#1 The Overlooked Ethics of Reproduction
09-09-2013, 04:15 PM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
An interesting and provocative article
The Overlooked Ethics of Reproduction
A recent Pew Research study found Americans largely do not see in vitro fertilization as a moral issue. Adults across religious traditions, including evangelicals, are more likely to say IVF "is not a moral issue" than they are to take a position for or against it.
While grieving with those who struggle with infertility, Christians still need to look more carefully at today's reproductive technologies such as IVF in light of our beliefs about God, life, our bodies, and our children....
....The fact that so many people fail to consider the moral implications of IVF suggests that in the age of fertility treatments, surrogates, and modern family-building via parenting partnerships, a woman's womb has come to be seen as a somewhat arbitrary location. NBC's The New Normal quips that women are "Easy-Bake Ovens" and children are "cupcakes."....
.... Renowned marriage and family therapist Nancy Verrier, in her book The Primal Wound, writes about how mothers are biologically, hormonally, and emotionally programmed to bond with their babies in utero as well as at birth. A baby knows his or her mother at birth, and both the mother and the baby will experience grief at any separation at the time of birth. This primal wound is forever present.
In other words, it's nowhere as easy as the Easy-Bake metaphor. In the case of surrogacy, we can interrupt the natural rhythm for mother and child and risk negative effects. (It is worth noting that surrogacy differs from adoption in that surrogacy intentionally establishes a situation that demands that a woman not bond with the child she is carrying.)
With the Center for Bioethics and Culture, I'm currently working on a documentary about surrogacy, and in our interviews I have sadly heard firsthand stories of the complications of this process—even when everyone starts off with the best of intentions. One surrogate was asked to have an abortion because the child she was carrying had a genetic defect. Another surrogate's own children were heartbroken that their mother gave away the baby. A woman who served as a surrogate for her brother and his partner is still battling over custody of the now school-aged children. Even Elton John, who celebrated the birth of his children with the help of an egg donor and a surrogate, admits that it is heartbreaking that his children will grow up without a mother.
In response to assisted reproductive technologies and procedures, an uneven patchwork of policies and laws in the U.S. attempt to protect intended parents rather than surrogates or the children they carry. Legislative debates frequently take place with no larger sense of the gravity of this practice or how it might harm families and society.
For example, this year in Louisiana a state senator introduced a law that would allow surrogacy contracts for heterosexual couples. The legislator, who had gone to another state in order to contract with a surrogate to have children, described surrogacy as baking a loaf of bread in an oven, a comparison that—as I've mentioned before—belittles the very real issues involved. As human beings created in the image of God, women are not ovens, nor are their bodies simply vessels to be used, sold, rented, or loaned....
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