- What's the connection between the surge in measles cases and Merck's MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine? Pro-life groups point out that the rubella component was made using cell-lines from aborted fetuses, WSJ's Ed Silverman reports.
- The thinking is that pro-life parents who are aware of how the MMR vaccine is formulated are refusing the vaccine on the grounds that it goes against their values.
- Although measles has not been indigenous since 2000, within the last two years, there have been large outbreaks—largely because people are refusing to vaccinate their children for various philosophical or personal reasons.
Between 2001 and 2011, there were 63 outbreaks of measles in the U.S., but the number of cases increased significantly in the last couple of years. Pro-life advocates have put pressure on Merck to change their production strategy.
The response from a Merck spokeswoman as communicated to the Wall Street Journal: "There is no medical reason to administer the measles, mumps and rubella antigens separately and the (CDC) guidelines do not support their use. Major religious groups have accepted use of the rubella vaccine because of the public health value it provides and because there is currently no alternative to prevent this potentially serious disease."