As I mentioned yesterday , when it comes to issues of bioethics the “degradation of language only leads to linguistic confusion and muddy thinking.” A prime example can be found in the BBC article that Ryan cites . The term design means to intend for a definite purpose—and the gene mapping test is intended for the very definite purpose of culling embryos that do not meet the parent’s concept of quality.

The term reproductive technology is no longer just a metaphor of the factory. Now we are applying the actual methods of the factory, specifically the process of quality assurance—throwing out the products that do not fit our standard.

Such reliance on questionable or unethical reproductive technologies strips away the sense of mystery that surrounds the creation of new life. Instead of accepting children as created in the image of God, we are producing them in our own image.

The most troubling aspect may be in what it says about our expression of love toward children. In his book Faith, Hope, Love , the Thomist philosopher Josef Pieper explores the various meanings and connections between the concepts we refer to as love. What, he asks, is the “recurrent identity underlying the countless forms of love?”

My tentative answer to this question runs as follows: In every conceivable case love signifies much the same as approval. This is first of all to be taken in the literal sense of the word’s root: loving someone or something means finding him or its probes , the Latin word for “good.” It is a way of turning to him or it and saying, “It’s good that you exist; it’s good that you are in the world!”

Parent’s who design their child—choosing an embryo based on a standard of quality—are expressing a contingent form of love: “It’s good that you exist if you are free from defect.” The very process of embryo selection makes the parent’s love conditional. Children that do not meet the criteria simply are not chosen; they are discarded, thrown in the trash. In essence, they are being told that since they cannot be created in the way the parents’ desire, it’s not good that you exist; it’s good that you are not in the world!

Every child, though, deserves to be loved in the way that God intended parental love to be given, the way he gives it to his own children—unconditionally. Even if technology provides the means we should not usurp God’s role in the process of designing babies.

Articles by Joe Carter

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