A pastor’s letter on IVF

This merits attention not only for the subject matter, but the way in which a pastor has used this opportunity for a teachable moment. (H/T to Matt Abbott at Renew America.)

Below is the letter from Fr. Thomas Milota, of Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Naperville, IL, asking parishioners to oppose the construction of a fertility clinic a few blocks from the church:

Dear Parishioner of SS. Peter and Paul,

You have likely heard about the issue of the construction of a fertility clinic on the corner of Benton and Washington Streets and our opposition to this construction.

At first glance, this opposition may be confusing for people, because the clinic’s stated purpose is assisting well meaning couples in having a child and the Church certainly supports a parent’s desire to have a family. Indeed, there are many couples who have quite innocently conceived and brought into the world a child through the means of in vitro fertilization, which is the principal service that will be provided at this clinic.

Further, the Catholic Church reverences every human life as sacred and a gift from God no matter how they are conceived. Further, we are certainly empathetic to those couples who are struggling to conceive and we invite them to come to the presentation on Thursday evening to learn what other options may be possible for them. Certainly, the good intentions of our couples and their desire to have a child are not the reasons for our opposition to the clinic.

There are a great many practices associated with IVF which are contrary to the dignity of the human person and which many couples do not realize.

The first issue is that although IVF may produce life in particular circumstances, it also results in the destruction of human life. Typically, more than one embryo is produced from the process. If these embryos are determined to be genetically defective, they are discarded, frozen indefinitely or given over to research through which they are destroyed. Remember that every major physiology text books states that human life begins at conception.

Another issue is the commodification of human life which results from the practice of IVF. If you log onto Dr. Morris webpage, you will find the photos of a number of girls who have donated their ova for the process. You can choose which one you like the best, the most intelligent and best looking and choose to use her ova for your new child. Dr. Morris emphatically stated at the last City Council meeting that he will continue the practice of gender selection by which patients will choose whether they have a boy or a girl.

This leads into another issue. Dr. Morris on his webpage encourages couples who are looking to use or need to use someone else’s ova to solicit such donations from young women attending small local colleges. North Central College would clearly be fertile ground for this and there are no comprehensive studies determining the long term effects of this practice on young women. There are some smaller studies, however, that indicate that there is an increased risk of cancer associated with the IVF process.

Another issue is that thousands of unimplanted embryos will be stored at this facility. Some will be implanted. Some will be donated to science. Some will be discarded. Others will simply be kept frozen indefinitely…never being allowed to come to term. Most estimate that, at present, there are more than 2,000,000 embryos contained in freezing chambers around the United States. Most of these embryos will never be implanted or brought to term. If this clinic is built, we will be contributing to these numbers in a significant way.

Finally, all this will be within a block and a half of our parish and parish school. I hope this is a concern for you in that our children will be walking in front of this center on a daily basis. We will begin having to figure out a way to explain its purpose and that this is the place where the frozen embryos are kept in freezing chambers. If you would like to find out more regarding IVF and its dangers, please feel free to attend Dr. Caruso’s presentation on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Holy Family Chapel. Dr. Caruso was involved in the IVF field for 15 years at the University of Chicago but has stopped doing IVF because of its dangers.

Pleas also consider writing a letter to our Mayor and City Council members encouraging them to oppose the placement of this center on the corner of Benton and Washington. I have included their names and emails addresses below.

Please also consider attending the City Council Meeting on April 3rd at 7:00 p.m. at the Naperville Municipal Center.

Please remember that we are Catholics and Christians and so all correspondence and discussions should be conducted with Christian Charity and respect for those struggling with infertility, but I hope you now understand why this issue is so important.

May Almighty God bless you and keep you.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas A. Milota

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