Yesterday morning I chatted on the phone with someone who had sent me a message  concerning the issue of abortion in vaccines, and I set about pondering a series of posts to deal with her questions and suggestions in a thoughtful and lengthy matter. Nevertheless, there are times when what one’s plans intersect surprisingly with what is going on. Yesterday, when I was writing about my plans for this series related to the issue of abortion, I did not see any sort of urgency in the task. Roe vs. Wade, that infamous decision, was written in 1973, and many millions of unborn children have been legally murdered during the decades since then . It was, to be sure, a horrific national evil that I strongly believe needs to be repented of so that our society can hope to delay or overturn the threat of divine judgment for the slaughter of so many potential godly offspring, but it was not something I considered to be a matter of urgency.
That is not the case today as I write this. For those of us who read our e-mails or are connected with social media, we are aware of the intentions of 81-year old Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy to retire at the end of this Supreme Court term so that President Trump can nominate a replacement. Shortly after that announcement, a schedule for appointing a new nominee was released by the Senate majority leader who wished to have Kennedy’s replacement confirmed by September or so, before the fall elections. The political pressure of that move appears fairly obvious, as Supreme Court nominations motivate activists on both the right and the left and those Democratic senators who are in more conservative states can be expected to weigh and balance the thought of having a potentially constitutionalist Supreme Court justice for decades on the one hand if they vote to confirm a choice or be voted out of office by angry voters almost immediately afterward. I do not pretend to know how this will turn out, but it is worthwhile to note that the subject I am writing about has taken on a much greater relevance than it had when it was first conceived.
Given how deeply divided the United States is concerning matters of politics, it bears to mention that Justice Kennedy is currently the middle voter of the nine Supreme Court justices, and all that is preventing a 5-4 decision to overturn the legal murder of innocent unborn children. For some, this moment is filled with hope that a national sin may be ended and so that some sort of measure of repentance for that evil–and many other ones–may undertaken. On the other hand, though, are those who view this situation with the utmost horror, with the thought that the American republic will soon turn into the Theocracy of Gilead, to borrow the overrated and overwrought approach of the novel The Handmaid’s Tale. What one side, myself included, see as the potential end of a genocide against the unborn is viewed by the other side as as harbringer of oppression for women by which their wombs will be oppressed by powerful and unscrupulous men. Paranoia is unfortunately far too much an aspect of our contemporary political culture.
Nevertheless, the fact that matters of abortion are, at least for now, going to be heavily mentioned on our news cycles and in social media does not mean that we should ignore some of the more obscure and dark corners of the abortion debate. As a single man who has never had any children nor been in the way of making them, one might think that abortion is of no personal or particular relevance to me. In general, although I am strongly opposed to abortion on moral grounds, and someone who sorrowed for the death of innocents in the face of our societal desire to engage in promiscuous sexuality without consequences, I did not consider the issue of abortion to be one that personally impacted my own life. No doubt many people feel the same way. Those who desire the open option to engage in the practice feel it personally, and those who wish not to be on the hook for decades of child support payments due to their own behavior may feel the issue personally, but those of us whose habits are different and who long for loving relationships and children of our own but whose circumstances do not involve families and family planning at present may tend to feel as if the issue is less personally relevant.
That said, when we continue this series we will look at the story of several unborn children whose death was involved in the creation and in the continuance of a set of vaccines that reminds us of the way that abortion has inveigled itself into other matters, and how the concern for the sanctity of life involves us in often complex dilemmas about the legitimacy of scientific research and the political pressure of engaging in behaviors that many (myself included) would view to be deeply abhorrent. Whether or not we engage in sexual activity, whether or not we are the fathers or mothers of unborn children either in the past, present, or future, and whether or not we tend to think of the issue of abortion as one which is personally relevant to our lives, the ubiquity of vaccines and their contentious nature in the contemporary world suggests that we ought to be deeply concerned about what we put inside of our bodies and about the legitimacy of opting out of that which is morally offensive to us but which is politically inconvenient to others. And so, let us go down the rabbit hole and examine the little-known history of a young child known to history as WI-38.
 See, for example: