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Killer Thaw

By Judie Brown

While I am not a fan of horror movies, there is one scenario that might be acceptable in a scary movie but that is tragic in real life. This deadly practice happens every day as embryonic children are frozen and subsequently tossed aside by their own parents. The process begins with in vitro fertilization, a procedure that is as unethical and inhumane as contraception. But the end result for far too many of these little ones is cryopreservation—freezing for possible use at a later day.

It’s the same practice you might use at home when you buy extra bread and freeze it to keep it edible. But in this case, it is people who are being frozen!

These practices are viewed by the world as aspects of the overbroad category called reproductive technology. To be clear, technology is a simple word, and there is nothing wrong or mischievous about engineering inanimate things. But when the word is preceded by the descriptive adjective reproductive, we get into all sorts of quicksand. This is because reproductive technology involves man’s desire to control the human ability to procreate and later bear children.

Today the world is convinced, at least in some quarters, that man not only knows better than God but rejects His omnipotence—His all-powerful gift of love—and His creation. These are gifts He has blessed us with because we are His children and He loves us, warts and all.

But human beings’ hubris frequently denies this truth, and that is when problems begin. A current example involves the Alabama court ruling that embryos are human beings. In the aftermath, those who profit from the reproductive technology industry went to work promoting the idea that embryos must be frozen if a couple wishes to pursue in vitro fertilization in the future. One reporter told readers: “Freezing embryos for IVF became standard practice after the development of vitrification, a fast-freezing process that is safer for the embryo. While there’s still a risk of damage during the thawing process, doctors say there are fewer complications than the only other option, using fresh embryos.”

Of course, honest people have no problem explaining to us that the IVF business is a “cash cow” that pro-life people should never defend. This is so because the reality is that IVF is rarely successful, causes mental and physical anguish, and breaks the hearts of those who have learned the hard way that reproductive technology is not nature’s answer to infertility.

Not only is IVF very costly, but it is not reliable, ethical, or godly. One might call it the mechanical version of nature’s plan. And to my mind that is enough to toss it aside. As we ponder this, we must realize that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) was very wise when he wrote in Donum Vitae (Instruction on Respect for Human Life):

Human procreation requires on the part of the spouses responsible collaboration with the fruitful love of God; the gift of human life must be actualized in marriage through the specific and exclusive acts of husband and wife, in accordance with the laws inscribed in their persons and in their union. . . .

Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.

The wisdom in these words is not difficult to comprehend, but for many in the world today it is inconvenient. And, to quote William Shakespeare, “therein lies the rub!”

The dilemma of dissatisfied customers and unethical reproductive technologists could be resolved in an instant if only human beings would understand that when man plays God, man loses . . . every time.