Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. provided President Trump with his antibody COVID cocktail that helped him recover from his COVID-19 diagnosis last month. The solution, called REGN-COV2, uses antibodies from recovered patients who had COVID formerly to treat the deadly virus in others. It was approved just this week for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the fight against this raging pandemic that has been pounding Americans since March.
And while that is good, not all the news about Regeneron’s new COVID cocktail is. In fact, Republicans will want to take note that Regeneron’s antibody cocktail could highlight a moral dilemma for “red” voters.
What is it? We’ll get into it below.
Trump’s covid cocktail: what is it?
What is Trump’s new COVID cocktail? It is a solution that includes, as I said above, antibodies from recovered COVID patients. As with all sicknesses, patients who recover build up immunity in the form of antibodies. So recovered patients who are healed from the sickness (no longer tests positive, in the case of COVID) can give blood. Their blood contains antibodies that, in one way or another, are extracted and used to help the sick recover. CBS News reveals that there are two types of antibodies in Regeneron’s new COVID cocktail: 1) those of recovered COVID patients (human) and 2) those of mice, who have recovered from COVID-19.
And this is good. There seems to be little that is dishonoring about using antibodies from one person to heal another. And recovered COVID patients who build up immunity want to donate antibodies to help others fight this disease. But Trump’s cocktail has a problem, a drinking dilemma, if you will.
trump’s covid cocktail: the moral dilemma
Regeneron’s new drink has a major problem: it is a solution that was tested in a laboratory from a line of cells (HEK 293T, to be exact) that come from an aborted fetus’s kidney tissue. The fetus was aborted in the Netherlands in the 1970s. Now, the drink itself isn’t made of cells from an aborted fetus, but cells derived from an aborted fetus were used to test the cocktail’s effectiveness.
Responses to the nature of how the COVID cocktail was developed range from “Trump is innocent, he had nothing to do with it, the drug is life-saving” to the opposite view. What is that opposite view? Here it is: how can Trump even drink a solution that was developed through the use of fetus-aborted kidney tissue cells? Those cells were used to test how well the drug would perform. Even if they weren’t used to make the drug itself, the COVID cocktail is still guilty by association.
Think about it. Republican Christians are vehemently opposed to abortion. They say they’re pro-life. But if they’re pro-life, then they are opposed to abortion. And if they’re opposed to abortion, then they should be opposed to anything that science, medicine, or other biological research could stand to gain from an abortion. In other words, Republican Christians cannot oppose abortions and then benefit from them while still claiming to be pro-life and anti-abortion. No one opposes that which benefits them. I’ve never seen someone claim to be anti-paycheck because every paycheck pays the bills, keeps food on the table, money in the bank, and maintains a way of life.
Think about it, Republican Christians: if you saw a Democrat opposed to killing animals, yet they were using a medicine that was tested on animal cells in development, would you not call them out on it? You would. So then, how can your President, your presidential selection, drink a COVID cocktail that was made from aborted fetal cell testing and still claim to be pro-life and anti-abortion with a straight face? How could you take the same Regeneron COVID drink while claiming to be so pro-life that you’re vehemently opposed to abortion for any reason?
using aborted fetal cells in medical research: inhumane
Here’s another thought. If you’re a Republican Christian who believes that it’s inhumane to abort the life of an innocent child, then it’s just as inhumane to use that child’s cells in medical research. The reason? That child didn’t consent to its abortion, and the child can’t consent to the use of his or her body or organs for medical research. Adults get to decide whether or not to be organ donors. The aborted fetus didn’t grow to adulthood and so, never had the choice regarding organ donation or cell or blood donation. And since that fetus didn’t decide 1) to die or 2) to donate its body to research, medical researchers using the fetus’s cells and organs are committing a second violation of that child’s personhood. I’m using fetus here, but I mention “child’s personhood” because Republican Christians strongly believe that life begins at conception.
So if life begins at conception, as Republican Christians say, and they believe that’s an argument against abortion, then that same statement also applies to abortion-related medical research. You can’t be both anti-abortion and pro-abortion research. It’s contradictory and hypocritical.
conclusion: think before you drink
Some would say that President Trump had nothing to do with the aborted fetus. He didn’t sanction the death of the unborn child. He didn’t cause the parents in any way to terminate the pregnancy. He is simply the recipient of a COVID cocktail that saved his life, so what’s the problem?
First, Trump has stock in Regeneron, which means that once again, he’s putting profit above people and life-saving techniques. Remember, this is the same man that used Remdesivir, a drug that’s been said to have little benefit in surviving COVID, for some days before stopping. Remdesivir was tested using the same line of aborted fetal cells as Regeneron’s COVID cocktail. And Trump has stock in not only Regeneron but also Remdesivir.
Next, Trump has also acted to prevent further use of newly aborted fetal cells in development testing. Yet and still, he ingested a drink associated with aborted fetal cells because the legislation he signed doesn’t pertain to older fetuses such as the 1970s one from the Netherlands. Just because something is accessible doesn’t make it moral. An unhappy husband may be able to commit adultery with another woman while his wife is away, but doing that because he can doesn’t make it right.
I’m not saying that Regeneron’s COVID cocktail won’t save lives. I’m not saying that medical research isn’t a good thing. But what I am saying is that abortion is either right or wrong, apart from the good that comes from it. The ends do not justify the means. So just because aborted fetal cell testing helps with COVID drugs and vaccines doesn’t mean that abortion is okay. And if abortion isn’t okay, then neither are the COVID medicines that result from it.
This argument makes sense. But I want Republicans to take life-saving treatments. I prayed for President Trump to survive COVID and am glad he drank Regeneron’s cocktail. I want Republican Christians to drink the cocktail too, if their lives hang in the balance.
And yet I think that, if Republicans see Trump’s COVID cocktail as a good, then they’ll have to reconsider their stance on abortion because, whether they like it or not, abortion cells have played a role (and continue to) in drug testing. And “pro-life” and “pro-abortion research,” like oil and water, don’t mix.