February 12, 2008

Some responses to reader arguments

Some of my recent posts have resulted in a flurry of arguments from those in favor of repro technologies. The permutations of these arguments are quite interesting. I am in favor of rational argument and debate on the facts, not based on emotion - and as such, I wish to deal with each of these arguments seriously. Because there are lots of these arguments, I will answer them in a few subsequent blog entries as well. Today I will start with two of these arguments.

(1) "Save a life? Spare a life? Create a life? What's the difference?"

The difference is in the INTENTION of those who are saving or creating the life. Intention matters. Where morality and ethics are concerned, intention is king. Intention is often what makes the difference between guilt and innocence - before the law, and in our own conscience too. Most of our criminal law is built around intention. For instance, if you really did not intend to kill someone and it happened accidentally, you get off with manslaughter. If you premeditated it, you get slapped with the 1st degree.

When we adopt a child that we did not help to create, we are helping the child. Our intention was not to rip that child away from its biological parents. Our intention is to help a needy little person who is already abandoned by its own biological parents and who needs to be adopted. This is why in some ways adoption is an act of charity, even though the adoptive parents also want a child of their own.

On the other hand, when we intentionally create a child who will not know or be raised by its own biological parent(s), we are in effect creating challenges for that child. We are making that child's life more difficult from the outset. We are no longer fully "innocent" in relation to that child's difficult situation. We helped to create that situation. Our action in raising that child can no longer be viewed in any way as an act of charity. Rather, it is clearly an act of our own selfishness: we wanted a child for ourselves, regardless of the negative consequences for the child. We can say to ourselves, "well, who doesn't have difficulties in life?" That is true, but it is also true that WE have created this important difficulty for the child - a difficulty that the child may struggle with for a lifetime, and that will also affect the child's own children and grandchildren.

(2) "I see no difference between IVF and adoption, all though I could make a successful argument that IVF is more biblical. It does say to go forth and multiply."

Quite funny. Since the Bible says "go forth and multiply," then I guess that any way of "multiplying" is biblical! That would justify rape, incest, sexual slavery, anything. Any way of getting a woman pregnant is, I guess, "going forth and multiplying," so it is biblical! This argument is transparently simplistic and false - but I am dealing with it here anyway, just because I am trying to address them all.

More arguments and responses to follow in the next blog entry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Quite right Veronica. If we really thought that creating a life was the same as saving a life we would chain women to beds and force them to be permanently pregnant!

After all, what could be better than creating a human life?

-- Tom