09 March 2009

An Exclamatory Opinion

Last October or November (2008), someone in the choir that I’m in came over to ask about my baby. I said that he was doing well and was starting to stand up on furniture. After a little reminiscing about her children, she said that her daughter was having difficulty having children and was going about trying to get in vitro fertilization (IVF).

I don’t know how it happened, but the Holy Spirit must have prompted me to immediately, I mean immediately say, “That’s unethical!” She is not typically a very emotional person, but she got quite a jolt by that exclamatory opinion. I was quite surprised too.

She said something like, “Oh?!” I then went into my little explanation.

I didn’t initially say that zygotes and embryos were human persons. Instead, I asked if she knew anything about IVF. She said nothing but the obvious. I said that they make extra embryos than needed, place more than one into the mother (usually three, I thought), and keep the others frozen. I said that’s why there were so many multiple births going on recently (this was way before the octoplet affair this year). My conclusion was that since they will probably destroy the “extra” embryos, it was unethical since human persons are destroyed (I didn’t know at the time that there usually is also selective reduction (killing of one or more of the embryos) done in the mother after implantation). (I did also say that human life created outside marriage was unethical since it created many problems, but very few agree with that.)

I suggested that her daughter adopt (what does my adopting have to do with killing children?). She then said, “Do you plan to adopt?” I said yes. She asked if my wife was agreeable. I said that she was the one who really wanted to (I also do, but women are more motherly).

At the end, she asked me if I was Catholic (Yes!). She then said I was entitled to my opinion, and we haven’t talked about it since (She left the choir after last semester).

I didn’t think of it before, but today’s executive order to lift the ban on federal dollars (my tax dollars!) for embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) reinforces the truth that IVF is unethical. From First Things blog:
So is Obama’s decision good not only for science. [sic] It’s also good for ethics. Why? Because this country produces and destroys countless human embryos every day in the name of fertility medicine [with IVF].

Of course, Dr. Caplan isn’t calling for a coherent ethical approach to science—for how can a denial of the intrinsic value of human embryos be coherent?—he’s calling for consistency. Unfortunately, he’s right. Denouncing the production of human embryos for science while silently looking over the problems of the fertility industry [IVF] creates a hypocritical double standard.

So, IVF is unethical for the same reason ESCR is. Namely, both destroy human persons in their most innocent and venerable stage of development (developmental discrimination; shouldn’t our first (half) African American president realize this?). Further, both have viable and ethical alternatives, for IVF, it is adoption, for ESCR, it is Adult SCR. Neither adoption nor Adult SCR destroys human persons.

Bottom line, it’s not about politics versus science, it’s about ethics versus militant relativism (Pope Benedict XVI).


  1. Not to mention the fact that marital intercourse was created to be equally unitive and procreative. Contraception takes away the procreative aspect while IVF takes away the unitive. This is just one of the many reasons why The Church teaches against both contraception and IVF.

  2. Exactamundo.

    I have some other reasons why IVF is wrong here.


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