Lansing, MI — Right to Life of Michigan supports language in the Michigan House’s coronavirus budget supplemental bill requiring informed consent for vaccines developed using tissue taken from aborted babies.

The language in the bill states vaccine recipients “shall be provided with information or informed if and in what manner the development of the vaccine utilized aborted fetal tissue or human embryonic stem cell derivation lines.”

Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “People have a right to know. Informed consent is a cornerstone of our healthcare system and hiding this information from people isn’t a good long-term strategy for building trust in vaccines.”

Several coronavirus vaccines in development utilize cell lines taken from aborted babies to produce doses. The two coronavirus vaccines approved in the U.S. do not use cell lines taken from aborted babies to produce doses but used them to test the vaccines.

Listing said, “The original creation of these cell lines isn’t just an issue of improper informed consent. The cell lines were taken from babies in elective abortions. They were identified as perfectly human enough to be used for research and development, but not human enough to be protected from a violent procedure to take their lives.”

The two cell lines in question are HEK-293, taken from the kidney of a healthy baby aborted sometime around 1972, and PER.C6, taken from the retina of a healthy baby aborted at 18 weeks in 1985.

Prolife people disagree about the ethics of using vaccines that directly use these lines or use them in testing. Some point to these cell lines being decades old, and others point out that using them may encourage additional abortions to develop new cell lines. Right to Life of Michigan believes everyone has a right to know and decide for themselves whether taking these vaccines are ethical.

Listing said, “Everyone should agree that creating new cell lines from babies killed in abortions is fundamentally unjust. There is no need to rely on killing human beings to advance medical research.”

Some critics suggest that informing people of these facts would sow doubt or decrease trust in vaccines. Some critics spread disinformation to pretend that the source of these cell lines have nothing to do with abortion.

Listing said, “Withholding information from people is what sows doubt and decreases trust, because people are going to find out anyway. Do health officials want people to hear this from them, or find the information online themselves? The solution to the original violation of informed consent isn’t to keep violating informed consent in a series of noble lies. This budget provision helps take away the shovel from health officials who keep digging themselves into deeper holes of mistrust.”

Other vaccines and cell lines derived from abortions exist. Many of those vaccines have ethical alternatives. Right to Life of Michigan provides a list of these other vaccines and alternatives on our website.

For more information: Right to Life of Michigan Legislative Director Genevieve Marnon, (517) 487-3376,

Background information:
Origin of HEK-293 and PER.C6
Other vaccines and alternatives
Budget supplemental language