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Actress Brooke Shields kills 140 of her very own Children by undergoing 7 IVF Treatments
Various | 07.25.04

Posted on 07/25/2004 10:03:03 PM PDT by Coleus

The world just learned that "Catholic" actress Brooke Shields is the proud mother of a new baby girl. For a long time infertility problems made it impossible for her and her husband to conceive, and after many failed attempts to conceive naturally she resorted to the technological solution: in vitro fertilization (IVF). Now she is pictured on the covers of glamorous magazines with a smiling beautiful baby girl, but some have questioned her decision to use IVF. I am one of them. Was this star wrong to have a "test tube" baby?

Yes. Dead wrong.

While recognizing the pain of infertile couples and their natural desire to have a child, the Church reminds us that childbearing is a natural end of marriage, but it is not a guarantee. In the course of my ministry, I have met so many couples who were not blessed with children and humbly accepted this reality by offering their marriage for another generous end such as adoption or fostering children. I have also known couples who solved a fertility problem by prayer - yes, prayer! God is not limited by natural barriers to conception: He just wants us to find our happiness in His Will. Some couples seek happiness in something that is not overtly the Will of God and are willing to tempt God to achieve it. Brooke Shields and her husband could have humbly accepted their situation and become the national advocates for adoption instead of IVF, but they chose instead to tell God that they were going to have a child at any cost. This is both immoral and dangerous.

The very first in vitro baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978. She was perfectly "normal" in every way except that she had a different origin than all other human beings at the time: she was conceived in a laboratory not in a womb. Her mother's egg and her father's sperm were united in a Petri dish, and after that the human embryo was implanted in the mother's womb resulting in Louise's birth nine months later. Louise is now a young woman and hopefully living a normal life, but her creation in a Petri dish caused the Church to look more carefully at how technology impacts human reproduction.

We need to be clear that for the Church the baby is not the problem. Babies are never problems, they are gifts. Rather, it is the procedure used to produce the baby that is the problem. Think of it: this poor girl was conceived in a Petri dish! And in case you are wondering: yes, God did give her a soul in the Petri dish. God's creative love is not limited by human immorality; He just wishes that we would do it His way. In God's plan no human being should ever be created in a laboratory. He has given us the perfect environment in which to come into being; namely, marriage. The couples' cooperation in God's creative act is called "pro-creation" as if to emphasize that the one Creator has allowed human beings to participate in so sublime an act. The institution of marriage itself was intended by Him to be the perfect matrix of life, and all technological intrusion into this sacred space for reasons other than health is a sin.

Does the Church shun all medical technology in relation to infertility? By no means. Technology, when used morally, is in fact a solution to many problems. In cases where medical technology can repair or heal damaged reproductive organs it is of great value. In cases where fertility drugs can augment the woman's natural capacity to produce eggs (when used conscientiously and with regard to possible consequences of multiple pregnancies) the Church blesses the technological solution. But technology that usurps the natural biological functions for no legitimate health reason is immoral.

Why is the fertilization procedure in itself immoral? Doctors "create" multiple embryos at one time in order to increase the chances of success of implantation. Normally dozens of embryos are created and never used. These littlest human beings are then frozen or destroyed. The success rate of the in vitro process is abysmally low: only 4 percent of all the embryos created ever see the light of day as a newborn baby. Human beings, no matter how small, should never be the subject of sloppy high school science projects.

Even when a child often does result from an IVF procedure, the travesty of having to create, freeze or destroy so many of that baby's brothers and sisters is morally reprehensible. One baby created at the expense of dozens of others is a macabre tradeoff. Our Church stands squarely on the side of the dignity of the human person, and we can be grateful that the Church does not hesitate to speak out-oftentimes in the face of fierce criticism, in defense of the innocent from unprincipled actions.

Brooke Shields' baby is a precious, beautiful child, but I am afraid that the procedure her mom and dad used to bring her into existence is an advertisement, not for famous designer jeans, but for designer babies. Immorality dressed up as technology is still immorality.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting a couple who were asked to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) as a solution to their very real infertility problem, and they chose not to use it. They did not reject it because of its exorbitant cost, although that in itself was prohibitive; they rejected it as a matter of conscience and principle. The practice of IVF is unfortunately so common nowadays that they were ridiculed by the doctor for their moral scruples and made to feel as if something were wrong with them. But they had many good reasons to go against IVF.

