Wednesday, November 26, 2008


When we do Pro-life 101 Seminars, one of the things we teach people is that there are only two types of existing things in creation: persons and things.

With the first, you can't kill, maim, experiment, buy or sell. With the second you can do all those things. The thing the Bioethics world has accomplished is, essentially, abolishing any legal or moral recognition of that distinction. In the world of the utilitarian bioethicists that currently hold sway in the world's medical and legal systems, there are only things.

One of the cornerstones of our argument against IVF and embryo research is that it reduces the human person to the status of a thing. One you can buy or sell. When you want a baby, you go to the baby store and buy one.

Of course, if humans are things, if the utilitarians who run the world are right and there is no such thing as a person, other than what we arbitrarily so designate, then it is reasonable that they should be extremely valuable things. Are we not, as it has been said, more valuable than many sparrows?

With such a high-end luxury commodity as a baby, it stands to reason that it would be a very expensive one. Given the cost of comparable things, computers say, the average ten thousand dollar price tag of an IVF baby doesn't really seem like that much of a stretch.

If we are positing, for purposes of justifying IVF, that there is no such thing as a distinction between persons and things, that there are just things with brains and things without brains, it is perfectly reasonable to have a human be something you can buy. And if you don't like the first one you get, or if it is defective in some way, it is also perfectly reasonable to have a few extras of your preferred model made and put aside in storage for later. It follows then that should you not need the extras, that they can then be used by the company for other purposes.

There is quite a bit of rigmarole that goes into acquiring a baby by the squishy-drippy methods available in IVF baby boutiques. It is expensive and of course, one isn't guaranteed that the product will "take". There may be several tries involved. IVF and its related procedures are unreliable (an average success rate of about 15-20%) and can be dangerous. If you're willing to slap down $10,000 with an 80% chance that you're wasting your money, why not look at an alternative vendor?

So, I don't get it.

What is everyone getting so worked up about?

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