Pro-Life Groups say Merck is Partly to Blame for Measles Outbreaks

Feb 2, 2015

Getty Images

By Ed Silverman

As the measles outbreak focuses attention on parents who object to vaccination, some pro-life groups argue one culprit contributing to the problem is actually Merck, which makes the only measles vaccine available in the U.S. And some have begun a new campaign this week to pressure the drug maker to alter the composition of its vaccine.

At issue is the MMR – or measles, mumps and rubella – combination vaccine sold by Merck. Pro-life groups say they object to the rubella component on religious grounds because it was made using cell lines derived from aborted fetuses. As a result, the groups say pro-life supporters have avoided the MMR vaccine ever since Merck ended production in 2009 of a dedicated measles vaccine.

“The current outbreak would not be as severe or widespread if parents had the ability to access separate vaccines,” says Debi Vinnedge, the director of Children of God for Life, a non-profit, pro-life organization. “Parents are being unfairly targeted as the problem when Merck is the problem. If they had the separate doses available more people would have been vaccinated.”

To what extent a separate measles vaccine might mitigate any recent outbreak or uptick in the disease is unclear. Children of God for Life and the American Life League, another pro-life group that this week has called for Merck to change its vaccine production, are uncertain of the number of supporters who would vaccinate their children if MMR was not offered only as a combined product.


Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.

34 comments on “Pro-Life Groups say Merck is Partly to Blame for Measles Outbreaks

  • As a result, the groups say pro-life supporters have avoided the MMR vaccine ever since Merck ended production in 2009 of a dedicated measles vaccine.

    The biological ignorance and scientific illiteracy of many so called “pro-life” groups, is fully in keeping with the bronze-age concepts of medical treatments.

    Pro-life groups say they object to the rubella component on religious grounds because it was made using cell lines derived from aborted fetuses.

    Another case of “Biblical Science” believers, who think modern scientists are going to recognises their “bronze-age expertise” in medical specialisms!



    Report abuse

  • Pro-life groups say they object to the rubella component on religious grounds because it was made using cell lines derived from aborted fetuses.

    Ironic actually. The use of one irrational view as an argument in support of another irrational view.



    Report abuse

  • Turn the question around.
    Survey members of the Pro-Life group – rank and file and especially the leaders – and ask them (1) if their children are vaccinated (2) if they were aware that – according to Vinnedge and other leaders and organisations – the rubella component is ultimately derived from aborted foetuses (3) if this changes their views on future vaccinations of their children (4) if they’re at all interested why this has only been raised now in the midst of a measles outbreak i.e. whether it’s genuine concern or desperate point scoring.



    Report abuse

  • Saying a fetus was “aborted” does not necessarily mean the termination was intentional. It means the same thing it does in computer science — terminated prematurely.

    From my point of view, if Christians decide to kill themselves off, I am not going to stop them. They are my sworn enemies. However, it is too bad they spread disease to others in their attempt.

    The vaccines do not increase the number of abortions performed. So the objection is rather theoretical. It is not a valid enough reason to send brats out into the world to spread rubella, a hostile attack on your neighbours.



    Report abuse

  • 8
    Miserablegit says:

    When it comes to defending their religious beliefs it shows that these people are happy to put their children’s life at risk. A staggering level of contempt.



    Report abuse

  • When it comes to defending their religious beliefs it shows that these people are happy to put their children’s life at risk.

    True.

    The hypocrisy. How dare you abort a ball of cells. But it’s okay to kill my own child by not vaccinating.



    Report abuse

  • 10
    Lorenzo says:

    Every time I read about the deeds of the so-called “pro-life” groups it amazes me that such people have been able to reach adulthood. I mean, how come they never stick their tongues in the toaster since they are so dumb?



    Report abuse

  • Everything we are or own is derived from vile deeds – but we don’t live our lives in penance. At Abolition 20% of the value of the US economy was slaves, and the vast wealth of the US is derived from that, not to mention the dispossession of the Indians. My own country Australia, exists as a result of the slaughter of the Aborigines and appropriation of their land. Strange that you never hear of the Christian fundamentalist right refusing to partake of the wealth derived from the polluted history of imperialism.



