I’d like to say another word about my old pal Abby Johnson, whom I’ve been trying to avoid noticing since she was photographed at the Capitol Riot this January. Specifically I want to address her statements about her family’s recent bout of COVID-19, and the dubious treatments they took to ease their suffering.
I need to tread lightly here, because Facebook didn’t like my last post about vaccines. In fact, they grumpily deleted it and claimed it was anti-vax because the algorithm didn’t see the word “not” in my joking paragraph about mercury, Disney movies and the number 666. Unless I’m wrong, and vaccines do contain those ingredients.
One thing that can be certain is that the COVID vaccines were, indeed, tested on the HEK-293 line of cells. As I’ve mentioned frequently on the blog, HEK-293 is not a person but a constantly growing blob of human kidney cells in a laboratory. These cells are descendants of a single cell which was taken from the cadaver of a dead fetus nearly forty years ago. It’s unthinkable and terrible that that baby is dead, but she wasn’t killed so that one of her cells could be made into a cell line. They took a cell from a baby that was dead anyway. HEK-293 cell line is no less ethical than any other cell line taken from a human cadaver. The fact is, most medical science involves cadavers at some point or another. I’ve benefitted from them and so have you. As my friend Father Schneider has pointed out, HEK-293 has been used to test the efficacity and safety of all kinds of medicines including Tylenol and ibuprofen. If you drink tap water, you’ve benefitted from experiments on the HEK-293 line.
But certain celebrities in the pro-life movement have manufactured an ethical crisis over the COVID vaccines, ostensibly because they are made using HEK-293. To hear them talk, you’d think HEK-293 was a brand new issue and there was a terrible moral dilemma. One of these voices is the famous Abby Johnson, who erroneously claimed that COVID vaccines contain actual body parts of unborn babies and announced she would refuse to take them. She went so far as to publicly reject Catholic teaching on social media, all because she thinks you shouldn’t use any product tested on HEK-293. Her husband then got on his social media to back her statement and claim they were going to “lead the Church” to a new moral teaching on the use of cell lines taken from embryo corpses. No medicine tested on HEK-293 was going to be introduced into Abby Johnson’s body or those of her family members, whether they got COVID or not. That was how she proposed to keep herself ritually pure.
This week, Johnson announced on Twitter that her family had come down with COVID. She claimed to have caught it from a vaccinated individual, which isn’t impossible– the Delta variant is extremely contagious and can cause a breakthrough case in vaccinated people, and that can be passed on to others. That’s why I still wear a mask in crowded places even though I’ve been vaccinated since April. Johnson claims she called “America’s Frontline Doctors” for a telehealth appointment, which doesn’t surprise me. America’s Frontline Doctors are an organization known for spreading fear about the COVID vaccine. The famous Stella Immanuel, who claimed that gynecological illnesses can be caused by having sex with demons in your sleep, is a member of America’s Frontline Doctors. That’s the kind of organization we’re talking about here.
Johnson claims that America’s Frontline Doctors prescribed her a cocktail of Prednisone, Zithromax, and Ivermectin. Prednisone is a corticosteroid used to treat inflammation and asthma, so that makes a certain amount of sense, though it seems to be bad for COVID according to one recent study. Zithromax is an antibiotic; you’ve taken it if you’ve been prescribed a Z-pack. Antibiotics are meant to treat bacterial infections, which COVID-19 is not, it’s a virus. Still, it is being tried on COVID patients to reduce their symptoms, and we’ll see if that works.
Ivermectin, on the other hand, is a veterinary de-worming medicine. Farmers give it to cows and horses to kill their parasites. It can also sometimes be prescribed, in a very different dose, to treat parasites in humans. COVID-19 is not a parasite, it’s a virus. Yet, due to some extremely preliminary lab data and good old fashioned mass hysteria, people averse to the vaccine have been ingesting veterinary-grade ivermectin to try to prevent and treat COVID-19 infections. This mass hysteria has led to a fivefold increase in Ivermectin toxicity this July. The FDA warns that ivermectin is NOT known to treat or prevent COVID-19, and that it can cause “skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, neurologic adverse events (dizziness, seizures, confusion), sudden drop in blood pressure, severe skin rash potentially requiring hospitalization and liver injury (hepatitis).” Yet people keep taking it. And now Abby Johnson claims she was prescribed Ivermectin by an extremely seedy outfit of superstitious quacks, and gave it to her family.
Johnson claims her fever and headache disappeared after just one dose of Ivermectin. I don’t believe her. I think she’s just shilling for America’s Frontline Doctors or perhaps just attention seeking in general, because shilling and seeking attention are what she always does. But for all I know it may be true.
The interesting thing to me, is not that Johnson claims she tried to treat her family’s COVID with horse pills. The interesting thing is that Zithromax has been tested on HEK-293. And so has Ivermectin.
These medicines are the exact same degree of separation from a dead unborn baby as the COVID vaccines. Ethically speaking, there’s no difference– meaning that if you follow the Catholic Church’s teaching on remote cooperation with evil, they are perfectly fine, and if you follow Abby Johnson’s eccentric position on ethics, they’re tantamount to murder.
And Johnson introduced both of those drugs into her body and that of her children without qualm, because a right-wing doctor told her to.
This illustrates that the pro-life movement’s supposed horror at the COVID-19 vaccines is baseless and merely politically motivated. They know full well that using medicines tested on HEK-293 isn’t controversial and doesn’t kill babies. They’re just against the COVID vaccines because vaccine skepticism and COVID denial are talking points of the Right Wing, and they want to be a part of that.
Do not listen to these charlatans. There is nothing pro-life about refusing a COVID-19 shot. What’s pro-life is doing the best you can to safeguard your health and the health of those around you. Get a vaccine, wear a mask in crowded places, and don’t drink horse de-worming medicines. There’s nothing controversial about that.
Image via Pixabay
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.
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