, their own mother. Hence, as LeRoy Walters explains:

In the case of a random homicide, there is generally no ethical objection to the use of organs from the deceased for transplantation purposes, provided that due respect is accorded to the corpse and that the proper consent procedures are followed. However, if a particular hospital became the beneficiary of an organised homicide-system which provided a regular supply of fresh cadavers, one would be justified in raising questions about the moral appropriateness of the hospital’s continuing cooperation with the suppliers.[1]

Walters then goes on to further elaborate in an important footnote,

One could raise the same question in reference to various types of collaboration with the Nazi death-camp system, however, in my view, the emotional overtones of that horrendous example would interfere with rational reflection on the issue at hand.

Dr. Kathleen Nolan, associate for medicine at the Hastings Centre, NY, agrees. As Nolan goes on to further argue in her paper, “Genug ist Genug: A Fetus is Not a Kidney” (Hastings Center Report, December 1988):

Within this model, the ability of the ‘proxy’ to make an authentic gift of fetal tissue depends critically on the prior relation. In cases of spontaneous abortion, mothers who consent to donation of fetal tissue are perhaps no different than other relatives who are faced with the death of a loved one. However, if a woman has opted to end her pregnancy, then ethical objections arise to her claiming the role of “mother” and serving as a proxy for a fetal donation.

It would in general seem desirable to disqualify anyone having agency in another’s death from the serving as a proxy for the purpose of making a donation. To participate in another’s death is ultimately to objectify that other, to use the other for purposes not of his or her own. 

Central to this entire debate is the issue of consent. It all basically comes down to when a human being is recognised as having achieved ‘personhood’. Because clearly the person most affected—i.e. the unborn baby—is unable to give consent that their life should be terminated. However, when mother decides to terminate her baby, she has morally relinquished the right to further decide what happens to their body. As Dr. Scott Rae explains:

Valid consent is impossible. The mother cannot be considered a legitimate proxy, having authorized the termination of the pregnancy. Elimination of consent, however, would further objectify the fetus and be inconsistent with the fact that biologically, the developing fetus does not represent the woman’s tissue. It would be well to avoid the notion of the fetus as the source of biological “spare parts”, a notion reminiscent of Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’.   

Ultimately the word of Psalm 139:13-15 provide not only timeless truth but also sound guidance.

For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Mark Powell is associate pastor of the Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Strathfield, NSW

 [1] LeRoy Walters, Journal of Religious Ethics (2 no 1 Spring, 1974): 41.

24 comments
  • lbloveday

    Even the ABC has properly reported on the submissions by the 3 NSW Archbishops, but when I made the following on-line comment on The Australian’s web-site, it was, par for the course, REJECTED.
    ***
    I will not, short of being hog-tied and injected despite my every endeavour to avoid it, receive a vaccine developed by the use of tissue from the bodies of aborted babies.
    ***

  • Andrew Campbell

    I am unsettled by the thought that Jesus told his followers to pay their taxes to the corrupt temple authorities and the evil empire of Rome. And He paid taxes Himself. I wish I could withdraw my taxes from paying for Medicare abortions but I can’t. The real world is so messy! And then there’s the unsettling thought that 0.0000001% (?) of Jesus’ taxes paid for His cross and the nails and the Roman execution squad. Perhaps I have to let this one go to The Keeper but swing at a clearer issue.

  • T B LYNCH

    COMMERCIAL VACCINE production requires a well characterised human diploid cell strain, free of animal viruses, free of activated cancer genes and which has a rarely found, immortal growth urge. Such a cell strain is Wi-38 launched by Dr Leonard Hayflick in 1962 from the lungs of a 12 week abortion, legally done for “social” reasons in Sweden. Wi-38 has produced billions of doses of vaccines. This cell strain is not a foetus, cannot be turned back into a foetus, and has no more moral significance than an ordinary cell line derived from a corpse 24 hours post-mortem, for the usually successful purpose of making a genetic diagnosis.
    The BISHOPS STATEMENT says that such vaccines may trouble the conscience of poorly informed Christians, but such scrupulosity has no foundation in reality.
    I write as a doctor who first cultured HUMAN CELLS from a corpse in 1963 to diagnose a baby with only one central eye [cyclops – the basis of Ancient Greek myths] the result of an extra human chromosome #13. Being a strict Catholic, I have avoided IVF in humans [though I have done it in other animals], which is so often just adultery in a test tube. Adultery is much more fun the old fashioned way, and you can actually see who you are doing it with, and enjoy the experience. In 1984 the Westmead Sperm Bank killed four mothers with galloping AIDS. The doctors were so dumb that they didn’t realise that sperm donors were sodomites, and riddled with venereal disease; they were so stupid they checked the donors genes instead of their germs. But there is more; six years later in 1990 I had 4 patients return from the Brisbane Sperm Bank with hepatitis C; I said where have you been? and they told me; well I said they didn’t get you pregnant but they certainly gave you a gift for life [in those days]. Reason – they were doing a cheap $2 antibody test on the sodomites, which takes 6 months to turn positive; I was doing a $50 DNA/RNA test which turns positive in 2 days. Such is life and morals.

  • lbloveday

    I of course do not have the authority of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but I reject:
    .
    2377. “Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable…..”
    .
    And I reject as an adequate alternative to having a child conceived of the mother’s egg and father’s sperm:
    .
    “2379: Spouses who still suffer from infertility after exhausting legitimate medical procedures should unite themselves with the Lord’s Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity. They can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children….”.
    .
    I’d choose eternal damnation before admitting having an IVF child born to a woman as a result of her egg being impregnated with her husband’s sperm is a sin, let alone asking forgiveness for said act.

  • T B LYNCH

    re Ian MacDougall: Life began 3 billion years ago as Archaea, discovered in 1977 by Dr Carl Woese. We are all direct descendants of Archaea. That’s why we all use the same genetic code and operate the same chemistry. The closest ancestor of man was a chimpanzee who fused two of her chromosomes to form human chromosome #2. The real difference between archaea, chimpanzees and man is similar to the difference between a moon rocket, a motor car and a bicycle – the way the construction materials are put together. Each individual human commenced her separate life as an egg in her mothers ovary, while mother was still a 24 week foetus inside grandmother. She remained in suspended animation for 30 years, her chromosomes stalled by the product of the mos oncogene. One day she burst out of mothers ovary and made a binding electrochemical decision – to select an X sperm and continue as a girl – or select a Y sperm and turn into a boy. [if she selected an empty sperm she could continue as Turners syndrome – a sterile female]. So life doesn’t begin at conception it began 3 billion years ago.
    Another problem with the ignorant statement that life begins at conception is well answered by one of my paternity patients – a boy with two fathers. The mother and fathers were enthusiastic adulterers. Mother ovulated two eggs. each egg selected a Y sperm from different fathers. The embryos hatched out of their eggshells on day 6, [yes men hatch just like birds and lizards] ran into each other, the cells mixed together, and formed one normal boy.
    Pope Paul VI understood all this biology. Accordingly he declared the ultimate party drug, the pill, taken by a married woman, to be gravely evil. [maybe its OK for prostitutes?]. The pill denies the egg – our true microscopic mother, her right to a natural life. Accordingly I have never prescribed the pill as a party drug. I have done a number of autopsies on unfortunate women who took it for fun and died of major lung clots. [I have prescribed the pill for disease]. Paul VI was correct: the pill destroyed the natural family, and acts as a human pesticide with a birth rate below replacement. And pill failures – 1/100 woman years -created the demand for industrial scale abortion.
    I”ve had to learn and implement an awful lot of new stuff since I left Medical School. Many voters don’t seem to have learned anything since primary school. They are easily fooled by evanescent fashions.

