Children are Not Widgets

Many Catholics do not understand why the Church considers IVF to be a moral evil. It is because children are gifts and NOT products As I wrote in this post the Church believes:

Human beings bear the image and likeness of God. They are to be reverenced as sacred. Never are they to be used as a means to an end, not even to satisfy the deepest wishes of an infertile couple. Husbands and wives “make love,” they do not “make babies.” They give expression to their love for one another, and a child may or may not be engendered by that act of love. The marital act is not a manufacturing process, and children are not products. Like the Son of God himself, we are the kind of beings who are “begotten, not made” and, therefore, of equal status and dignity with our parents  (Begotten Not Made: A Catholic View of Reproductive Technology (USCCB).

Marcel at Aggie Catholics has a story from Canada about the problems that occur with surrogate pregnancies.

When a B.C. couple discovered that the fetus their surrogate mother was carrying was likely to be born with Down syndrome, they wanted an abortion. The surrogate, however, was determined to take the pregnancy to term, sparking a disagreement that has raised thorny questions about the increasingly common arrangements.

Under the agreement the trio signed, the surrogate’s choice would mean absolving the couple of any responsibility for raising the child, the treating doctor told a recent fertility-medicine conference.

Dr. Ken Seethram, revealing the unusual situation for the first time, said it raises questions about whether government oversight of contracts between mothers and “commissioning” parents is needed.

A bioethicist who has studied the issue extensively argues that contract law should not apply to the transaction, unless human life is to be treated like widgets in a factory.

“Should the rules of commerce apply to the creation of children? No, because children get hurt,” said Juliet Guichon of the University of Calgary. “It’s kind of like stopping the production line: ‘Oh, oh, there’s a flaw.’ It makes sense in a production scenario, but in reproduction it’s a lot more problematic.”
Continue Reading.

There is a hopeful sign in this situation. There are actual people in the sciences and in academia who actually think that  it might be wrong to treat humans as products. Who woulda thought!

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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