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One Is Born, Many Are Killed

Updated: May 17

Why IVF is a political landmine for the GOP

In vitro fertilization (IVF) has been in the news a lot, lately — the subject of much legal, political, bioethical and theological wrangling.


The uptick in debate can be traced to February 20, when the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen human embryos, created using IVF, are children, under state law.


In the two months since the court’s decision, many pro-lifers have become increasingly unsettled by chatter in top GOP circles suggesting that IVF is a moral good, and something that should be protected — even promoted — as part of a pro-woman, pro-child, pro-life agenda.


Pregnancy, but at What Cost? 


IVF is classified as a type of "assisted reproductive technology." In short, it allows some couples to circumvent infertility.


The Mayo Clinic describes the procedure this way: "During in vitro fertilization, mature eggs are collected from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then a procedure is done to place one or more of the fertilized eggs, called embryos, in a uterus, which is where babies develop. One full cycle of IVF takes about 2 to 3 weeks."


This paints a rather pedestrian picture of the process. To understand what’s truly at stake in the IVF debate, a fuller picture is required.


Ordinarily, in vitro fertilization requires the creation of multiple embryos — oftentimes three or more — to successfully achieve pregnancy. Surplus embryos, or those that have not been used once pregnancy occurs, are typically "discarded" — i.e., killed. In short, many distinct, living human beings are sacrificed for the sake of a single pregnancy.


In fact, it’s estimated that nearly half of all human embryos created using in vitro fertilization are ultimately killed. Moreover, roughly 1 million embryos are currently in limbo in laboratories across the United States. Many will remain frozen indefinitely. Others will be killed through scientific experimentation.


In its document Donum Vitae, the "Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation," the Catholic Church explicitly condemns IVF as a dehumanizing, anti-life procedure:


"The connection between in vitro fertilization and the voluntary destruction of human embryos occurs too often. This is significant: through these procedures, with apparently contrary purposes, life and death are subjected to the decision of man, who thus sets himself up as the giver of life and death by decree. This dynamic of violence and domination may remain unnoticed by those very individuals who, in wishing to utilize this procedure, become subject to it themselves. The facts recorded and the cold logic which links them must be taken into consideration for a moral judgment on IVF and ET (in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer): the abortion-mentality which has made this procedure possible thus leads, whether one wants it or not, to man's domination over the life and death of his fellow human beings and can lead to a system of radical eugenics."


This is the inescapable reality of IVF — it is not pro-life.      


Macabre Morality


Many Republican leaders seem oblivious — willfully or not — to the cold realities of in vitro fertilization, and are putting off pro-lifers with absurd claims that the procedure is congruent with the GOP’s declared aim of reducing abortions in the United States.


When delivering the official Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address last month, Sen. Katie Britt of Alabama declared, "we strongly support continued nationwide access to in vitro fertilization."


GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York recently told reporters, "I strongly support IVF ... And the House Republicans support IVF, the speaker strongly supports IVF, the top of the ticket, President Trump, supports IVF."


Last month, Representative Anna Paulina Luna of Florida went on record in support of in vitro fertilization, stating, "I have always supported the responsible use of IVF. ... IVF is pro-life, and has helped so many families, several of whom I know personally."


Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas recently celebrated the fact that "every day 200 babies ... are born because of in vitro fertilization in this country. There’s nothing more pro-family than supporting the birth of babies."


Again, in vitro fertilization is neither pro-family, nor pro-life. In the quest to generate human life, in vitro fertilization often destroys human life. Each embryo is a distinct, living human being, and typically in IVF, surplus embryos are killed so that another may live. Ultimately, "selective reduction," as this process is euphemistically termed, is nothing more than selective abortion.


In vitro fertilization is bad medicine, and bad medicine makes for bad politics. Unfortunately, too many self-identified conservatives are failing to grasp this connection.


A False Solution


Respect for human dignity necessarily requires respect for the sanctity of human life. In vitro fertilization respects neither. As such, the Catholic Church has repeatedly condemned IVF as a false solution to infertility. While recognizing that "couples who discover that they are sterile suffer greatly," the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares in vitro fertilization to be "morally unacceptable," as it severs the sexual act from procreation:


"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.'" 


Earlier this month, the Vatican reinforced this teaching. On April 8, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith issued Dignitas Infinita (Infinite Dignity), a declaration on Catholic doctrine examining the fullness of human dignity. In it, the Church reiterates its teaching that artificial reproductive technologies such as IVF are an affront to human dignity:


"Indeed, every child possesses an intangible dignity that is clearly expressed — albeit in a unique and differentiated way — at every stage of his or her life: from the moment of conception, at birth, growing up as a boy or girl, and becoming an adult. Because of this unalienable dignity, the child has the right to have a fully human (and not artificially induced) origin and to receive the gift of a life that manifests both the dignity of the giver and that of the receiver. Moreover, acknowledging the dignity of the human person also entails recognizing every dimension of the dignity of the conjugal union and of human procreation. Considering this, the legitimate desire to have a child cannot be transformed into a ‘right to a child’ that fails to respect the dignity of that child as the recipient of the gift of life."


Likewise, Pope Francis has been speaking out against in vitro fertilization since the early days of his pontificate. In November 2014, he denounced the procedure as a violation of human dignity, describing it, alongside abortion and euthanasia, as a product of "false compassion."


It is morally impermissible, Francis declared, to harness science "to produce a child and consider it to be a right, rather than a gift to welcome."


"We are living in a time of experimentation with life," the pontiff observed. "But a bad experiment. Making children rather than accepting them as a gift. ... Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator, against God the creator."


A Political Liability


IVF is a loser politically, as well as morally and ethically. Those who utilize the procedure, or are otherwise committed to it, don’t care what politicians say about it. In other words, backing IVF won’t gain their votes. Meanwhile, those who oppose IVF on moral grounds don’t want to support a political candidate who advocates for it. It will only cost a candidate — for example, Trump — votes. 


Conservatives would do well to steer clear of embracing it as a political issue, and focus instead on the basic life issue: abortion.


Abortion kills babies. Abortion damages women psychologically, emotionally and in many cases, physically. Abortion violates the first right listed in the Declaration of Independence: the right to life.


And despite all this, Joe Biden is fighting tooth-and-nail to preserve killing babies up to birth — and beyond, if they happen to survive the first attempt at slaughter — and he wants our tax dollars to pay for it.

Writer, editor and producer Stephen Wynne has spent the past seven years covering, from a Catholic perspective, the latest developments in the Church, the nation and the world. Prior to his work in journalism, he spent eight years co-authoring “Repairing the Breach,” a book examining the war of worldviews between Christianity and Darwinism. A Show-Me State native, he holds a BA in Creative Writing from Pepperdine University and an Executive MBA from the Bloch School of Business at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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Stephen your article sheds more light on this issue, one I must admit I have not been up to speed on. I still have questions but now I think I understand the arguments for and against.

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IV is the least of the Republican's problems.

Republicans continue to help the Democrats destroy the moral fabric of this Country by supporing LGBTQ+, Sodomy, Same Sex Marriage, Foreign Wars, Open borders and big Government which impedes local authority and morality.

The issue of IV is a drop in the bucket compared to these other major issues.

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