  • T B LYNCH

    re lbloveday: [1] May I suggest you cancel The Australian. The Australian campaigned for [1] the republic [2] Rudd against Howard [3] Turnbull against Abbott. The Australian is a bunch of con men.
    [2] True infertility is mostly due to inadequate gametes from one of the spouses. Adultery is the only effective “treatment”. If the husband is defective the new father is likely a sodomite. In these days of frequent divorce infertility follows the defective spouse. IVF with spousal gametes is mostly treatment for impatience – quite a few need ten years of trying. Oftentimes patients become pregnant after failed IVF. IVF babies result in 4% monsters instead of 2% – the result of helping defective gametes.
    [3] the Catholic Church has had bad popes and multiple simultaneous popes. Right now there are two popes. My opinion – Benedict is good; Francis is bad.

  • Ian MacDougall

    TBL:
    Semantics 101: “Life began 3 billion years ago as Archaea… ” On one definition of overall biological ‘life’, yes, perhaps. But then you switch to a new context for the word, as in: “Each individual human commenced her separate life as an egg in her mothers (sic) ovary…” It was that second sense as used by you that I originally used when I said: “To the Catholic, life has to begin at conception, complete with Original Sin as a factory-fitted standard: no options there at all.”
    But no committee of geneticists, molecular biologists and theologians has ever to my knowledge been able to come up with any sort of testable hypothesis concerning the transmission process, mechanism, call it what you will for the carriage of Original Sin from one generation to the next. Perhaps you could enlighten us. Shouldn’t be too hard, as to my knowledge it is not transmitted down any inheritance pathways save our human ones: though whether it is/was to be found in the genome of Homo neanderthalensis is a question that no palaeontologist to my knowledge has ever managed to resolve one way or the other.
    Nor do I think it could be present in chimps or the other great apes, because if it was I am sure that the tabloid press would have had it it all over the front page for week after week by now, and clerics would be all out to win them into their congregations and would have them hanging from the rafters and swinging from cathedral chandelier to cathedral chandelier. (Watch out for the stained glass windows…!)
    .
    The formation of the first cell would have been a most accelerating development in comparison with whatever came before: I assume molecules of nucleic acids and such were replicating away in that primordial organic broth which contained the bulk if not all of the carbon now present in the Biosphere, including the geological deposits of fossil carbon. That was the oceanic ‘broth’ first proposed to my knowledge by JBS Haldane. Under those conditions, the Earth and its ocean were IMHO one gigantic cell. Then molecular evolution would have really accelerated once the first cell membrane formed around the first little blob of protoplasm, turning it at long last into something we might call replicating cytoplasm, with nuclear membranes and cytoplasmic inclusions forming at some later stage, as per the Lynn Margulis model.
    As I understand it.

  • lbloveday

    T B LYNCH:
    .
    “Benedict is good; Francis is bad”. Hear,hear! I have stopped going to Mass even on days of obligation as my personal recognition of that.
    .
    “True infertility is mostly due to inadequate gametes from one of the spouses.”
    .
    In some cases due to a vasectomy when nowadays the sperm can be surgically collected, or if a reversal is chosen, which in the past was the only option, it may result in a very low sperm count and even your 10 years may not be enough, and as the couple wait the woman’s time clock ticks and every year increases the chances of a “monster”. Regardless of what the IVF staff may say, they do chose the “best” sperm to inject into the egg (to do otherwise would be a travesty). Said sperm may have won the race in a normal conception, but with IVF it does.
    .
    In the one case that matters to me, that resulted in a physically perfect child, beautiful like her mother and clever like her father was when he “wore a younger man’s clothes”, with each of her year 1-5 teachers using the word “delight” or “delightful” in her report.
    .
    “The Australian is a bunch of con men”
    .
    The Australian has, to my taste, particularly good women reporters (Shanahan, Sloan, Albrechtsen, Oriel and Collier/Kelly) and of the men I always read Henderson, Cater, Kenny, Ergas and McCrann. Well worth the $40 a month to me. The on-line moderators are a disgrace, and I’ve “promised”, for the nth time, to stop posting.

