MDHHS Begins Implementing Coronavirus Vaccine Fetal Tissue Informed Consent

In a surprise victory—a partial victory so far—the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has begun implementing a coronavirus vaccine informed consent provision. The provision requires that patients be given informed consent if the coronavirus vaccine they will take was developed using cell lines taken from aborted babies.

The provision is in a pandemic supplemental spending bill signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on March 9. That Governor Whitmer signed it with no fanfare or opposition is a surprise; she didn’t release a statement claiming the provision was unenforceable. This success shows why it’s important for prolife legislators to keep working in even hostile legislative environments.

The MDHHS frequently asked questions document regarding COVID-19 vaccines now has a section explaining the use of fetal cell lines. It’s unclear what else the MDHHS is doing yet to enforce the provision, or if they will do anything else.

The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen coronavirus vaccine utilizes a cell line created from the retina of a healthy baby aborted at 18 weeks in 1985. The vaccine requires use of the cell line to produce doses, and thus this new provision requires people be informed.

Moderna and Pfizer do not use cell lines taken from aborted babies to produce their vaccines’ doses. However, they did use cells lines taken from aborted babies to test their vaccines in the research stage.

In news coverage by the Detroit Free Press, one State Senator described this provision as “putting politics into the process to scare people.”

It’s morally repugnant to hide information from people who would otherwise ethically object to taking the vaccine if they knew these facts. It’s the health officials who are unwisely playing politics by hiding information from people to trick them—and it’s only hurting their efforts in the long run because people eventually will find out and wonder why such information was hidden.

If you are receiving the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine and you were not given proper informed consent involving the use of fetal tissue in vaccine development—either verbally or in written documentation—please e-mail us at and let us know! Please also contact the MDHHS’s Division of Immunization at (517) 335-8159.

For more information about this topic and a list of all coronavirus vaccines that used fetal cell lines in either research or production, please visit the Right to Life of Michigan website: