The State of Washington recently moved to legalize commercial surrogacy, allowing people to pay women to bear children for them.
Previously, surrogates could be reimbursed for their medical bills and related expenses, but they could not be hired or paid to be surrogate mothers.
John Stonestreet at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview writes,
Women can now rent out their wombs in Washington State.
Sponsors of the bill insisted that the goal of the legislation is to reduce the suffering of infertile couples. But its real-world result will be to further commodify human life and exploit desperate women.
American law on this subject is difficult to pin down. A few states, like Washington, explicitly permit surrogacy. Some just look the other way; and then others, like New York, explicitly prohibit it.
This ambiguity is not the case around the world.
A 2015 European Union Parliament resolution condemned paid surrogacy, because it “undermines the human dignity of the woman since her body and its reproductive functions are used as a commodity.” It called the practice exploitative, violence against women, and “a matter of urgency in human rights.”
And you know what? In this case, the EU is 100 percent correct.
Family Council opposes commercial surrogacy, in part, because we believe it amounts to buying and selling babies. That’s why we supported Rep. Greg Leding’s 2017 bill prohibiting commercial surrogacy in Arkansas; unfortunately the bill never came up for a vote before the legislature adjourned.
Recently the American College of Physicians released a position statement opposing assisted suicide.
The statement reads in part,
As a proponent of patient-centered care, the American College of Physicians (ACP) is attentive to all voices, including those who speak of the desire to control when and how life will end. However, the ACP believes that the ethical arguments against legalizing physician-assisted suicide remain the most compelling. . . . [T]he ACP does not support legalization of physician-assisted suicide.
This is really good news. It highlights the fact that assisted suicide is not an ethical medical practice.
The demand for assisted suicide seems to be driven largely by concerns about autonomy in the face of death. Researchers in Canada — where assisted suicide is legal — found that people inquired about assisted-suicide not because of excruciating pain, but because they are dissatisfied with their lives in the wake of their illness.
A study conducted in Oregon in 1999 concluded, “the decision to request and use a prescription for lethal medications . . . was associated with views on autonomy and control, not with fear of intractable pain or concern about financial loss.”
Human life is sacred, and no sickness gives us an excuse to end someone’s life prematurely. We do not eliminate suffering by eliminating people who suffer, plain and simple.
This week the MIT Technology Review reported that scientists in Oregon have become the first in the U.S. to edit the DNA of human embryos.
The MIT Technology Review writes,
The effort, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, according to people familiar with the scientific results.
Until now, American scientists have watched with a combination of awe, envy, and some alarm as scientists elsewhere were first to explore the controversial practice. To date, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China.
To call this research “controversial” is an understatement. It is unconscionable for two reasons.
First, in order to carry out their research, scientists created human embryos. These human embryos were living human beings–albeit very small, helpless human beings. Researchers in Oregon created these human beings; experimented on them; and then apparently killed them.
Ethically speaking, this is no different from embryonic stem cell research in which human embryos are created and then killed in order to harvest their stem cells for scientific use.
The second reason this research is unconscionable is that it could pave the way for “designer babies” in which embryos are edited to produce certain characteristics. Scientists who support this research say it could one day allow doctors to correct genetic abnormalities in unborn children, but it could also allow parents and doctors to engineer children with certain traits or enhancements.
It’s worth noting this is not the first time these researchers in Oregon have engaged in this type of activity. In 2013 they published research claiming to have cloned and killed human embryos in order to obtain their stem cells.
As we have said many times, human beings are not research material. All scientific research must respect the sanctity of human life. And we should not do anything that might encourage or allow doctors to produce customized “designer children.”