The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Frozen in Time

400,000.

That is the conservative estimate for the number of frozen embryos that exist in the United States. In laboratories across the country these tiny little souls are stored in a deep freeze awaiting their chance to win the lottery and be successfully implanted into the womb of a mother who cannot conceive a child under the natural law. Through in vitro fertilization (IVF,) multiple embryos are introduced into the womb in the hope that one successfully finds a place to continue its life journey. All the ones that fail this trial simply die an unceremonious death and pass out of this world completely unnoticed. All of these lives had been deemed expendable from the start. The only thing necessary was the $20,000 to $30, 000 fee to play this game of chance. It costs so much not because human life is precious, but rather because that is what the market will bear.

The market supports another interesting twist on this practice that has peaked the interest of a growing number of couples who choose to participate in IVF. About 40% of the time, IVF actually results in a pregnancy. Couples often still have many embryos left in cold storage. The solution, embryo adoption. Much like traditional adoption, the couple gives away their children that they cannot or simply do not want to care for to another couple looking to use IVF. The moral position is that these embryos would just go to waste so why not make them at the disposal of other couples struggling with fertility? After all, they're just sitting there in frozen in time.

Across the country there are literally thousands of people who live in skilled nursing facilities and exist in states of irreversible coma. For whatever reasons their brains have largely shut down except for the part of the brain that keeps the heart beating and the lungs breathing. These people are just lying there taking up space. Should man not kill them to harvest their organs to use in organ transplant so another could live?

The answer is of course, no. These are people. They matter. They are not commodities to be traded for their material value. We have hope that one day we might have the medical technology to bring them back from their distant unreachable world. Until then we care for them as best we can.

Likewise, despite how heartbreaking infertility can be, it does not give couples the license to gamble with the lives of these embryos that man created outside of the natural law. They are people. They matter. They are not commodities to be traded for their material value. Hope must be maintained that one day these lives can be brought out of their state of suspended animation. Humanity created this mess. It has the moral obligation to take responsibility for the lives who have been conceived by man's arrogance and cavalier attitude towards reproductive technology.

These embryos have few if any rights. They are too small, too dependent, too misunderstood. They have no voice nor capacity for man to know their souls. But God knows them. He willed them. He loves them. He finds their lives necessary. They belong to him, but He entrusted their earthly care to humanity. That care does not include using these embryos like bingo balls and the womb like a bingo ball machine in the hope that one of these soul's lucky number will come up.

An even more sinister use of these lives is found in medical research. The dark little secret that the media never talks about and scientists certainly do not promote is that one of the compelling, driving forces in further use of embryonic stem cell research is the simple fact that a supply of embryos is stacking up in fertility clinics. If those clinics could sell those embryos for research they could reduce their operating costs and increase their profits by having another revenue stream in the marketing of these souls for their use by medical researchers.

Were an even more lax use of embryonic research allowed, imagine how that exploitation would extend itself. Marketers would solicit women to donate their eggs for money, and likely the poor would be most impacted.

Life begins at conception. Man's responsibility for that life begins the second after that happens, and his culpability for the death of the most innocent does not diminish one iota simply because that life was created by extraordinary means.

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish" - Mother Theresa.

Those words by this saintly woman were spoken as she reflected on abortion. Americans have killed 40,000,000 babies, largely for convenience. Over 400,000 have been created for much the same reason. Let man rise out of this poverty, step up, and do what is for the moral good.

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