Catholic World News News Feature
Washington cardinal ends Georgetown University's use of aborted fetal cell lines January 07, 2004
A pro-life victory was realized in the last few weeks of the year when Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, DC, wrote a pro-life group December 15 to assure them that a "problem" at Jesuit-run Georgetown University "has been resolved." Children of God for Life Director Debra Vinnedge said that last fall she wrote the cardinal asking him to stop Georgetown from using aborted fetal cell lines.
Children of God for Life, which concentrates on the use of aborted fetal cell lines in vaccines, discovered that Georgetown University's Medical Research Center was using aborted fetal cell lines MRC-5, WI-38, IMR-90, and HEK (human embryonic kidney). Vinnedge said that GU's tissue culture bank inventory now shows that all the objectionable cell lines have been removed.
In his letter to Vinnedge, Cardinal McCarrick wrote: "I am happy to give you a report of the investigation which I was able to do of the tissue culture research being carried out at Georgetown University Medical School. I have had this matter thoroughly investigated and I am pleased to tell you that Georgetown Medical Center's Tissue Culture Bank is now well aware of the moral problems concerning use of certain cell lines and research involving tissue culture."
The cardinal expressed his thanks to Vinnedge, saying, "Thank you so much for your kindness in calling my attention to this. I am grateful to you for your vigilance in an important area of moral concern."
Vinnedge responded to the cardinal's letter: "It is with deepest appreciation that I write to thank you for intervening to stop the use of aborted fetal cell lines in medical research at Georgetown University. Your actions demonstrate a profound respect for the sanctity of human life and Catholic teaching. You have set an impressive example for other Catholic and Christian research facilities and have given us great hope that one day we may indeed put an end to all such illicit and immoral practices."