  • T B LYNCH

    Dear Ian,
    Original Sin works better than Marxist Perfectability. I don’t understand the theology.
    I don’t know how the first Archeon appeared. But Pasteur proved that all life comes from life. Abbott Mendel discovered the mechanism. God is the original life form and arranged it so.
    Einstein didn’t believe the Universe was created by God. Catholic Priest George Le Maître discovered the Big Bang in 1927 and wised up Einstein.
    Dear lbl,
    Saint Augustine, who used to be a wild boy himself, knew how low clergy could fall, and stated that even if the priest was the greatest sinner, he could still administer valid sacraments. Saint Augustine was the chap who figured out that God is outside of time, just like you are outside of the Moon, and can therefore see the whole of it at once. Your watching Neil Armstrong on the moon didn’t affect Armstrong’s free will, which is more like a free NO, the first word a smart girl learns. That was before Xi: I hear he is actually destroying Chinese free will by watching everyone all the time. It wont last.
    Vasectomy, the male surgical equivalent of the 1960 female pill, suddenly rose like a new star over the horizon in 1970. This created a major moral dilemma for me. Every second male lined up for a vasectomy.
    I decided not to process the specimens, simply stored them, and waited for all hell to break loose. Nobody ever rang up for a result. The silence was deafening. Medicare called a meeting for suggestions on how to reduce costs. I advised stop paying for vasectomies, which at best are plastic surgery and at worst genocide. 20 years later Medicare stopped paying, you cant expect government workers to be greased lightning.
    In 1975 a deputation of obstetricians arrived and said – It’s time for you to open a sperm bank. I was shocked for 2 seconds and them said – Boys the bank is open right now: but I lead a dull life – 14 hours a day in the lab 365 days a year, and you need high quality sperms; besides fresh is best: so we’ll skip the bank bit and I’ll do the job myself. Nobody ever came. On another day a patient came in for a fertility test which I always did on the mother – not the father. A few weeks later her doctor rang and said -Hey that patient got pregnant when she visited you – after years of trying. So I said – Well we aim to please – and left him wondering.
    As a GP I met a number of women dying to be infertile. As as pathologist, in thousands of autopsies, I never found anyone who died of infertility. Infertility is only fatal for a nation.

  • Doubting Thomas

    lbl, I agree about the Australian. It’s columnists are generally excellent, but Paul Kelly is long past his Use-by date, and PvO is unreadable. I particularly agree about its on-line moderators.
    As for Pope Francis, if I hadn’t already bailed out at Vatican II, I’d have left the moment he arrived on the scene. For me, continuing belief in a Church capable of electing a Marxist/liberation theologist as Pope is utterly impossible.

  • lbloveday

    Too long ago for me to remember how much a vasectomy cost (I paid myself, as I always do unless broke), but I looked it up on Marie Stopes’ site and it gives today’s price as “From $790 at a day surgery”.
    .
    But I do remember the snip – local anesthetic lying on a bench in the local Medical Centre, cut, snip, stitch, out the door and I was giving my 3-hour night lecture 90mins later (I did sit on the table for a few minutes periodically). $790 MINIMUM!
    .
    I seldom visit a doctor, pretty well just for injuries. Last time was two years ago when I asked the GP, whom I know well, for a cortisone shot in my shoulder, but apparently that’s verboten these days, so he gave me a referral to have a ultra sound scan. I rang to make an appointment and was quoted $300, with the possibility of an Item 23 charge if the scan indicated a consultation (the GP wrote “Ultra Sound (& injection?) or similar on the referral).
    .
    When I reported to the receptionist she asked for my Medicare card and I said that as I’m not quite broke yet, I’ll pay my own way. After a bit of discussion about my objection to routine use of Medicare, how much better it was back in 1972 when around 90% of people had proper private insurance**, and an assurance I’d pay on the spot, she said they would only charge $170, more if a consultation followed.
    .
    The scan indicated a steroid injection, which a doctor gave and then wrote across my form “No charge Item 23”.
    .
    So I paid $170 cash instead of about $350 which would be the cost using Medicare. Don’t tell me that the clinic made a loss at $170, so it seems that the effect of Medicare is a massive increase in the cost of treatment – Socialism at work.
    .
    ** I had private insurance for years, but did not read the fine print and when I did make a claim, Medibank Private said they were not allowed by law to pay unless I claimed from Medicare first! They were not allowed to even pay for the gap, could not pay me anything unless I put in a Medicare claim, the avoidance of which was the reason I’d taken out private insurance. I went home, read the fine print and cancelled the insurance.

