Good Cop/Bad Cop For Catholics! UPDATED

Boston College professor and theologian Tim Muldoon’s column, “Culture at the Crossroads” strikes a daring note this week; in pondering the recent Nobel Prize awarded to Robert Edwards for the development of human in vitro fertilization (IVF) therapy, Muldoon wonders about the morality of it:

IVF does not serve the common good — that is, the good of countries and states providing loving homes to all their children. It interrupts the transformative process — the conversion, if you will — experienced by many families who ultimately are led to seriously consider adoption. It feeds the natural desire of parents to be genetically related to their children, but it does not raise the question of whether this desire serves a larger good.

You’ll want to read the whole thing. Once I did, I naturally had to add my own two cents, but as usual, I am a bit more bare-knuckled about it over at On the Square:

God aside, when the standard line among the credentialed gentry is that the world already has too many people on it and “globalists” like Ted Turner are publicly suggesting that one-child policies should be instituted in order to “save the planet” and its “dwindling resources,” can IVF be considered “moral”? And if not, then isn’t there something oddly ironic in the Nobel Committee’s awarding a prize for a procedure that attempts to further populate a world widely asserted to be overpopulated?

You can read the rest here.

It’s sort of a good-cop/bad-cop, thing, right? Join in the conversation and pass the pieces around; what is your opinion?

Brutally Honest:
Seems UNICEF is making international adoptions more difficult

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • JB

    Father Tad Pacholczyk from the National Catholic Bioethics Center discussed IVF at my alma mater last month. (He has a very long list of qualifications from which to discuss the topic.) Fr. Tad explained why it is wrong very eloquently, calmly, and in considerable scientific and moral detail. Some of his writing can be found at:


    So, I’ll play “bad cop” here. IVF is a seriously disordered medical process. IVF is not therapy, or medicine, or even science. It’s evil. It routinely involves eugenically motivated abortion, intrinsically violates the marriage covenant, and has directly resulted in a huge number of frozen children stored in labs who are slowly dying.

    We don’t need to “wonder about the morality”… it is very clear. It is also not an opinion, but follows logically from Church teaching.

    The “desire of couples to conceive a child” is good, but IVF is the wrong means to that goal of new life.

  • tim maguire

    I don’t see how conceiving a child by IVF is different morally from conceiving a child by any other means.

    That doesn’t mean I support the selective abortion aspect of IVF as it’s currently practiced, but that strikes me as a separate issue. It is not an intrinsic part of the procedure itself, but instead is a time and cost saving technique that could (and in my opinion should) be opposed without the need to deny prospective parents the IVF option if other methods fail.

  • CV

    Last week New York Magazine published a stunningly candid article about what the pill hath wrought in the lives of women:


    Although I’m sure it wasn’t the author’s intent, it made Humanae Vitae look very prescient.

    One of the most chilling passages in the article, however, came toward the end. Brave new world indeed:

    “…The Pill may seem to promise eternal youth, but doctors have only middling odds of recapturing fertility when a woman has crossed into early middle age. There’s an easy answer to this conundrum, even though it’s a little weird: freezing eggs in one’s twenties. The technology has come a long way in the past five years, and women with frozen eggs now have a very good shot at successfully thawing and implanting them later in life. In 2009, NYU had a baby born from a woman who froze her eggs at 38, and it’s now posting the same rates of success with frozen eggs as it does with embryos frozen during IVF.
    That may be the world to which many are heading—even more medicalized and technologized, where all women freeze their eggs and submit to assisted reproductive technologies, and with it, more complicated choices and questions that bioethecists love to hash over. Even Carl Djerassi, one of the inventors of the Pill (before he became a Stanford professor, playwright, and sci-fi novelist), has suggested that all forms of birth control will eventually become obsolete and the Pill “will end up in a museum.” In his imaginings, girls and boys will deposit their eggs and sperm in a reproductive bank to be frozen at 20 or so and then get sterilized. They’ll want to do this because genetic diagnoses of embryos will become increasingly sophisticated, and no one will want to risk having a child with birth defects, let alone a child of an unpreferred gender or one predisposed to a hairy back. When these people want to have children, either one or six, at 30 or 60 years old, they’ll make a withdrawal from the bank…”

  • Klaire

    Excellent article (s) Elizabeth, in addition to some very “fresh” ways of looking at this “hard to see” evil.

  • Zachriel

    UNICEF believes that all decisions relating to children, including adoptions, should be made with the best interests of the child as the primary consideration…

    Over the past 30 years, the number of families from wealthy countries wanting to adopt children from other countries has grown substantially. At the same time, lack of regulation and oversight, particularly in the countries of origin, coupled with the potential for financial gain, has spurred the growth of an industry around adoption, where profit, rather than the best interests of children, takes centre stage. Abuses include the sale and abduction of children, coercion of parents, and bribery.

    Many countries around the world have recognised these risks, and have ratified the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption.

  • Wolfwood

    I think PJ O’Rourke put it best: “Just enough of me; way too much of you.”

  • F

    EVERYONE should see the movie Eggsploitation!

    Its a 40 min documentary. Huge impact. Huge. But it is a MUST SEE.


    I just saw it thanks to a film festival our Archdiocese put on.

    A must see.

  • F