Along the Tracks

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Defining down humanity

The London Independent has a story today on the latest theoretical “advance” in the world of human fertility: Taking the ovaries from aborted fetuses, growing them in a test tube, then removing the eggs for in vitro fertilization and implantation.

The result would be an enigma: A baby whose biological mother never existed legally.

The first question that came to my mind was “Why?” Why would this direction of research be pursued? To what advantage? Ah, but there’s where the legal loophole comes in handy. These “fetus eggs” would be highly prized by the in vitro industry, as all questions of legal standing of the biological parent would be moot.

However, there is another way to look at this. Perhaps (and maybe this is wishful thinking) this concept - a baby with no mother - will be too hard for the public to swallow. Babies have to have “parents,” even if the parent was nothing more than a donor of genetic material in the starkest terms. Defenders of cloning, embryonic research and abortion might be forced to admit that all human life has at least some innate value, and respect for its existence and its potential must be recognized. If extreme “choice” advocates are intellectually honest, they should find all embryonic research - but particularly the potential donation of eggs and parenting of a child without any consent - as completely against their principles.

Alas, most are not any where near that honest. Recognizing the fetus as anything more than a cute tumor upsets their entire worldview. Thus, the conundrum is particularly acute for them. They’ll probably just ignore it.

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