  • Doubting Thomas

    lbl, I’m old enough to remember when the two major funds, HCF and MBF, were started in Australia. As I recall, they followed the lead of the American Blue Cross, a fund created by doctors, for doctors, who were sick of being paid in kind, rather than cash, if they were paid at all. (No doubt the medicos in here will correct me if I’m mistaken.)
    I believe that it was the creation of the medical benefits funds that ultimately contributed to the costs blowout in health care.

  • Ian MacDougall

    DT: Why have one healthcare bureaucracy (eg Whitlam’s original Medibank) when you can have a much higher number of little bureaucracies all duplicating one another, thereby stimulating bureaucratic employment?
    .
    TBL: “Original Sin works better than Marxist Perfectability.” Perhaps, but in the same way that a push bike with 2 flat tyres works better than a wheelbarrow with no wheel at all. I do not believe in either, though in the course of my life I went through stages wherein I believed first in the one, then the other.
    “I don’t understand the theology.” It is understandable in terms of the proposition first advanced to my knowledge by the French sociologist Emile Durkheim: in brief, in any religious ceremony the group is worshipping itself; as in ‘the family that prays together, stays together.’ ‘Family’ including however many you like from Mum, Dad and the kids through tribe to nation. (Utilised for great evil by one A. Hitler.)
    .
    “I don’t know how the first Archeon appeared. But Pasteur proved that all life comes from life. Abbott Mendel discovered the mechanism. God is the original life form and arranged it so.
    Einstein didn’t believe the Universe was created by God. Catholic Priest George Le Maître discovered the Big Bang in 1927 and wised up Einstein.”
    .
    So let me get this right. All life comes from life, and ultimately from that ultimate life form, God. We can dodge the infinite regress here by choosing to believe that God has no beginning in time, and has always existed. But the critic of this can shorten the chain further by suggesting that what you hold true for God/s can also be true for the Universe: which in one form or another has arguably always existed.
    The God of Exodus 20 proclaims Himself to be “a jealous God”, thus implying that He is not the only god in the sky, and he is candidly jealous (ie displaying a human weakness or ‘failing’) of His divine competitors.
    I think it to be reasonable to conclude that Exodus and the rest of the OT was more likely drafted by a cleric or committee of clerics: with clerical needs at the forefronts of their minds. As per bureaucrats and health funds.

  • STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    The Gospel Coalition is Marxist. It pushes a faux Marxist gospel under the guise of social justice issues, hence the comment by Dr Megan Best. The Holy Spirit inspired words of Psalm 139:13-15 should remind us of our moral and ethical responsibilities with God’s gift of procreation.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Ian Mac, I don’t know how old you are but, as far as I know, back in the 50s a National Health Scheme wasn’t even a gleam in the ALP’s eye. It was just starting in the UK. BUT at that time, the Hospital Contribution Fund (HCF) and the Medical Benefits Fund (MBF) were two separate but allied operations. Subscribers had separate contributions books, and if you did not wish to cover both hospital fees and doctors’ fees you chose which one you needed most. It was quite a few years later that the funds started to compete directly with each other by offering coverage for both. A few minnows began to compete with the whales as time went by.

    In those days, the genuinely indigent, eg old age pensioners, the poor and others capable of passing a means test received treatment in hospitals as “public patients” either free of charge or for heavily discounted fees. Doctors maintained the right of admission of their private patients to public hospitals by attending to public patients in those hospitals. As someone who managed to spend six weeks as an inpatient, and a further six months or so as an outpatient, without bankrupting my working class parents, I know the system worked.

    So, I could see nothing to be gained by the Whitlam Government’s introduction of Medibank. The only “need” it met was Labor’s need to win an election. Socking the very loosely defined “rich” to pay for something they’d never need themselves is a time-honoured way to attract the envious, many if not most of whom would never forego a packet of cigarettes, or yet one more beer in the pub, that would have been more than enough to pay their weekly health insurance costs.

