By Judie Brown
The mentality that having a child is a project or an achievement is becoming more prevalent in our society. Gone seem to be the days where babies are seen as a blessing from God—no matter the gender, the eye color, or the level of ability they can attain. We now must watch as scientists work toward “creating” that “perfect” child—no matter the cost. And what exactly will this do to our society in the future? Read today’s commentary for Judie Brown’s insights.
We can all remember reading predictions that at some point mankind will become immortal. Perhaps we have heard that there are techniques afoot that will eliminate disease and make the human being into something superior to himself, thus redefining us as transhuman. This is not science fiction and it is no longer in the realm of predictions for the future.
In fact, transhumanists and their allies tell us, “Therapeutic human cloning, stem cell therapies, synthetic organs, molecular nanotechnology, and the digital-cerebral interface may allow us to achieve immortality in this century.” It’s all about the science, the use and abuse of human embryonic stem cell research, and the Orwellian practices that accompany such not-so-normal science.
It behooves us, as pro-life advocates, to learn more about these machinations because the integrity of the human being as we know it is at stake. In fact, Kyle Munkittrick’s article in Discover magazine explains that the use of “responsible reproduction” is part of the plan:
Those who do choose to reproduce will do so via assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) ensuring pregnancy is quite deliberate. Furthermore, genetic modification, health screening and, eventually synthetic wombs will enable the child with the best possibility of a good life to be born. Parental licensing may be part of the process; a liberalization of adoption and surrogate pregnancy laws certainly will be. When global births stabilize at replacement rates, ARTs are the preferred method of conception, and responsible child rearing is more highly valued than biological parenthood, we will be procreating as transhumans.
While the article suggests that transhumanism is something that is not currently attainable, Wesley J. Smith cautions that there is every reason to be concerned. Smith notes, “Munkittrick expects future children to come into being via IVF or cloning technologies that will permit ‘genetic modification, health screening, and, eventually synthetic wombs’ to allow ‘the child with the best possibility of a good life to be born.’”
And that’s the rub because, as pro-life Americans already know, in vitro fertilization and its progeny have provided the scientific community with “material” for ghoulish research, thanks to extra embryos that might otherwise be destined for destruction or permanent states of frozen animation. IVF and other artificial reproductive technologies, such as human cloning, have long held that the embryos were not in fact human individuals but rather clumps of cells beginning with that single cell that can be manipulated in oh so many ways.
But it is this sort of verbal engineering that has made it clear to many of us that, without accurate human embryology as the foundation of our struggle, we will not succeed in ultimately protecting the human rights of every human person from creation to death. Every individual at every stage of development deserves equal protection under the law.
To make this case and seal the deal, we need only look at a recent Los Angeles Times report dealing with “embryos on the cheap.” IVF doctor Ernest Zeringue is in the discount baby business. He “sharply cuts costs by creating a single batch of embryos from one egg donor and one sperm donor, then divvying it up among several patients. The clinic, not the customer, controls the embryos, typically making babies for three or four patients while paying just once for the donors and the laboratory work.”
Such a practice pinpoints once again the ethical error that is inherent in the practice of in vitro fertilization and its progeny. It expands the gateway through which the transhumanists will work their magic while dehumanizing those whose lives are manipulated by the practitioners.
Upon reading about Zeringue, scientist/philosopher Dianne Irving wrote, “So, how does the ‘good doctor’ in an IVF/ART research laboratory or ‘infertility’ clinic ‘create a whole batch of new human embryos (all of whom are new human beings) from one egg donor and one sperm donor’? Simple, really—and surely been done around the world for many decades now. He/she uses one of many asexual human reproductive techniques—‘twinning’ (blastomere separation, blastocyst splitting, embryo multiplication, etc.)—to artificially multiply many human beings from an original human being.”
The bottom line here is clear: This is not science fiction, but rather the result of cultural acceptance of IVF without those in positions to do so exposing the ethical reasons why it is and always has been wrong. In vitro fertilization is the cornerstone upon which the transhumanists will build their optimal vision of man. IVF and its progeny represent man’s capacity to propagate evil and call it good.
If pro-lifers do not become united in our quest to protect all innocent human beings and expose the inherent evils in practices such as IVF, it is we who will have committed the greatest error of all.
For more information on disturbing technologies currently being discussed, see the article entitled, “Neanderthal Babies All Around: Synthetic Biology Is Closer Than You Think”.
Judie Brown is president and cofounder of American Life League and a three-time appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life.