    Report abuse

  • It seems to me such bloody minded stupidity is one of the best arguments for MMR vaccination that I’ve come across. I just wish that all religious twaddle could be neutralised by one quick jab. It’s just a shame that some parents see fit to deny the scientific evidence and put the wellbeing of their children risk. I just hope that sooner or later a ‘victim’ of this sort of ignorance turns round and sues their parents for every cent they’ve got. With luck It might even lead to an outbreak of common sense .



    Report abuse

  • doctors are to blame for the number of faith-healing deaths in the world.

    If they only offered an evidence-based proven faith-based treatment for curable illnesses…

    don’t get me started on cartoonists



    Report abuse

  • Meanwhile:- Medical science is helping to eliminate hereditary diseases.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31069173
    .In an historic move, MPs have voted in favour of the creation of babies with DNA from two women and one man.

    The UK is now set to become the first country to introduce laws to allow the creation of babies from three people.

    In a free vote in the Commons, 382 MPs were in favour and 128 against the technique that stops genetic diseases being passed from mother to child.

    During the debate, ministers said the technique was “light at the end of a dark tunnel” for families.

    Proponents said the backing was “good news for progressive medicine”.

    The Chief Medical Officer Prof Dame Sally Davies said a yes vote would put the UK at the forefront of scientific development.

    A further vote is required in the House of Lords. It everything goes ahead then the first such baby could be born next year.

    Mitochondria are the tiny compartments inside nearly every cell of the body that convert food into useable energy. They have their own DNA which does not affect characteristics such as appearance.

    Defective mitochondria, which are passed down only from the mother, lead to brain damage, muscle wasting, heart failure and blindness.

    The technique uses a modified version of IVF to combine the DNA of the two parents with the healthy mitochondria of a donor woman.

    It results in babies with 0.1% of their DNA from the second woman and is a permanent change that would be passed down through the generations.

    A review by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, as well as a public consultation by the fertility regulator, argued the creation of three-person babies was ethical.

    Three scientific reviews by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) suggest the technique is “not unsafe”.

    Prof Lisa Jardine, former chair of the HFEA, said the safety issue was a “red herring”.

    “All of those issues have been investigated,” she said. “The scientific committees have said there is no evidence this procedure is unsafe but like all good scientists, they say it will require careful progress.”

    . . . . .. . . . . While the usual faith-thinking fumble-brains, are trolling though their bronze age superstitions to concoct doubts and excuses for obstructing progress.

    Last week the Catholic and Anglican Churches in England said the idea was not safe or ethical, not least because it involved the destruction of embryos.

    Other groups, including Human Genetics Alert, say the move would open the door to further genetic modification of children in the future – so-called designer babies, genetically modified for beauty, intelligence or to be free of disease.



    Report abuse

  • In an historic move, MPs have voted in favour of the creation of babies with DNA from two women and one man.

    Brilliant science. The end of God inflicted cystic fibrosis. Truly a religious biological evil. Or god does not exist.



    Report abuse

  • 18
    Lorenzo says:

    Everything we are or own is derived from vile deeds

    That’s a bit of a bleak statement, don’t you think? It seems to me that humanity does do something more than just abuse and exterminate. Of course there is horror as well in our history -but, for the first time, the rejection of that horror is becoming absolute.

    Strange that you never hear of the Christian fundamentalist right refusing to partake of the wealth derived from the polluted history of imperialism.

    I don’t think they consider it polluted. After all, “the white man had God in his side, didn’t he”? The universality of christian love and respect is a very funny concept: they love themselves, their leaders and very few others -and, in general, they are very swift to curse or worse.
    I suspect that, deep down, christians believe that those dark pages weren’t that dark after all…



    Report abuse

  • I agree with you about their flexible consciences – but I rather think that might also apply to the rest of us!

    I didn’t intend to sound bleak – apart from violence and exploitation empires bring progress and cultural interchange and development. Remember the scene in The Life of Brian when the Trotskyists were arguing about the benefits brought by the Romans? But, if you want to guide your morality by scruple, as these fundamentalists do, then you have to ignore the good, in this case scientific learning, dedication, commitment, intelligence and hard work, and just focus on the one perceived evil.



    Report abuse

  • What also amazes me is people who have figured out the whole GOD thing was a lie and that Darwin had things basically right are so afraid of a little measles, and so trusting of random scientists.
    Yes it would have been nice to wipe out measles. But the US screwed that up by using Polio vaccination in the world to look for Osama Bin Laden.
    At almost 50 years old I fall into the group that survived the measles and am supposed to be naturally protected. Only for most people this is such a mild disease we didn’t notice getting it! according to Wikipedia “In 2006–07 there were 12,132 cases in 32 European countries: 85% occurred in five countries: Germany, Italy, Romania, Switzerland and the UK. 80% occurred in children and there were 7 deaths.[66]” . 7/12132 = 1/ 1733. And keep in mind deaths tend to happen to sick people(Darwinism at it’s best). So there is a bit of exaggeration going on in terms of how bad a disease this is, perhaps 3.4x. (I believe the flu kills more people in Ottawa)
    Meanwhile Dr. William Thompson has admitted that the data from a study for the CDC left out some data suggesting a very small link to increased autism in a very small part of the population. But now we can’t trust the CDC anymore. And the Safety statistics, which I find very hard to find actual numbers, are flawed. So if I can’t figure it out, how can parents trying to make a decision for their child? Inject a possible dangerous substance into their child, or take their chances on survival of the fittest? (I’m so glad I had my kids vaccinated before I knew the risks and they were unaffected-at least I think they were, because I would have a hard time making the decision nowadays).
    But Back to this article, If all the anti-abortionists want is a vaccine made without aborted fetuses, why doesn’t the CDC just have it made, and tested with double blind studies! Really there should be at least two companies producing competing vaccines anyway-{what’s going on with the anti-monopoly laws}. Personally I don’t have an issue with the cells they used, but if the goal is people getting vaccinated, I would be pragmatic about trying to create that vaccine.



    Report abuse

  • Wendy Feb 4, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Inject a possible dangerous substance into their child, or take their chances on survival of the fittest? (I’m so glad I had my kids vaccinated before I knew the risks and they were unaffected-at least I think they were, because I would have a hard time making the decision nowadays).

    Like creationists, anti-vaxers like to quote cherry-picked, discredited and long refuted studies.

    The triple MMR vaccine is not just for measles, but Rubella can cause serious deformities in foetuses if it infects pregnant women.



    Report abuse

  • Do vaccines contain cells from aborted fetuses?

    No. Vaccines do not contain human cells or tissue. During purification of the vaccine all cells are removed. Human cell lines are used in the early stages of production of some vaccines* because viruses need a living cell to grow. The virus for the vaccine is grown in a human cell line, then killed or damaged so it cannot cause disease. This cell line comes from legal abortions in the early 1960s and continues today from the original source. The abortions were not conducted for the purpose of vaccine discovery or vaccine production. No new fetal tissue is required in the ongoing production of vaccines because cell lines can reproduce themselves in culture and can be used for a very long time.

    *MMR, varicella, hepatitis A, Rabies, Quadracel and TdP

    Vatican documents confirm that “In the absence of effective alternatives, individuals may use the morally tainted vaccines”, and assert that it is necessary to “provide for the good of one’s children”, including the prevention of disease where possible.
    http://immunize.ca/en/publications-resources/questions/fetal.aspx



    Report abuse

  • 23
    Charlotte says:

    Just because a majority of those who catch a disease survive or have few symptoms that doesn’t mean the illness is harmless. A gross simplification would be that when deaths occur as maybe one in a thousand for the disease, it’s closer to one in a million with the vaccines. And still people fear the vaccines more (even if they reduce deaths by a factor of 1000!). And they forget about all the other negative effects the illnesses may have, besides death.