    If you’ve never worked in a Government bureaucracy, you’ve surely dealt with one. The private funds’ bureaucracies may not be ideal, but it’s unlikely that they are as bloated, inefficient and inaccessible as Medibank/Medicare bureaucracy is.

    The term “elective surgery” was never heard until Medicare “rationing” became the rule rather than the exception.

    For the record, I am a TPI veteran, so the question is moot for me, as I receive medical and hospital care free of charge. My wife maintains her private cover. We do not pay the Medicare levy. My contemptuous attitude to Medibank/Medicare funding arrangements long predate my TPI status.

  • Ian MacDougall

    StJofG:
    Dr Megan Best: “My own view is that the key consideration in whether using a vaccine which is manufactured using tissue from an aborted fetus is licit or immoral is whether there is material cooperation with the evil act of abortion. If the abortion were conducted in order to harvest tissues that were to be used for the vaccine, then it would clearly be immoral. But in the case of the COVID-19 vaccines created from the HEK-293 cell line, the abortion was carried out for other reasons, and the tissue was acquired after the child’s death for the purpose medical research. The use of the vaccine now will not promote further abortions for this particular purpose. It can therefore be argued that we are not morally complicit with the original abortion.”
    “Megan Best is a bioethicist who has promoted a christian view of medical ethics for over 20 years. She is married with two adult children and a son-in-law. She is a senior lecturer for the University of Sydney Medical Faculty and works as a palliative care physician in Sydney. She is the author of two books on ethics at the beginning of life: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made and A Life Already Started, as well as many articles on ethics and spiritual care at the end of life.”
    Well to some, there’s a Marxist behind every tree and burning bush I suppose. (Marx played an arguably progressive role in human history.) But the ‘Marxism’ of this Gospel Coalition is a new one on me.
    Still, St John, we live and learn. If you are opposed to the above you are saying that the tissue of the aborted foetus should be incinerated, buried or otherwise disposed of rather than be used to help those whose lives are in peril. I am not sure that the St John of Gospel fame would agree. Actually, I am pretty sure he would not. And please note: I speak here with all the authority of an ex-Christian.

  • lbloveday

    “The private funds’ bureaucracies may not be ideal, but it’s unlikely that they are as bloated, inefficient and inaccessible as Medibank/Medicare bureaucracy is”.
    .
    An example of Medicare bureaucracy, going back about 10 years when I attended my GP for a heart event:
    .
    My GP does not have my Medicare Number, my D.O.B on his records is 2 months away from the one on my Medicare account, and the address he has is different from the one Medicare has. I pay him in cash on each visit.
    .
    He sent me for blood tests and on each occasion I paid the blood-test company in cash (they charged 8 times the Medicare Bulk-billing rate, which they said “everyone” else uses). Yet when I checked my Medicare account, they had charged Medicare for the procedures I had already paid for.
    .
    Thus:
    (1) I did not authorise them to charge Medicare.
    (2) They were able to obtain my Medicare Number despite not knowing my D.O.B or address on Medicare records, which suggests Medicare Staff divulged that information, which has to be a breach of Privacy Law.
    (3) They double-dipped.
    .
    I contacted the Medicare “fraud squad”, who contacted the blood-test company who then offered to refund what I had paid them, which offer I refused – I pay my own way while it is still legal to do so and am not broke. Two Medicare staff visited me and denied it was “double dipping”, let alone theft from Medicare – a mere slip they said; “nothing to see here”!
    .
    And they never addressed how my Medicare Number was released to the blood-test company, nor answered my follow-up letter repeating my request for that information.

