This I Believe

Kathleen - New Haven, Connecticut
Entered on June 27, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: birth, morality

In February 2008, I was in Dublin, where I listened one evening to an American television show about teenage vampires on Irish television. Tuning in late, while doing some housework, I listened to the show as if it were a radio program. Soon, the story had my full attention, and started me thinking: a teenage boy was trying to bring back to life and recreate a dead girlfriend. His peers were concerned about the havoc this adolescent Stepford wife might wreak. I did not think of a fictional story in which a girl or a woman attempts to create a boyfriend or husband for herself. It was women and their test tube babies I thought of first.

I was thirteen years old in 1978, living in Minnesota, when the first test tube baby was born. In Catholic school, that year, I learned about her birth in my 8th grade social studies class. I remember the lay teacher telling the class that the Church opposed the practise of in vitro fertilization, known today by the initials, IVF. To my recollection, the subject was not discussed again in my grade school or high school classes. Senior year, I took a position against IVF for myself, as I did against abortion and euthanasia. Today, I remain opposed to all three, while voting pro-choice, in favor of free will. Of the three, I would vote for the abolishment of IVF, first, wherever I might be.

I believe that a child conceived of in vitro fertilization is born of human immorality, worse than original sin, be there any such thing. Were there no orphans in the world, IVF would still be an act of selfishness and narcissism. Unlike abortion and euthanasia, IVF cannot be entered into for selfless reasons. Artificial creation of a human life is the inverse of the taking of a human life; the people who engage in it are playing God.

Some people do not think there is anything wrong with playing God. I do. Some people do not think there is anything wrong with human trafficking. I do. On Mother’s Day 2008, back in the US, I went to see the movie, “Baby Mama,” at the Mall of America. The story is about a grown woman who has become a practised consumer of artificial reproductive technologies, including IVF, without success. This character suffers no moral dilemmas in making the choices she does. Does she not know that it is wrong to buy and to sell human beings? Clearly, she understands there are markets for baby mamas. This is the bright side of the film: it shows how the baby mama, the surrogate mother herself, is a type of prostitute, for sale.

When do we learn about prostitution in school? I must have learned about it in Sunday school with the story of Mary Magdalene. When do we learn about slavery? That, too, perhaps, I learned of first in Sunday school. And, when do we learn about human trafficking, altogether? American children might study the subject in grade school. Their souls are required of them, today.