As mentioned in my previous column about IVF, the immorality of the procedure consists primarily in the destruction of the multiple extra embryos that are created in a laboratory along with the one or two that successfully come to birth. There are an average of 24 embryos destroyed or frozen in order for one IVF baby to be born. The moral principle violated by this procedure is the most fundamental of all moral tenets: one can never do an evil in order that good may come of it. Here, the sacrifice of the 24 babies in order to get one or two to grow into healthy children is so wrong that it overrides the infertile couple's right to have a child. The couple I met was aware of that moral principle and could not in conscience participate in such an act.

The other dreadful moral problem spawned by the use of IVF is the reality of multiple pregnancies. This is a problem common to the use of fertility drugs (which are not immoral in themselves like IVF). If it should happen that two or more embryos successfully implant in the womb and become viable pregnancies, it is common for irresponsible doctors to recommend aborting one or more of those babies that are not "desired." This atrocious practice is called "fetal reduction," a sanitized term for selective killing, and is much more common than we think. The inevitable uncertainties of IVF put the vulnerable couple in an occasion of sin for abortion if they entered into the process with the expectation that they wanted only one child. Even if they accept all the children conceived in this way, they still participate in an immoral procedure because of the other embryos that die in the process.

The worst effect of IVF, however, is its power to strip the embryonic child of dignity under the guise of really wanting children. If we do not recognize the intrinsic dignity of that several-cell human being, then we erode the very principle whereby we fight for the dignity of every other human being, born or unborn. This recognition of human dignity is what makes Catholics so firm in our defense of the poor, the enslaved, the handicapped, the elderly, the unborn and the embryo. All are equal in dignity simply because all were created in the image and likeness of God.

Americans were shocked to find out that we have tens of thousands of human embryos in cryogenic storage in laboratories around our country and even more shocked to see that scientists wanted the government to give them money to experiment on these embryos and kill them for their valuable stem cells. There was all kind of money to be made by selling these tiny human beings for spare parts.

Why do we have so many embryos in cold storage in the first place? Because of IVF, of course. IVF produces all the "spare" embryos that the scientists told us were just going to die anyway and that therefore should be put to some useful purpose. Bush bought the logic part of the way, and a whole bunch of Americans who have lost their ability to think morally about it, too.

Many of us at the time made the parallel with Dr. Mengele and his human experiments during the Nazi era: were not these experiments for the purpose of the advancement of medical science, too? Yes, and our opposition to them is the same: the human person is not a means to anything else but an end in himself, no matter how small. But this line of reasoning was lost on most of those involved in the debate.

The more our culture blindly accepts killing, organ harvesting and treating other human beings as mere property, the further we slide into moral relativism, and it will be very difficult for us some day to make the argument that our own killers should respect our human dignity. IVF manipulates, destroys and dehumanizes the tiniest human beings and should be opposed on principle like the valiant couple I met last week. Perhaps it is relevant to note that this same couple was able to adopt a little baby boy a few months ago after much prayer and anxiety. Need I tell you that they consider that precious child well worth the wait?


Movie actress BROOKE SHIELDS was shocked she and husband CHRIS HENCHY had to resort to IVF treatment to conceive, as she assumed getting pregnant would be easy.

THE BLUE LAGOON star and her SPIN CITY writer spouse turned to IVF in late 2001, following six months of trying for a baby without success.

And, following a miscarriage three months later, it took six further attempts with the treatment before the 38-year-old finally conceived.

Speaking of the miscarriage, Brooke says, "In a way, it was a blessing that I'd started with a positive result. I told myself that if it happened once, it can happen again.

"I thought simply because it was time and I wanted to have a baby it would work out.

"I've always believed that if I did my homework, if I worked hard enough, I'd get the results I wanted.

"But you can't ensure success unless you're God, and you're not. Neither are the doctors.

"But it made me understand the difference between wanting to have a baby and truly wanting to be a mother."



Brooke thanks biotech for baby

[ FRIDAY, JUNE 11, 2004 01:49:08 AM ]

SAN FRANCISCO: Brooke Shields says advances in biotechnology helped her become a mother.

Speaking at a meeting at BIO 2004, an annual international biotechnology industry convention, the 39-year-old actress said in vitro fertilization helped her become pregnant with her daughter, 1-year-old Rowan. She said she was considering going through the treatment again to have a second child.

Actress Brooke Shields and her baby daughter Rowan.

Shields entertained the audience Wednesday with stories of how she and her husband, Chris Henchy, found creative ways - and unlikely places - to administer the daily injections that are required for in vitro fertilization, including a basement bathroom stall at the Tribeca Grill, a swank New York restaurant.

