Last October, when then-President Trump caught coronavirus, CNSNews.com worked to distance him from claims that the Regeneron treatment he received made use of a stem cell line derived from an aborted fetus, thus relieving him of any culpability that might tarnish his anti-abortion credentials. Now, with a coronavirus vaccine becoming more widely available, CNS is reviving that debate again. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman pushed the issue in a Jan. 4 article:
The Vatican recently issued a statement explaining that it is "morally acceptable" for a person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine that relied on the "cell lines from aborted fetuses" to produce. But the Vatican stressed that vaccination "must be voluntary," not compulsory.
People who object to vaccines "produced with cell lines" from aborted babies must take other measures to protect themselves from becoming carrriers of the virus, said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that clarifies and enforces the Church's moral teachings.
However, some Catholic bishops have stated it is immoral and not acceptable to use such vaccines because the recipient's "body is benefitting from the 'fruits' (although steps removed through a series of chemical processes) of one of mankind’s greatest crimes," abortion.
But Chapman never asked -- let alone answered -- the most pertinent question: Are the two vaccines approved so far for use in the U.S., from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, derived from aborted fetuses?
As it turns out, the answer is no. It was, however, tested on those cell lines -- which was also the case with the Regeneron treatment Trump received. That, again, was something CNS laboriously explained was a permissible use of the line that didn't taint the treatment with ethical concerns.
By refusing to explain that to his readers, Chapman muddied the debate on the issue by inserting complications that don't apply and which he had previously handwaved when they applied to Trump. A news organization should make things clearer, but that's not what happened here.
Chapman hasn't returned to the issue since, even though he should in order to clear things up and do some honest reporting.