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Vaccine Ethics Statement

CUI Together

Statement on the Ethics of COVID-19 Vaccines

Some in our community have raised thoughtful questions regarding the ethics of COVID-19 vaccines involving fetal cells derived from abortions. To help provide some clarity, and to enable our community to act on the basis of an informed conscience, we provide the following summary:

  • CUI affirms the sanctity of life from fertilization to natural death.
  • Genuine concerns for life exist on both sides of the COVID-19 vaccination question: concern for the use of aborted fetal cells in the design, development, production and testing of vaccines, as well as concern for the physical well-being of one’s neighbor endangered by the virus.
  • Neither CUI nor the LCMS has taken a position on whether someone should take or avoid a specific vaccine. Both desire that individuals are able to make informed choices.
  • Some Christian groups have taken specific positions on these issues. You may want to consult with your ministers.
  • The Pfizer & Moderna vaccines did not use fetal cell lines in the design, development, or production of their vaccines. Some testing was previously conducted with fetal cell lines. As far as we are aware, every pro-life group considers use of these vaccines to be ethical.
  • Johnson & Johnson & Astra Zeneca (Oxford) use cells that have been propagated from aborted embryos in the development and possibly production of the vaccine. These cell lines were isolated decades ago and have since been widely propagated. The vaccines do not contain fetal tissue, but because of their origin, are considered ethically controversial.
  • We join the LCMS in maintaining that Christians should respect the consciences of one another on a question where Scripture and the Synod have not spoken expressly.
  • You can review the current LCMS factsheet on COVID-19 vaccines here

If you are struggling with your decision, our bioethicists Scott Stiegemeyer and David Loy, as well as the clergy on campus are available to discuss this with you.

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