Thirty-six years ago next month, Louise Brown was born via cesarean section in Oldham, England. We remember her birth because she was the first child that was conceived through in-vitro fertilization to be successfully brought to term.
In the thirty-six years since her birth IVF has become so commonplace that as a recent article in Atlantic Monthly predicted, we’re on the verge of what might be called a “brave new world” when it comes to reproduction.
Now that’s my term, mind you; not the Atlantic Monthly’s. But it’s difficult to find a more apt characterization of writer Alexis Madrigal’s “predictions about the future of reproduction.”
One such prediction is that, through a combination of uterine transplants and IVF, women will some day bear children with another woman’s womb. Another is that data will allow us to “personalize a woman’s biological clock.”
The people behind this prediction compared the process to the personalized suggestions you get from Netflix and Amazon. As she put it, “We’re all, as consumers, getting better predictive information with online shopping than with health care.”
An even more troubling prospect is that the combination of prenatal screenings and advances in genetics will result in “a narrower and narrower notion of normal.” What will be initially justified as “alleviating the suffering of the child and the parents,” will inexorably “slip” into what writer Edwin Black has dubbed “newgenics,” essentially a white-washed, sterilized version of eugenics.
Now let’s be clear: those who don’t fit into the “narrower and narrower notion of normal” will be killed, not healed, in utero.
It’s enough to make you cry out, as a colleague of mine did after reading the Atlantic Monthly piece, “Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus.”
And while that’s our ultimate hope, there are still things we can do now to push back against this demonic scenario—if we have the kind of courage on display recently in Baton Rouge.
In late May, Governor Bobby Jindal vetoed legislation that would have legalized and regulated surrogate births in Louisiana. Actually, it was the second time he had vetoed such legislation.
The bill allowed “couples and a woman to enter into a contractual surrogacy birth relationship.” Without this legal protection, any surrogacy agreements are unenforceable in Louisiana courts, which, not surprisingly makes people reluctant to enter into such arrangements in the state.
Jindal’s objections grow out of his Christian—in his case, Catholic—faith. The Catholic Church is opposed to gestational surrogacy because it infringes on “the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage,” and it betrays the "right to become a father and a mother only through each other.”
Then there is the almost inevitable destruction of life involved in the IVF process associated with surrogacy. And when you add the potential for exploitation, especially of poorer women, Jindal’s course of action was clear.
Not that the supporters of the bill saw it this way: one supporter called the influence of the Louisiana Family Forum, which led the opposition to the bill, a “shame.”
Well, given the Atlantic Monthly’s “predictions” about where childbirth is headed, a better word would be “godsend.” We’re on the cusp of a dehumanizing revolution in which children become products and women units of production. And this nightmare scenario is unimaginable without IVF and surrogacy.
So we at the Colson Center stand with those who stand against this brave new world.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: June 9, 2014