Bioethics: January 2007 Archives

Embryo Banks

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Suppose you had a whole bunch of children whose parents didn't want them, and they left these children frozen in a laboratory somewhere. After a while, it would be impossible to recover these children, but no one could do anything about it due to the parents' rights over what happened to them. This was perfectly legal. The only thing people could do would be to try to reason with these parents to get them to give up these children for adoption, to reason with the companies that allowed parents to do this, or to wait until the Supreme Court changed enough due to moral outrage from those who saw this as wrong, so they could overturn their precedent on the issue and allow Congress to pass laws against the practice.

Then someone comes along with a way to minimize the loss of all these children. Short of changing the laws, they argue, the best we can do to help these children is to allow people to pay the parents for them so they can adopt them. So they decide to set up a clinic that allows people to take a look at these children to see if there are any there they want to adopt. Some conservative groups complain that it cheapens life to allow parents to do this, calling it eugenics and designer children, since they can pick and choose the characteristics of which child they want to adopt. However, ordinary adoption methods also have that element, do they not? This method just helps save those children who would otherwise be left for dead. Doesn't it seem like a good policy to save these children who would otherwise have no life?

Oh, and these children are all still in their embryonic state, and the people opposing this notably pro-life development are supposedly pro-life. You do the math.

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