The former Suddenly Susan star said she was puzzled by anti-biotechnology protesters who had targeted the convention, saying they must not realize how biotechnology can help people. </D< div>

Abortion the 6th Commandment

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75

God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76

2272  Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"77 "by the very commission of the offense,"78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

2273  The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."80

"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."81

2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.

Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."82

2275 "One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival."83

"It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material."84

"Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity"85 which are unique and unrepeatable.

Respect for the person and scientific research

2292 Scientific, medical, or psychological experiments on human individuals or groups can contribute to healing the sick and the advancement of public health.

2293 Basic scientific research, as well as applied research, is a significant expression of man's dominion over creation. Science and technology are precious resources when placed at the service of man and promote his integral development for the benefit of all. By themselves however they cannot disclose the meaning of existence and of human progress. Science and technology are ordered to man, from whom they take their origin and development; hence they find in the person and in his moral values both evidence of their purpose and awareness of their limits.

2294 It is an illusion to claim moral neutrality in scientific research and its applications. On the other hand, guiding principles cannot be inferred from simple technical efficiency, or from the usefulness accruing to some at the expense of others or, even worse, from prevailing ideologies. Science and technology by their very nature require unconditional respect for fundamental moral criteria. They must be at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights, of his true and integral good, in conformity with the plan and the will of God.

2295 Research or experimentation on the human being cannot legitimate acts that are in themselves contrary to the dignity of persons and to the moral law. The subjects' potential consent does not justify such acts. Experimentation on human beings is not morally legitimate if it exposes the subject's life or physical and psychological integrity to disproportionate or avoidable risks. Experimentation on human beings does not conform to the dignity of the person if it takes place without the informed consent of the subject or those who legitimately speak for him.

The gift of a child

2373 Sacred Scripture and the Church's traditional practice see in large families a sign of God's blessing and the parents' generosity.162

2374 Couples who discover that they are sterile suffer greatly. "What will you give me," asks Abraham of God, "for I continue childless?"163 And Rachel cries to her husband Jacob, "Give me children, or I shall die!"164

2375 Research aimed at reducing human sterility is to be encouraged, on condition that it is placed "at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights, and his true and integral good according to the design and will of God."165

2376 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' "right to become a father and a mother only through each other."166

2377 Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that "entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children."167 "Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses' union . . . . Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person."168

2378 A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception."169

2379 The Gospel shows that physical sterility is not an absolute evil. Spouses who still suffer from infertility after exhausting legitimate medical procedures should unite themselves with the Lord's Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity. They can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others.

Stepping away from God’s law always introduces chaos into our lives. Nowhere is this truer than in the case of in vitro fertilization. The reproductive revolution has had the ability to separate genetic parenting from gestational parenting and from social parenting; and the agent who brings it all about, a biotechnician, will be still another person.

In other words, we can arrange from the outset that one or more of the genetic parents are different from the woman who will carry the child, or the couple who will bring the child up. One or both of the donors might be deceased, for even the eggs might be extracted from aborted fetuses or a recently deceased woman.

Sperm and eggs are being bought and sold and wombs are being rented. Typical prices for ova are $6,500, sperm $1,800 and surrogate motherhood $45,000. In California there is a Nobel Prize Winners’ sperm bank where someone can purchase “genius sperm” in the first step towards the “designer baby.” Anyone who has enough money can contract for the production of human beings according to the desired specifications.

Scientists are already testing the embryos in the petri dish or in the womb to determine whether the child has desirable characteristics. One common reason for these tests is sex selection. Those Feminists who favor abortion should know that the embryos destroyed on this account are usually on the distaff side.

The legal problems that arise from in vitro fertilization are legion. The number of persons who might assert parental rights is now expanded to five: the sperm donor, the egg donor, the surrogate womb mother, and the couple who raise the child. One wag has observed that the prospect of children with multiple parents is a marketing dream for the greeting card industry, and it is certainly a bonanza for lawyers.

As problems of infertility and sterility become more common, people are turning to science for solutions. Modern science has developed various techniques such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. In addition, there are also ancillary techniques designed to store semen, ova, and embryos.

        The fact that these techniques have been developed and have a certain success rate does not make them morally acceptable.  The ends do not justify the means. In this case, the ends are very noble: helping an infertile couple to become parents. The Church, however, cannot accept the means.

