Some bishops in Poland aren’t afraid to tell it like it is:
(Reuters) – Bishops of Poland’s influential Roman Catholic Church have branded in vitro fertilization (IVF) “the younger sister of eugenics” in a letter aimed at swaying lawmakers ahead of a parliamentary debate.
But their intervention, two weeks after the church condemned the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Prize for medicine to IVF pioneer Robert Edwards, triggered an unusually sharp response from lawmakers who say the clergy should not meddle in politics.
“The in vitro method comes at great human cost. To give birth to one child … many humans suffer death at different stages of the medical process,” said the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.
The letter alluded indirectly to the practice of eugenics by Nazi Germany during World War Two, which involved ruthless medical experiments on prisoners and ethnic minorities as part of a drive to strengthen the “purity” of the German race.
Eugenics is all about “weeding out” the “unfit” and “undesirables” from society and that is exactly what happens with IVF. Multiple eggs are fertilized for every couple undergoing IVF and very often these embryos are either scanned outside the womb to detect any possible “defects” and only implant the “healthy” embryos, or they are tested after implantation in order to “selectively reduce” the number of children in the womb by killing off those more likely to have a birth defect. Some people see this kind of “search and destroy” mission as an effective way to eliminate disease, when, really, it’s more of an evolutionary sort of “survival of the fittest” technique that eliminates some individuals with certain genetic “abnormalities” rather than targeting and trying to cure the disease itself. For example: the reason we rarely see human beings with Down syndrome anymore is not thanks to some scientific breakthrough, but because we have succeeded in ensuring that the majority of these individuals never make it out of the womb alive.
It’s also worth noting here that, as much as IVF is the “sister” of eugenics, she is also the “mother”, if you will, of human cloning and embryonic stem cell research. Since procreation has been taken out of the womb and into the laboratory, human life has become a hot commodity, a product of science and we have entered an “anything goes” era in which there are little to no permanent moral or ethical boundaries – especially in the realm of scientific research.