    I wrote the below rant almost exactly a year ago, after another vaccination related article here at rdn (though publsihed at facebook not here):

    Rumors about vaccinatins leading to serious side effects such as autism means fewer people choose to get themselves or their kids vaccinated. The result is an increase in several serious illnesses around the world. (http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2014/1/26/how-vaccine-fears-fueled-the-resurgence-of-preventable-diseases)

    Some people think “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Well, it can also make you crippled for life. So get your shots and make sure your kids get them too!

    Examples:
    Measles is a very infectious disease – nine out of ten exposed people will catch it, unless already immune. Complications range from pneumonia to encephalitis, blindness and death. Usually about 1 in 2000 people die but between 1987 and 2000 it increased to six times that, in the US. Life threatening reactions to the vaccine on the other hand, occurs in less than one of one million vaccinations. Worldwide, 733,000 people died of measles in 2000. It was reduced to 164,000 deaths by 2008, but since then the disease has increased again. Because people fear vaccination.

    Mumps rarely leads to serious complications but it can lead to deafness, loss of fertility (in adult men and women) and death.

    Polio is highly infectious although most people who catch it won’t develop any symptoms. For about 1 % of the cases the virus enters the nervous system and causes muscle weakness and paralysis. Mostly this cripples the victims, sometimes it kills them (usually by weakening the respiratory system). About 1 in 200 cases (where symptoms occur) lead to paralysis, 5-10 % of these will die (that’s 1 of 2000-4000). There are two types of vaccine – one which cannot cause paralysis like the original disease and one which may do so in 1 out of 750,000 recipients.

    That a large part of people who are infected with these viruses don’t develop symptoms (about 90 % for polio, 30 % for mumps) means that the diseases can spread rapidly before being discovered and contained. The more people who are vaccinated the harder it is for the disease to spread. So if you choose to NOT get a vaccination, give thanks to all those people around you who keep you safe by doing it. For vaccination programs to be efficient they require something like 90 % of the population to be vaccinated.

    By protecting yourself you also protect the people around you. By opting out you increase the risk for everyone else (no vaccination programme is 100 % successful, even vaccinated people can sometimes catch the disease). The math is simple, the time is late and I’ve ranted enough for one day. but if you are vaccinated against serious diseases like these – THANK YOU! (And sleep well!)

    (Examples info from wikipedia, some polio info from Unicef)



    Report abuse

  • 24
    Michael says:

    When are we going to refuse to use the term “pro-life” and start using the truthful name “forced childbirth” for these groups?



    Report abuse

  • Michael Feb 4, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    When are we going to refuse to use the term “pro-life” and start using the truthful name “forced childbirth” for these groups?

    Some times the assertions within the names are a clue to the deceptions!

    “True Science”, “Human Genetics Alert”, “Pro Life”, “Liberty University” etc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

    The tyranny is epitomised by Big Brother, the quasi-divine Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality but who may not even exist. The Party “seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power.”[4] The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party, who works for the Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to rewrite past newspaper articles, so that the historical record always supports the party line

    A bit like the bible and creationist websites!



    Report abuse

  • When it comes to defending their religious beliefs it shows that these people are happy to put their children’s life at risk.

    But they aren’t unborn children – guess they are the only ones who count.



    Report abuse

  • I don’t know what to say. How can thy put the children’s lives at risk AND spread the virus? Amazing! I think that is called “Child Abuse!”



    Report abuse

  • @OP At issue is the MMR – or measles, mumps and rubella – combination vaccine sold by Merck. Pro-life groups say they object to the rubella component on religious grounds because it was made using cell lines derived from aborted fetuses. As a result, the groups say pro-life supporters have avoided the MMR vaccine ever since Merck ended production in 2009 of a dedicated measles vaccine.

