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Wednesday, July 20, 2016
WND Anti-Vaxxer Promotion Update
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long been an opponent of vaccines, a promoter of discredited anti-vaxxer activists and blithe to the danger unvaccinated people pose to the public at large.

WND does this again in a July 15 article by Bob Unruh, who begins by devoting the opening seven paragrpahs to rehashing WND columnist Barry Farber's enthusiastic touting of an anti-vaccine film made by discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield, who ultimately lost his medical license for conducting a fraudulent, unethical study claiming that vaccines cause autism.

This, by the way, has nothing whatsoever to do with the ostensible subject of Unruh's article, which tells you all you need to know about just how anti-vaxxer WND is.

The rest of the article is Unruh rewriting a press release by the right-wing Thomas More Law Center about the case of a Michigan woman who objected to vaccinating her children on religious grounds since some are descended from the cells of aborted fetuses. Neither Unruh nor the Thomas More Law Center make clear whether the woman objects to all vaccines on those grounds or just the few that actually are -- Unruh is in stenography mode and isn't curious about finding out things that weren't in the press release. But if Unruh had bothered to read the complaint the law center filed, it states tha the woman's "personal religious beliefs also oppose all vaccines, even those that are not manufactured from aborted fetal cells, because she believes that the body is God’s temple and injecting it with chemicals that permanently alter the body violates the will of God."

The center of the complaint is about a fact sheet used by Michigan officials to claim that no religion opposes the use of vaccinesand claimed that Pope Benedict said that, according to the law center, "parents who chose not to give vaccines derived from [aborted fetal] cells would be in ‘more proximate cooperation with evil’ than those who gave their children the vaccines in question because of the life-saving nature of vaccines." Unruh responds, dutifully transcribing the Thomas More Law Center:

However, it said Pope Benedict never made such a statement.

“‘Moral Reflections,’ the Vatican document produced on vaccines containing the cells of aborted children by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, also did not contain any condemnation of parents who refuse to vaccinate, especially not the MDHHS characterization of parents who do not vaccinate their children as ‘evil.'”

But neither Unruh nor the law center state what exactly the pope said about vaccines. According to the statement by the pope, "there is a grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines" that did not involve aborted fetal cells "and to make a conscientious objection with regard to those which have moral problems." But he also stated that for those vaccines available only through fetal cell lines, the public good must also be considered:

As regards the vaccines without an alternative, the need to contest so that others may be prepared must be reaffirmed, as should be the lawfulness of using the former in the meantime insomuch as is necessary in order to avoid a serious risk not only for one's own children but also, and perhaps more specifically, for the health conditions of the population as a whole -- especially for pregnant women

The lawfulness of the use of these vaccines should not be misinterpreted as a declaration of the lawfulness of their production, marketing and use, but is to be understood as being a passive material cooperation and, in its mildest and remotest sense, also active, morally justified as an "extrema ratio" due to the necessity to provide for the good of one's children and of the people who come in contact with the children -- pregnant women. 

While the pope did counsel against vaccines descended from aborted fetal cells, he did not issue a blanket prohibition against them and he did not forbid the use of vaccines not created using that method. The Thomas More Law Center -- and, thus, Unruh -- is not being completely honest in their defense.

The irony is that WND and the law center are promoting this case while there is a sizable measles outbreak occurring in Arizona, the spread of which is being driven by people who have not been vaccinated. Indeed, measles outbreaks in recent years have been driven by the unvaccinated. Whoops.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 AM EDT

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