         The Sanctity of Life

  The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is the only morally acceptable framework for human reproduction. Marriage and its indissoluble unity are the only venue worthy of truly responsible procreation. Accordingly, any conception engineered with semen or ova donated by a third party would be opposed to the exclusivity that is demanded of a married couple. Such a procedure would be a violation of the bond of conjugal fidelity. It is also an anomaly for a donor to contribute to the conception of a child with the express intention of having nothing to do with that child’s upbringing.

Donation of semen or ova, and the use of surrogate motherhood to bear the child are both contrary to the unity of marriage and the dignity of the procreation of the human person. All of these procedures face a further difficulty in that they lend themselves to commercialization and exploitation when people are paid for donating their semen or ova, or for surrogate motherhood.

The “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” quoting from the Vatican document Donum Vitae, (Instruction on respect for human life in its origin and on the dignity of procreation) asserts: “Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus) are gravely immoral. These techniques infringe on the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him, and bound to each other by marriage; moreover, these methods betray the spouses’ right to become a father and a mother only through each other” (#2376). Indeed, in the act of procreation the spouses are called to cooperate with God; therefore, the Church teaches that a child’s coming-to-be should be sought only as a fruit of the spouses’ personal loving union in the marital act.

The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” also addresses those cases where the techniques employed to bring about the conception involve exclusively the married couple’s semen, ovum, and womb. Such techniques are “less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable.” They dissociate procreation from the sexual act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons (husband and wife) give themselves to one another, but one that “entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of the doctors and biologists, and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children” (#2377).

The Church has always taught that there is an “inseparable connection established by God between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act” (Humanae Vitae12). In this sense in vitro fertilization, by doing away with the unitive meaning, is the mirror image of contraception which suppresses the procreative meaning of the conjugal act.

God created man and woman in His own image and likeness and gave them the mission “to be fruitful and multiply.” This fruitfulness in marriage is part of their being made in the image of God. The marital act is one of mutual self-giving and mutual acceptance of two persons in love. It reflects the inner life of God in the Holy Trinity, a communion of love.

Conjugal love is at the service of life and at the service of God, the Creator. Pope John Paul wrote in his “Letter to Families” that “in affirming that spouses as parents cooperate with God the Creator in conceiving and giving birth to a new human being…we wish to emphasize that God Himself is present in human fatherhood and motherhood. Indeed, God alone is the source of that ‘image and likeness’ which is proper to the human being, as it was received at Creation. Begetting is the continuation of Creation” (“Letter to Families” 9).

Human Leftovers

“I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you were born, I consecrated you” (Jer 1:5). Pope John Paul II, commenting on this Scripture passage, writes: “the life of every individual, from its very beginning, is part of God’s plan...”(Evangelium Vitae #44). Expressions of awe and wonder at God’s intervention in the life of a child in its mother’s womb occur again and again in the Psalms and in the Gospel of St. Luke. In the light of God’s loving regard for life in the womb, the Holy Father raises the terrible question: “How can anyone think that even a single moment of this marvelous process of the unfolding of life could be separated from the wise and loving work of the Creator and left prey to human caprice?” (E.V. #44). Human life is precious from the moment of conception; but, sadly enough, the biblical respect for human life is being eroded in our contemporary society. Without a deep reverence for the sacredness of human life, humanity places itself on the path of self-destruction.

When science and technology open doors that should not be opened, a Pandora’s box spews forth evils that menace humanity. We invented the atom bomb and germ warfare. These inventions are now part of human history forever. Scientists have opened another perilous door: they are manufacturing human life and using their product as an object of experimentation.

Science without the compass of ethical restraints is taking us on a path towards dehumanization in the name of progress. Modern scientific advances have so much to offer, but they must be guided by ethical principles which respect the inherent dignity of every human being. When science embarks on a Promethean quest, fueled by greed and commercialization, our own humanity is placed at risk. The Vatican Document, Donum Vitae, expresses this well:  “By defending man against the excesses of his own power, the Church of God reminds him of the reasons for his true nobility; only in this way can the possibility of living and loving with that dignity and liberty which derive from respect for the truth be ensured for the men and women of tomorrow” (Donum Vitae p. 39).

Theoretically, it might be possible to use in vitro fertilization without destroying any embryos. The grave moral problems concerning the rights of the child, unity of marriage, and the integrity act would still militate against the morality of in vitro fertilization.  However, typically, in in vitro fertilization a woman is given fertility drugs to ensure that she produces several ova which are collected to be fertilized in a petri dish creating several embryos. The healthiest ones are chosen for transfer to the woman’s womb. Many embryos are discarded or frozen. Freezing kills some more. Some embryos are later used for experimentation, which is always lethal.