    So when women who have not been vaccinated because of doctrinal bigotry, catch the rubella virus while pregnant, the “Pro-Disabilty forced childbirth” enforcers (such as those in Ireland), will also insist that doctors refuse an abortion to ensure that a baby lives with disabilities all its life!

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001658.htm
    Congenital rubella
    Congenital rubella occurs when the rubella virus in the mother affects the developing baby at a critical time, in the first 3 months of pregnancy. After the fourth month, the mother’s rubella infection is less likely to harm the developing baby.

    Complications may involve many parts of the body.

    Eyes:

    Cataracts
    Glaucoma
    Retinitis

    Heart:

    Patent ductus arteriosus
    Pulmonary artery stenosis
    Other heart defects

    Central nervous system:

    Intellectual disability
    Motor disability
    Small head from failed brain development
    Encephalitis
    Meningitis

    Other:

    Deafness
    Low blood platelet count
    Enlarged liver and spleen
    Abnormal muscle tone
    Bone disease




    Report abuse

  • I see at the other end of life progress is being made to get the interfering Pro-suffering-and-sickness, busybody dogmatists, out of peoples lives and medical services! – At least in some places!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31170569
    .Canada’s Supreme Court has ruled that doctors may help patients who have severe and incurable medical conditions to die, overturning a 1993 ban.

    In a unanimous decision, the court said the law impinged on Canadians’ rights.

    The case was brought by a civil rights group on behalf of two women, Kay Carter and Gloria Taylor, with degenerative diseases. Both have since died.

    The government now has a year to rewrite its law on assisted suicide.

    If it does not, the current law will be struck down.

    Assisted suicide is legal in several European countries and a few US states.

    In Canada is it illegal to counsel, aid or abet a suicide, and the offence carries up to 14 years in prison.

    “This is one incredible day,” said Grace Pastine of British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, which brought the case.

    “Physician-assisted dying is now recognised for what it is – a medical service that brings an end, for some individuals, to unbearable suffering.”



    Report abuse

  • The CBC interviewed researchers testing various messages to parents to get them to vaccinate their children.

    To their dismay, NOTHING worked. In fact explaining the autism bogus connection had the opposite effect.



    Report abuse

  • There appears to be progress on the early diagnosis of autism in babies.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31166013

    .Frequent eye movements in babies could be a clue to whether they will develop an autism spectrum disorder, a Medical Research Council study suggests.

    Using eye-tracking technology, researchers measured 100 six-month-old babies looking at a static image.

    Those later diagnosed with ASD moved their eyes around more often, which could be a cause of learning problems.

    Autism charities said the findings could help identify children at risk of autism.

    Dr Sam Wass, lead author of the study from the MRC’s cognitive brain sciences unit, said this was a new finding that needed to be checked with more research on more babies.

    The study stressed that eye movement on its own was not a reliable indicator that a child could be diagnosed with autism in the future.

    But it could be a subtle early indicator of behavioural difficulties and a different way of processing visual information, Dr Wass said.

    “Adults with autism spectrum disorders can sometimes process visual information more rapidly than other people, and perhaps that was happening for infants in our study.

    “Alternatively, it could be that these babies need a higher level of stimulation, so they move their eyes more frequently to get more stimulation.

    “Or it could be that when they look at something they are not engaging with it in the same way as other children tend to.”

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/measles/

    Children should be given the first dose of MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age
    . … later, but is usually given before the start of kindergarten at 4 to 6 years of age.

    If there is diagnosis from 6months onward, this could be before MMR vaccines are given.



    Report abuse

  • System Marked Down Feb 10, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Found this:
    //www.immunize.org/concerns/vaticandocument.htm

    So briefly: – according to the Vatican, Catholics may reluctantly use these vaccines under protest for the good of their children and the general population, , but alternatives “must be found as soon as possible” because the Vatican has its head up its backside over cell cultures from aborted foetuses!

    Faith-thinking gives them delusions of authority and expertise on any subject!!

    The sheer length and verbosity of the preamble, should deaden the brains of the scientifically illiterate, in preparation for them swallowing pontificated garbage as conclusions!



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.