Lawyer: Regulations Needed for Reproduction Retail

"Octomom" and Laws Criticized for Overruling Human Dignity

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WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 26, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The dignity of the human person is easily violated, especially when reproduction technology enables a consumer mentality for the creation of children, affirmed a law professor.



Helen Alvaré, a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity and a senior fellow of law for the Culture of Life Foundation, affirmed this in a statement on the foundation's Web site.

She addressed the ongoing "octomom" story, about Nadya Suleman, a single woman who gave birth to eight living babies after in vitro fertilization using donor sperm.

The 33-year-old Los Angeles resident already lives with her six other children in her mother's three bedroom home, which may be foreclosed due to unpaid mortgage bills. Suleman reported that the hospital threatened to not release her eight newborns to her until she has better living arrangements. Her family now lives on government aid.

Alvaré asserted, "Where's the dignity of new life in this story?"

She said, "We have an impoverished, multiparous, single mother with a baby-fetish, in an impoverished extended family, who meets up with an irresponsible fertility doctor willing to implant more embryos than can ordinarily safely develop or be carried to term."

Analyzing the situation, Alvaré noted that "once law and society allow human conception to take place in a retail setting, outside of an intimate marital relationship, and thus vulnerable to the tender mercies of the 'laws' of the market and of fallible human desires, it's not at all surprising that mothers and their children so conceived would be treated as legitimate objects of public commentary, scrutiny and even scorn."  

She called on U.S. lawmakers to issue regulatory mandates that will keep the reproduction "business" from being guided solely by individual "preferences."

Obscured, not destroyed

Answering her own reflection, Alvaré affirmed that "human dignity cannot be destroyed."

She continued: "We are made in God's image and likeness and can never become in essence 'contemptible.' Nadya Suleman and her children are human beings made in God's image and likeness.

"But indeed their dignity has sadly been obscured. In the case of the children, it has been assaulted from the beginning of their very existence."

Alvaré referred to the Vatican's December document "Dignitas Personae," saying that "the instruction reminds us that the dignity of every human person is real but fragile."

"So fragile," she emphasized, "that it is very easy for even a brilliant scientist or loving, would-be parents, to misunderstand or ignore it."

She added, "Humanity's capacity for moral understanding, and for love and disinterested sacrifice, images but cannot equal God's."

The law professor called for regulations to affirm the dignity of the person, and to "recognize the demonstrable fact that children's and parents' dignity is naturally upheld when procreation takes place via an act of love between committed, married parents."

She underlined the Vatican's instruction stating that "the desire for a child cannot justify the 'production' of offspring."

Reproduction technology, and the Suleman case in particular, manifest the risks of negating the "natural protections for dignity offered by marital procreation," she said.

Alvaré concluded, "Human beings deserve always to be brought into existence through a personal act of marital love."

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On the Net:

Culture of Life Foundation: www.culture-of-life.org