Recent estimates project that there are 100,000 frozen embryos in the United States laboratories. These embryos are human lives that, given the chance to grow, would develop into a man or a woman. The fate and disposition of these embryos represents a serious moral dilemma which has contributed to a coarsening of the public’s attitude towards the sacredness of human life.

During recent debates before Congress, a couple gave compelling testimony against embryonic stem cell research. The main arguments that they presented were their two young sons who had been frozen embryos that the husband and his wife adopted. We cannot pretend that these embryos are tadpoles. They are human beings with their unique genetic code, full complement of chromosomes, and individual characteristics already in place. Every person alive today started out as an embryo.

In vitro fertilization puts a great number of embryos at risk, or simply destroys them. These early-stage abortions are not morally acceptable. Unfortunately, many people of good will have no notion of what is at stake and simply focus on the baby that results from in vitro fertilization, not adverting to the fact that the procedure involves creating many embryos, most of which will never be born because they will be frozen or discarded.

The Church’s teaching on the respect that must be accorded to human embryos has been constant and very clear. The Second Vatican Council reaffirms this teaching: “Life once conceived must be protected with the utmost care.” Likewise, the more recent “Charter of the Rights of the Family,” published by the Holy See reminds us that: “Human life must be absolutely respected and protected from the moment of conception.”

Two corollaries of this principle follow very logically. First, pre-natal diagnosis and therapeutic procedures are licit and moral if they do not involve disproportionate risks and are directed toward healing or the survival of the embryo. Secondly, living embryos must never be used for experimentation which is not directly therapeutic to that human embryo. The Pro-Life Department of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops has published a question and answer document on respect for human embryos which explains: “No objective, even though noble in itself, such as a foreseeable advantage to science, to other human beings, or to society, can in any way justify experimentation on living embryos or fetuses, whether viable or not, either inside or outside the mother’s womb. The informed consent ordinarily required for clinical experimentation cannot be granted by the parents who may not freely dispose of the physical integrity or life of the unborn child.”

This unequivocal teaching of the Church has important implications, not only regarding the morality of in vitro fertilization where so many embryos are sacrificed, but also in the area of embryonic stem cell research which requires the destruction of the living human embryo.

Many scientists are anxious to employ “spare” embryos that result from the in vitro fertilization for research purposes. They point to the huge supply of frozen embryos that will eventually be discarded. As in the case of the production of clones for research purposes, the harvesting of the discarded embryos for research represents a conscious choice to use living human beings as mere research material. Sadly, some people would have pragmatism trump morality. It is encouraging that many states have legislation in place which protects the embryo and makes embryonic stem-cell research a felony. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the law forbids using embryos, “whether before or after expulsion from the mother’s womb, for scientific, laboratory research, or other kinds of experimentation” (M.G.L. Ch. 112 para. 12).

The New York Times, on Aug. 26, 2001, reported that at fertility clinics the job that nobody wants is that of discarding the spare embryos. Most centers charge a yearly fee that ranges from a few hundred dollars to more than a thousand; but many embryologists do not discard embryos, even when clients cease to pay, “even if years go by”, the news article goes on to say. The director of one laboratory stated that he has to destroy the embryos himself because so many of his staff found the task distasteful. The embryos are thawed as though they will be used, just in case the patients change their minds.  It is obvious that many of the medical staff involved in the in vitro fertilization process are aware of the grave responsibility they have for destroying human life. They have witnessed how these embryos have grown into healthy children. In discarding these embryos, the medical staff become their unwilling executioners, but executioners nonetheless.

The Vatican document Donum Vitae clearly stated that the destruction of embryos harvested from in vitro fertilization procedures is tantamount to abortion. By voluntarily destroying human embryos, “The researcher usurps the place of God; and, even though he may be unaware of this, he sets himself up as the master of the destiny of others inasmuch as he arbitrarily chooses whom he will allow to live and whom he will send to death, and kills defenseless human being” (Donum Vitae, 1987).

      Children on Hold

  During the already cited congressional hearings concerning stem-cell research, John Borden stood before the panel with both his sons in his arms and asked, “Which one of my children would you kill?” John and his wife, Lucinda, unable to have children of their own adopted frozen embryos that were “left over” from in vitro fertilization. Their striking testimony demonstrated that embryos are human beings in an early stage of development and therefore should not be sacrificed for embryonic stem-cell research.

