Every so often, I run across a news story that’s emblematic of our times. Recently, I read of a case wherein a woman contracted with a man to be a surrogate mother. The man agreed to pay her to bear the children, who were conceived by in vitro fertilization using the man’s sperm and eggs donated from another woman. Triplets were conceived, but the man wants to abort one of them, and the contract he signed gives him the legal right to do so. The woman does not want to abort the child, so she has sued to prevent it and has offered to raise the unwanted child herself. But the man does not want that, and now thinks it would be better to put the child up for adoption himself.
The commodification of children, the nonchalant manner in which the man wants to get rid of one of the babies, and other issues raised by this case send chills down one’s spine. Here we see the logical results of what happens when human beings have no fixed, objective standard of right and wrong.
Modern science and technology have introduced questions that the church has never had to deal with before. When it comes to many biomedical issues, we don’t have the advantage of two thousand years of careful research, debate, and insight into complex and weighty problems. The availability of life-support systems, cloning, in vitro fertilization, and other technologies have introduced new dilemmas and pose new ethical questions.