By Susan E. Wills, Esq.
July 30, 2004
A recent spate of news stories showed that socially acceptable reasons for creating and destroying babies are rapidly evolving. To assist readers in keeping abreast of current trends, the guideposts are noted below.
1) It's okay to make a baby for TV ratings. A proposed reality-TV show in Europe called "Make Me a Mum!" goes "Joe Millionaire" one better. The mum-to-be selects a potential dad from among 1,000 contestants, based on "sex appeal, wealth, fitness and personality." IVF experts select a second potential dad "for genetic compatibility and quality of sperm." A race between the two mens' sperm to impregnate one of mum's harvested eggs in a Petri dish will be broadcast live. No mention of mum marrying, or baby being supported by the donor of the winning contestant.
2) It's okay to destroy a child with a minor disability (e.g., deafness). The mother of an adorable, hearing-impaired toddler who underwent ten prenatal tests argues that she should also have been told of a prenatal test for congenital deafness, to give her the option of aborting. Many obstetricians are reluctant to offer tests for non-life-threatening impairments, out of deference to the disabled community and because they prefer delivering babies to killing them. But to some, apparently, deafness is a capital crime, if you can ID the suspect in utero.
3) If, however, a sick child is already born, it's okay to make and discard siblings to cure big brother or sister. The United Kingdom has now approved creating batches of children by in vitro fertilization to screen them for a tissue match to an ailing existing sibling. The lucky embryo with the best match will be allowed to be born, so that "adult" stem cells from his or her cord blood can be used to treat the older sibling. The rest of the batch is out of luck.
4) It's okay to kill perfectly healthy babies if there are more than one. In a recent New York Times Magazine article, a mature single woman living with her boyfriend of three years reported her discovery that she was carrying triplets. Briefly she considered the impact on housing, career, finances, marital status. Part of her "was sure I could work around that. But it was a matter of, Do I want to?" Her next question: "Is it possible to get rid of one of them? Or two of them?" Two of the kids never really had a chance, once she weighed their lives against having "to move to Staten Island," and "shopping only at Costco [oh, the horror!] and buying big jars of mayonnaise." She had two of her children "selectively reduced" (potassium chloride injection to the heart). In conclusion she mused: "I would do the same thing if I had triplets again, but if I had twins, I would probably have twins. Then again, I don't know."
In keeping with the trend, Planned Parenthood has declared that it wants women to be proud of their postmodern choices in childbearing. New "pride t-shirts" are now available for just $15. They state simply: "I had an abortion."
The Culture of Death has a firm grip today. That means every one of us is needed now, more than ever, to bring a Culture of Life to our suffering world.
Susan E. Wills is Associate Director of Education for the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.