The action of this couple and many others raises the question, “What should be done with the frozen embryos?” Dr. Edward Furton of the National Catholic Bioethics Center published a fine article recently: “On the Disposition of Frozen Embryos.” The Church has not taken an official stand on what should be done. It is clear that in vitro fertilization is not an ethical practice. Nevertheless, the children born of this process are human beings, with the full rights and dignity of all members of the human family, and the frozen embryos produced are human and need to be respected as such.

The most acceptable solution for the disposition of these embryos is that they be implanted in their mother’s womb and brought to term. This is the best option in a highly ambiguous situation since the embryos should not have been created in the first place.

If the parents of the embryos are unable or unwilling to implant the embryo in the mother’s womb, what can be done with the frozen embryos? Moralists are beginning to debate this question. Theologians of the status of Dr. William May and Dr. Germain Grisey and Dr. John Furton, editor of Ethics & Medics of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, are of the opinion that it is preferable to place the frozen embryos up for adoption rather than to let them perish in a frozen gulag. Other moralists hesitate to countenance this approach because of the problem of surrogate motherhood. Nevertheless, we agonize over the predicament of these embryos. It is similar to the Church’s pastoral response to children born out of wedlock. While the Church cannot approve the circumstance of their birth since the children have already come into being, the Church must be concerned about their spiritual and material welfare.

No one wants to encourage in vitro fertilization in any way; yet, there is a desire to rescue these innocent human beings that are in the words of Donum Vitae: “exposed to an absurd fate, with no possibility of their being offered safe means of survival that can be licitly pursued” (D.V. I.5).   We are hopeful that in the near future the Holy See will offer some authoritative pronouncements on this very complicated issue.

      A gift not an entitlement

Professor Stanley M. Hauerwas, in his testimony on in vitro fertilization before the Ethics Advisory Board of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, states: “Christians must surely be doubtful of any moral defenses of in vitro fertilization that claim this technique as an extension of freedom from natural necessity. From our perspective, such a claim involves the pretentious assumption that there is no limit to the right of people to perpetuate themselves.”

Hauerwas’ assertion is certainly taught by the Church: We do not have a “right to have a child.” Such a right would be “contrary to the child’s dignity and nature. The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered an object of ownership; rather, a child is a gift, ‘the supreme gift,’ and the most gratuitous gift of marriage, and is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents. For this reason the child has the right to be the fruit of the specific act of conjugal love of his parents; and the child also has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception” (Donum Vitae, 8).

One of the greatest absurdities of contemporary society is that our country has approved of people aborting all unwanted children and at the same time permits an immoral technique (in vitro fertilization) that allows a few women to have the experience of a pregnancy. In both of these circumstances the fate of the children is subordinated to the convenience or the personal aspirations of the parents.

In the Old Testament, sterility was seen as a curse and a shameful condition. In part, immortality was understood as living on in your children and in their children. Childlessness then meant to be doomed to extinction and oblivion.

The New Testament teaching on celibacy indicated to believers that not everyone needs to have children. It is a matter of vocation. The example of the consecrated virgins in the early Church testified to the importance of spiritual fruitfulness and gave witness of the Church’s firm belief in the Resurrection. Their lives, like the first martyrs, proclaimed to the world that in Christ we are all called to eternal life. It is therefore not necessary for everyone to have children to taste immortality.

For us, marriage and motherhood and fatherhood is a vocation, and children are a gift. However, even when procreation is not possible, married life does not for that reason lose its value. As our Holy Father writes in Familiaris Consortio: “Physical sterility, in fact, can be for the spouses the occasion for other important services to the life of the human person; for example adoption, various forms of educational work, and assistance to other families, and to poor or handicapped children” (#14).

All of us know childless couples whose goodness and generosity have been directed toward service of the parish, the community, and those in need. Often it is said of such a couple “what wonderful parents they would have been” because their marriage is so faith-filled and so loving.

        A loving solution

The plight of a couple who have difficulties in conceiving a child is something that concerns the Church community. We are pleased that the scientific community has developed some morally acceptable procedures that assist the conjugal act and not replace it: certain fertility drugs, micro-surgery, and treatments aimed at correcting defects in the reproductive organs, and Natural Family Planning techniques that allow couples to know when they have the best chance of conceiving. The Church does urge scientists “to continue their research with the aim of preventing the causes of sterility and of being able to remedy them so that infertile couples will be able to procreate in full respect for their own personal dignity and that of the child to be born” (D.V.8).

