Thursday, February 28, 2008

Artificial Reproductive Technology

Ryan Anderson has an important post on Artificial Reproductive Technology over on the First Things blog. What are the public arguments we can offer on the subject, not of embryo destruction, or cloning, or freezing of embryos? Summarizing Benedict XVI's address to the Congregation of the Faith,, Anderson says:
Benedict argued that non-conjugal reproduction such as in vitro fertilization had created “new problems”—the freezing of human embryos, for instance, and the selective abortion of medically implanted embryos, together with pre-implantation diagnosis, embryonic stem-cell research, and attempts at human cloning.

He argued that these “clearly show that with extra-corporeal artificial fertilization, the barrier that served to protect human dignity has been violated. When human beings in the weakest and most defenseless stage of their lives are selected, abandoned, killed, or used as mere ‘biological material,’ how can it be denied that they are no longer being treated as ‘someone’ but rather as ‘something,’ hence, calling into question the very concept of human dignity?”

Worth noticing is that his public argument is about the consequences of assisted reproductive technologies, how they result in embryo killing, freezing, and other abuses. The argument never touches on any objection to IVF per se—how the creation of new human beings in this way is itself wrong.

The new problem we face, according to Ryan Anderson is:
What we need is to build robust, publicly accessible arguments about procreation and the moral norms that govern it. We need to develop deeper discussions about the meaning and nature of parenthood, gender, and biology. And to the arguments we already have about the killing of embryos, we need to add arguments about the conditions under which we may bring those embryos into existence in the first place.

Read the whole post here.

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