(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) As Covid-19 vaccination efforts roll out across the country, those with strong religious convictions are facing a moral dilemma, protecting the community or protecting the unborn.
"Members of our congregations nationwide are having questions about the vaccines," Dave Oddi, pastor, St. Peter Lutheran Church said.
Oddi said he and his church have played a key role keeping his congregation informed on the topic.
At issue is the use of aborted fetal tissue in either the testing process or manufacturing of all three available vaccines.
The most recent from Johnson & Johnson has gotten the most attention as some church leaders have told their congregations to avoid it entirely.
While both Catholic and Lutheran denomination leaders remain strongly against abortions, in the catholic church, there’s an important exception.
"The use of such vaccines, a vaccine developed in cooperation with abortion is only permissible when there is no viable alternative," Dr. John Morris, director, Catholic Health care said. "That is the reality today with many vaccines including all of the current ones in development of Covid-19."
Catholic leaders added getting the vaccine and accepting abortion are not one in the same.
"Catholic teaching acknowledges the connection to abortion it is not ignorant of that and its not pretending that it does not exist, however it affirms that the use of vaccines like those developed for covid-19 does not condone the abortions done in the past, nor does it represent an approval of abortion in general today." Morris said.
Clergy understand the decision can be tough for the devout, and they encourage them to come to their own decisions.
"We recommend that people follow their conscience," Oddi said.
While no local clergy expressed outward opposition to the vaccine, a church leader in Kansas City, Kan. joined others in opposition.