Given the Biblical injunction to care for widows and orphans and to welcome strangers, the childless couple might in the spirit of our faith consider adopting a child. It is a decision that should be made after prayer and reflection. We have the example of so many wonderful couples who have taken on this commitment and made a loving family for children who lost their parents or whose parents were unable to raise them.

One of the main factors contributing to the 1.5 million abortions in our nation every year is the poor attitude that Americans have toward giving up a child for adoption. Each year, around two million infertile couples try to adopt a baby in the United States, yet only about 50,000 adoptions take place. There are waiting lists for Down’s Syndrome and Spina Bifida babies and for infants with AIDS. Many couples go to Korea, Russia, Romania, Guatemala, China and other countries at great expense and make many sacrifices to adopt a baby.

It is tragic that each year 1.5 million mothers in the United States opt for an abortion. Somehow they reach the point of making a decision to kill the child in their womb rather than allowing that child to live and to be adopted into a family that ardently desires to make a home for the fruit of an unwanted pregnancy. Even though a pregnancy might be unwanted, or ill-timed, there should never be an unwanted baby. In fact, as the figures show there are enough families seeking to adopt babies so as to provide a home for all of the children aborted in our country.

Those who embrace the Gospel of Life must be enthusiastic supporters of adoption. Some parishes have had special liturgies to celebrate the generosity and love of mothers who have put their child up for adoption, as well as for those families that have received those children lovingly as if they had been born into their family.

This year in our own diocese, in order to underscore the importance of adoption in the Gospel of Life, we are having a diocesan Pro-Life celebration on the Feast of St. Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus. The fact that in the Holy Family there was an adoptive father should be a source of encouragement to those who give their children in adoption and those who receive them.

Other countries also experience the sad refusal of so many mothers to choose life by giving their children in adoption. Italy is witnessing a negative population growth that has given rise to serious concerns about the future of the Italian people. One parliamentarian has asked the government to support pregnant women by helping them to carry their baby to term so as to put the child up for adoption rather than let that child be lost to abortion.

In our own diocese, and in dioceses throughout the nation, we have made the same offer of help. We stand ready to aid any woman with a difficult pregnancy who wishes to seek an alternative to abortion.

We urge adopted children to help us promote adoption. Their mothers did not abandon them; but rather gave them life and the chance to live. The decision to entrust your child to another person is a difficult one, at times frightening; yet we are sure that it is the right decision. The Bible records the dispute of the two mothers before Solomon. The true mother is willing to give the child away rather than allow the king to kill the baby. When a mother lovingly entrusts her baby to an adoptive family, she has chosen life for her baby and will always be that child’s true mother, even as she shares that vocation with the adoptive parents.

Pope John Paul II writes in Familiaris Consortio: “Christian families, recognizing with faith all human beings as children of the same Heavenly Father, will respond generously to the children of others, giving these children support and love, not as outsiders, but as members of the one family of God’s children. Christian parents will thus be able to spread their love beyond the bonds of flesh and blood, nourishing the links that are rooted in the Spirit…(F.C. 42).


In the rapidly changing culture of today, where everything is seen as experimental or obsolete, it must be growing clearer to believers that the Church’s commitment to the defense of innocent human life and the dignity of the human person is the firm centerpiece of our social Gospel. The very future of our society is contingent on the success of this enterprise: Life will be valued and protected or manipulated and destroyed.

The culture of death can muster armies of celebrities to promote its positions. The media speaks with a roar, the Church in a whisper. The Church’s whisper, however, communicates a very consistent message that can never be silenced.

The issue of in vitro fertilization is complicated. We all sympathize with childless couples who are desperate to have children, but the ends do not justify the means. There is much more at stake here than the public realizes.

The Church’s teaching on in vitro fertilization is very clear and quite consistent with the Church’s teachings on marriage, on the dignity of the human person, and on the life ethic. A lack of knowledge about the ethical implications of this procedure has resulted in many couples having recourse to in vitro fertilization and has given further impetus to public support for embryonic stem-cell research.

St. Paul once commented that people will not respond to an uncertain trumpet blast. I assure you there is nothing uncertain about the Church’s teaching on in vitro fertilization. We have only to turn up the volume of the trumpet.

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I once had the pleasure of attending a pro-life conference and meeting Dr. Richard Dorflinger of the USCCB, Wesley Smith, Esq., Dr. Angela Lanfranchi of the bcp institute and representatives of Priests For Life, where the focus of the talks were about embryonic stem cell research, cloning and the breast cancer link to abortion.  It was very informative and among the many lectures and talks topics such as In-Vitro Fertilization came up since this is from where the embryonic stem cells come. What was said was that when a couple, single female or a lesbian enters a fertility clinic for IVF up to 24 embryos are fertilized and created and in most instances the procedures fail leaving human life to be frozen, experimented with and killed.    When I head this, Brooke Shields came to mind since I remember reading about her 7 attempts to conceive, it's not hard to do the math, she created and killed 140 of her children and 140 of her daughter Rowan's siblings.