  • Ian MacDougall

    DT:
    “Ian Mac, I don’t know how old you are…”
    80 at last birthday. Cheers

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    The concept of ceasing breeding animals, just to kill them for some path test or lab result, has had a robust history in Veterinary Science.
    Back in the 80’s the standard pregnancy test for mares involved killing a lot of mice.
    It involved collecting serum from a mare and injecting it into 18 to 21 day weanling suckling female mice, interperitoneally.
    There were two subjected to this and at least one out of contact control.
    After a day or two all mice were slaughtered and postmortemed to read the test.
    Back at the lab endless mice were bred and if not ‘used’ by 21 days, were ‘discarded’.
    The English concept is ‘mass slaughter’.
    The MIP benchtop test came in and the wholesale destruction of mice was declared ‘unethical’.
    The same thing happened in the testing of cosmetics on live rabbit eyes.
    There was a better way.
    I can’t see the problem in advocating that vaccine manufactures stop benefiting from the intentional killing of the unborn.
    Having read Archbishop’s Fisher’s comments, there is nothing unusual about them.
    Sure I would use a Mae West if in the water drowning, despite the fact that the science was developed by swimming Allied airmen in tanks till they drowned.
    That does not make Mae Wests a proximate Evil.
    Neither is the Astra Vaccine an objective evil, unless there are more transverse myelitis cases or untoward reactions.
    However I oppose killing off the unborn and harvesting their organs and cell lines.
    That’s consistent with objecting to the breeding and unnecessary slaughter of even the humble mouse or rabbit.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Ian Mac, SNAP!

  • T B LYNCH

    Christ taught us to worry about the beam in our own eye before we complain about the speck in our brothers eye.
    To all those worried about cells – I say worry about your own true children – your haploid cells – sperms in the case of men – ova in the case of women – and treat them with the enormous respect they deserve.
    Equally so, allow the next diploid generation – a human embryo – the dignity of natural life and death.
    And let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    Ian M
    ‘the infinite regress here by choosing to believe that God has no beginning in time, and has always existed. But the critic of this can shorten the chain further by suggesting that what you hold true for God/s can also be true for the Universe: which in one form or another has arguably always existed’
    This was the rock that broke my interest in Atheism.
    Sure one can hypothesise that the universe has always existed in some form, but there is no way to actually prove it.
    To be science, it has to be a testable hypotheses.
    So being an Atheist is an act of Faith.
    Is safer to call yourself an Agnostic and believe there is no God.
    In his age I once asked my father, an Agnostic, if he believed in an afterlife.
    He replied in words to effect ..I rather think, not but I will be interested to find out.
    The words of a true scientist.

  • rosross

    What is odd about the religious reaction is the fact that material from aborted foetal cell lines has long been used in making vaccines. It is not new. Perhaps Covid has simply informed people about something which has been with us for a long time.

    Indeed, in the manufacture of vaccines we do not simply see the use of material from aborted foetal cell lines, but material from birds and animals, all ‘whipped’ up together in a Frankenstein cocktail which is impossible in nature and for which no human body has ever evolved.

    Vaccine production knows and has no limits, or ethics. One other touted practice is using cancerous cells to cultivate vaccines – they live longer because they don’t die as easily and that saves the manufacturers money which is always important.

    In truth, few people would drink the stuff if they read how vaccines are made, what they contain and what they are designed to do, let alone have it injected into their body or that of a baby or child with an immature immune function.

    Perhaps we should thank Covid for raising awareness about vaccines, the greatest and possibly, most destructive medical experiment in human history. After all, what does it do to a human body to have something injected into it which is a combination of animal, human and bird material, along with genetic alterations, and a heap of synthetic chemicals? There was a time when science-medicine said it would take two generations, the first giving birth to the second, to grow up and live generally healthy lives to know the full effect of an invasive treatment. If we take 70 as a goodly age, that is 140 years, so, with the max-vax age taking off about 40 years ago, where kids went from 2-3 vaccinations at older ages, to more than 50 vaccinations in the first five years of life, beginning within hours of birth if not in utero, we have about a century to go before we can truly know what vaccines might do to the human organism.

    Although, if they have it wrong, we might not even get a century. But hey, money to be made, things to do, why bother about the future of humanity?

  • rosross

    In terms of animals used in research, it is also worth bearing in mind that these are genetically altered and bred to have certain characteristics which will suit the experiment. Quite how an animal, which is not natural in the first place, could offer viable information which related to normal animals of the same breed, let alone humans, is the real question.

    Perhaps it is why modern or Allopathic medicine has such a high kill and injure rate – now around third place as a killer, most of it from prescribed medication.

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