Third-Party Reproduction: The Commercialization of Parenthood
The nineteenth-century French political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocqueville made a striking observation about our nation that applies with equal force today: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” In our short history, our faults have been numerous, but at various times we have been able to return to our senses, stop our harmful actions, and apologize to those we injured. Our initial embrace of slavery, followed by our abolition of it, exemplifies our desire and our ability to self-correct, as does our embrace, and then abolition, of Jim Crow laws. In 2009 the U.S. Senate publicly apologized for both of these injustices, which we as a people inflicted on so many of our black citizens. Similarly, President Ronald Reagan offered a public apology on behalf of the American people for the internment of Japanese citizens after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by signing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.
Third-party reproduction, the commercial production of infants using donor sperm and/or donor eggs, is a practice that must be deemed yet another American failure because it (1) violates the core principle upon which our nation was founded, and (2) leaves its “products” with a family reality which closely resembles that of former American slaves who were fathered by their white masters.
The plain language of the Declaration of Independence makes clear that “all men are created equal” solely because they are created through “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Nature’s God creates men equal through the free sexual union of a man (the biological father) and a woman (the biological mother). In third-party reproduction, such a sexual union does not occur. When we produce men outside of the natural sexual union, we reject our foundational belief that equality in creation arises not from human acts but from the Creator acting through the laws of nature. In third-party reproduction, the Creator is sidelined as fertility specialists, with the complicity of egg donors and sperm donors, manufacture men by forcing together, by hand, the raw materials of human life in a laboratory. Our foundational principle makes no room for “creative assistants” participating in nature’s creative process, or any alteration of the process itself.
Indeed, President Barack Obama affirmed our core American principle in his first inaugural address when he stated that equality was “a God-given promise.” Closer in time to the actual writing of the Declaration of Independence, George Washington stated in his first inaugural address that “there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness…. The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”
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