The more our culture blindly accepts killing, organ harvesting and treating other human beings as mere property, the further we slide into moral relativism, and it will be very difficult for us some day to make the argument that our own killers should respect our human dignity. 

We wonder why we have  the Terri Schiavo atrocity, Dr. Kevorkian, eugenics,  population control, babies found dead in trash cans and the other atrocities found throughout the world.

FREE Book on Stem Cells and Cloning in understandable language

1 posted on 07/25/2004 10:03:08 PM PDT by Coleus
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To: Coleus


She was trying to HAVE A baby ,,,

2 posted on 07/25/2004 10:04:44 PM PDT by KQQL
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Don't even bother with people like this. They're crazy. And I'm not afraid to say it either.

3 posted on 07/25/2004 10:07:07 PM PDT by Hildy ( If you don't stand up for what's RIGHT, you'll settle for what's LEFT.)
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Get Real barely covers it.

Would you deny a person cancer treatments if they "couldn't clear themselves of the cancer by themselves without medical intervention"?

4 posted on 07/25/2004 10:07:07 PM PDT by ridesthemiles (ridesthemiles)
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To: Coleus

5 posted on 07/25/2004 10:07:48 PM PDT by South40 (Amnesty for ILLEGALS is a slap in the face to the USBP!)
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To: Coleus

I pray to God that nobody is judged by this rigid a standard when the time comes. If so, no person on earth will be saved.

6 posted on 07/25/2004 10:08:09 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Fox News is Fair and Balanced. is Bare and Imbalanced.)
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To: Torie; ambrose


7 posted on 07/25/2004 10:08:11 PM PDT by KQQL
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To: Coleus


8 posted on 07/25/2004 10:09:22 PM PDT by KQQL
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To: Coleus


9 posted on 07/25/2004 10:09:50 PM PDT by diamond6 (Everyone who is for abortion have been born. Ronald Reagan)
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To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ...
Most Catholics Pray to St. Gerard when they can not conceive.
10 posted on 07/25/2004 10:09:54 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: ridesthemiles

of course not, that's why this thread his CRAP !

11 posted on 07/25/2004 10:10:06 PM PDT by KQQL
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Using the troubled logic above male masturbation would be equivalent to genocide.

12 posted on 07/25/2004 10:10:52 PM PDT by Sunnyvale CA Eng.
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What is better?

For 1 baby to be born, grow, learn to know and love god, and become saved, with 1 embyro lost in the process of IVF........or for the 1 baby to never have existed at all?

Abortion is sick and wrong. But people who criticize people who are Trying to Have Children in terms of the extra embryos? You need to rechannel your energy into something less crazy.
13 posted on 07/25/2004 10:10:52 PM PDT by Bronco_Buster_FweetHyagh
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To: Coleus

You live in the 10 century.

Medicine is God's blessing too..

14 posted on 07/25/2004 10:11:13 PM PDT by KQQL
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To: Sunnyvale CA Eng.


15 posted on 07/25/2004 10:11:37 PM PDT by KQQL
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To: Coleus

These abbreviated articles really bum me out. Just when you think it's going to get good . . . . . . it ends.

16 posted on 07/25/2004 10:12:03 PM PDT by Hank Rearden (Refuse to allow anyone who could only get a government job tell you how to run your life.)
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To: Coleus

Uh ... I am pro-life and just don't have enough enegy left to read this. Uh .... Sorry.

17 posted on 07/25/2004 10:12:18 PM PDT by Don'tMessWithTexas
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To: ridesthemiles

Does the Church shun all medical technology in relation to infertility? By no means. Technology, when used morally, is in fact a solution to many problems. In cases where medical technology can repair or heal damaged reproductive organs it is of great value. In cases where fertility drugs can augment the woman's natural capacity to produce eggs (when used conscientiously and with regard to possible consequences of multiple pregnancies) the Church blesses the technological solution. But technology that usurps the natural biological functions for no legitimate health reason is immoral.

18 posted on 07/25/2004 10:13:37 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: Coleus

Where's the Nut farm nearest to you?

19 posted on 07/25/2004 10:13:49 PM PDT by sonserae
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

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