Innocent, Precious Children, in CT, and in PGD

The tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut last week remind us of the precious, innocence of children, and how harm to them invokes incredible public outcry.  Those children will be remembered by our nation, and the world, forever.

Children in the public eye get our attention - yet children who are the object of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGC) are too often hidden from the public eye.  Ethics and public policy issues connected to pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) specifically, and artificial reproductive technology (ART) generally, reveal our innermost thoughts, desires, struggles, secrets, and fears. First Things has recently published a piece by Joseph A. Kohm, Jr. on this very subject, using one example to offer some significant ethical, social, and legal considerations that are pro-child and pro-family.  He writes:
"A recent article on Slate chronicles one woman's quest to become a "girl-mommy" using preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Ms. Simpson (a pseudonym) already had three sons, and after almost four years and $40,000, she was able to use PGD to give birth to a girl. Said Ms. Simpson, "She was worth every cent. Better than a new car, or a kitchen reno." Preimplantation genetic diagnosis was originally designed to identify genetic diseases or chromosomal disorders, such as cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell anemia, in embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) before they are implanted in the woman's uterus. IVF is designed to initiate a pregnancy, while PGD is used to sort and choose preferable embryos before pregnancy. Now, though, enterprising fertility doctors have found a way to maximize the utility of this technology by marketing it to individuals seeking to determine the sex of their child. The use of PGD for gender selection has become a lucrative practice for American physicians, as it is illegal to use it for that reason in Australia, the U.K., and Canada. Technological advancements in science are sprinting past our laws and cultural norms. The appeal of PGD is that it subjugates reality to humanity's desires, striving to eliminate the chronological distance between want and satisfaction. Gender selection of your child is reduced to just another consumer decision, similar to selecting a car or choosing the color of the living room carpet. Genetic engineering is merely convenient "family balancing." ... each generation's attempts at genetic engineering constitute the forced exercise of that generation's view of what is good upon the succeeding generation. One generation's abuse of freedom severely constrains the freedom of the next. As C.S. Lewis wrote in The Abolition of Man, "For the power of Man to make himself what he pleases means . . . the power of some men to make other men what they please." The real problem with PGD is found at a deeper root than even selfishness, consumerism, or man's attempt to conquer nature...." 

Access the entire piece at  http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/11/bespoke-babies.

Children are vulnerable, subject to the protection of the adults around them, in the test tube, in the womb, in the classroom, in the community. Allowing ourselves the space to work through the scientific-ethical dilemmas surrounding innocent children is good and wise, and is absolutely critical to family restoration.

We need to give ourselves space to think through how we treat children, just like we need space and time to heal from the Newtown tragedy.

The science or the weapon is not what is evil, but the person who uses that opportunity for selfish or evil purposes is accountable.  Only with a clear ethical compass of personal responsibility is family restoration a hopeful possibility. 

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