Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Paul Schenck

3/10/2014 (4 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

For the past three years I've pursued post-graduate studies and completed professional certification in bioethics in order to take head-on the growing ethical and moral questions being raised in biotechnologies. The conflicts over birth-control, abortion and so-called

The impulse to try to make 'better babies', 'eliminate' persons with undesirable traits, and to 'perfect' the human race, threatens to degrade some persons while exalting others. It is too often the case that standards of desirability, whether physical, racial or genetic, are arbitrarily set by those who hold power and influence in a society. One man's desirable trait becomes another's undesirable condition. But human value and dignity is absolute, never relative.

Highlights

By Fr. Paul Schenck

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/10/2014 (4 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: eugenics, bioethics, designer babies, bio-technology, ethics, morality, designer babies, margaret sanger, Pope Francis, Fr Paul Schenck


HARRISBURG,PA (Catholic online) - For the past three years I've pursued post-graduate studies and completed professional certification in bioethics in order to take head-on the growing ethical and moral questions being raised in biotechnologies. The conflicts over birth-control, abortion and so-called "reproductive technologies" have expanded exponentially.

Now, not all intrauterine therapies are immoral or unethical. There are wonderful surgical, medicinal and even genetic therapies that are compatible with the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the person and doing great good for children with congenital abnormalities. But technologies that disrupt natural human development, distort personal identity and block or substitute for intercourse, the natural marital expression of love between spouses, rob children of their dignity and essential human rights.

Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration announced it will consider approving a drastic IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) process that will use the DNA of three donors: the mother, the father and a third person unrelated to them. The technique is being used to try to eliminate inherited diseases that are passed through the mitochondria.

Ethicists are debating the morality of such a process. Some say it is the humane thing to do and others that it is the beginning of a technological eugenics (the proposed improvement of the human species by permitting the reproduction only of people with desirable genetic characteristics).

Eugenics has been around for about a hundred years. It is the idea that science and scientific technique can lead to perfect people, and if practiced for generations, an improved human race. A notorious series of books entitled "The Eugenic Marriage: A Personal Guide to the New Science of Better Living and Better Babies" was published in 1914 by the Review of Reviews, a publishing concern representing the trans-Atlantic culture of progressive reform.

The concern was founded by Albert Shaw, a contemporary of Woodrow Wilson who was a progressive reformer, academic, newspaper editor and publisher. The series was written by W. Grant Hague, a medical doctor, professor in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and trustee of the American Medical Association. Here is what Hague wrote -

Eugenics, simply defined, means "better babies". It is the art of being well born. It implies consideration of everything that has to do with the well-being of the race: motherhood, marriage, heredity, environment, disease, hygiene, sanitation, vice, education, culture - in short, everything upon which the health of people depends.

This seems well enough intended, until you read on. Just a few pages later, Hague reveals the underlying motivation of the eugenicist -

We are beginning to learn that we can modify characteristics by proper selection, by environment, and by education. This process will, to an eminent degree, redound to the permanent advantage of mankind. We may reasonably aspire to a system of race-culture which will eliminate the undesirable and unfit, and conserve all effort for the propagation of the desirable or fit.

Perhaps the most notorious eugenicist of this period is Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, who called the "undesirable and unfit" human weeds, and urged their being weeded out of the human race.

A hundred years later, the US FDA is considering approving an IVF procedure designed to do just this: weed out babies with genetic diseases by eviscerating their DNA and replacing it with a stranger's. This way, the child inherits the traits of three parents. But more insidious is the motivation: to perfect human children. This begs the question: what is an "imperfect" child? Who decides?

The impulse to try to make "better babies", "eliminate" persons with undesirable traits, and to "perfect" the human race, threatens to degrade some persons while exalting others. It is too often the case that standards of desirability, whether physical, racial or genetic, are arbitrarily set by those who hold power and influence in a society. One man's desirable trait becomes another's undesirable condition. But human value and dignity is absolute, never relative.

In our efforts to properly treat and eradicate disease, we must be careful never to confuse the person with the illness or condition. The disabilities community has rightly placed the emphasis on the person and not the disability. So one is "a person with a disability", not a "disabled person".

This is the right way of understanding every person. Treating a person with an inherited trait or disease is one thing, replacing that person or an essential part of their identity, is quite another. As Pope Francis has said, "Human beings are ends in themselves, and never a means of resolving other problems."    

-----
Fr. Paul Schenck, a Priest of the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA., is the founding Director of the National Pro-Life Center (NPLC) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Center gives the Justices of the Supreme Court, their high level staff, members of the federal judiciary, members of the US Senate and other public policy makers the information, education and inspiration they need to better form their consciences so they will make better decisions. He is a Champion of the Pro-Life movement.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading


Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... continue reading


Anarchy in Chicago! Weekend of crime tears city apart Watch

Image of The weekend of July 18 saw the death of five people and the wounding of 47 in Chicago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There were 47 shooting victims in Chicago this weekend, five of which ended up being fatal, statistics from the Chicago Police Department report. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chicago officials met on July 21 to discuss the city's recent surge in gun ... continue reading


The Contraceptive New York Nanny, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The idea that the government is now in the business of arm-twisting women not to have more children - immediately after childbirth - is morally obnoxious and socially disturbing. It is so apt that this is happening in a city where its mayor lusts for abortion ... continue reading


Building a culture of life: Colorado clinic takes brave stand Watch

Image of Inspired to bring their mission home to Colorado, they decided to start a natural women's health clinic that would uphold the dignity of women and give them the care they deserve.

By CNA/EWTN News

A Colorado women's health clinic seeking to offer natural care that respects human dignity has drawn praise for helping to build up a culture of life. (CNA/EWTN News) - Authentic women's care "is essential to the pro-life movement," said Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, ... continue reading


When more than 80 percent of California faces extreme drought -- the spigots remain open Watch

Image of At the headquarters of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, fountains are still operating. The one change is that they turn off at mid-morning, and haven't been running full-time since the spring.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Extremely dry conditions in the state of California has 80 percent of the so-called Golden State in extreme drought conditions. Many couldn't tell the difference in many urban areas: Sprinklers go full blast on many lawns, and lots of waters goes wasted by ... continue reading


IT'S ABOUT TIME: Rick Perry deploys national guard to halt southern invasion! Watch

Image of Texas Governor Rick Perry will send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure the southern border, in an effort to stem the flood of illegals that have crossed over throughout 2014.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an effort to stem the influx of tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children that have been entering the United States illegally in 2014, Texas Governor Rick Perry will send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure the southern border. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Is Mount Rainier about to blow? A new study promises to reveal clues about an upcoming eruption Watch

Image of Mount Rainier is the tallest volcano and the fifth-highest peak in the contiguous United States, towering more than 14,400 feet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A huge magma reservoir below Mount Rainier in Washington state has been mapped by American and Norwegian researchers, which may provide subtle clues as to when the volcano will next erupt. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This huge magma reservoir was formed as ... continue reading


BUSTED: FedEx indicted on numerous counts for shipping illegal internet pharmacy drugs Watch

Image of Online pharmacies, operating beneath the radar of drug regulation, often make drugs intended for pain control and psychiatric needs available for illegal recreational purposes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Online pharmacies, operating beneath the radar of drug regulation, often make drugs intended for pain control and psychiatric needs available for illegal recreational purposes. As a result, FedEx Corp. - a trusted mail delivery system has now was indicted for ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 1:1, 4-10
1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:1-9
1 That same day, Jesus left the house and sat by the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Bridget of Sweden
July 23: Saint Birgitta was the daughter of Upplandís Lagman, Birger ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter