DEVELOPING: LA Sen. Peacock Pushing for Legal Surrogacy
Earlier today, I posted a link to our T&C Reader and to the 6300 members of our FB affiliate, Stand with the US Bishops Against the HHS. That link took the reader to a petition, sponsored by the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, calling for Louisiana State Senators Smith et al. to withdraw their proposal to legalize in the State of Louisiana the medical practice of surrogacy – that procedure that might be considered putting all your eggs in another woman’s basket.
Within the petition, LCCB provides a strong statement on the ethical implications of such a law, which I reproduce below:
Surrogacy arrangements allow for a husband and a wife to contract with a third party (surrogate) to carry a child to term, and then relinquish the child to the intended parents. Such arrangements:
1. COMMODIFY WOMEN
- Surrogacy arrangements commercialize and objectify women, relegating them to a utilitarian purpose (i.e. “a means to an end”).
- Surrogacy is an attack on the dignity of women in that is grossly focuses on what women can produce as opposed to their entire being and worth.
2. POSE THREATS TO LIFE
- Surrogacy arrangements pose threats to the protection of life at the earliest stages.
- Who has the right to “terminate” the pregnancy? Many high-profile cases have revealed the tragic reality of intended parents pressuring the surrogate to abort the child after tests have revealed potential challenges concerning the child. On the other side of the issue, even though a contract exists, the surrogate has full “healthcare rights” which enables her to abort the child if she so chooses.
- Given that artificial conception is used as a means to execute this arrangement, consideration must be given to the production of additional, unused embryos. Destruction of such embryos is nothing short of the destruction of the earliest stages of life.
3. DRAMATICALLY ALTER THE FAMILY
- Surrogacy arrangements re-define and re-conceptualize what a traditional family is to the detriment of this sacred unit.
- What impact might it have on a child of the surrogate who sees her/his mother carry a child for nine months in her womb and then simply give it to another couple?
4. PROVIDE COMEPENSATION FOR THE BIRTH AND EXCHANGE OF A CHILD
- Whether for a fee or “reasonable expenses,” surrogacy arrangements entail compensation for a service.
- Surrogacy is a very large and profitable industry in other states. By allowing LA to enforce surrogacy agreements this industry would be invited into our state.
After filling out the petition, I received a reply from State Senator Barrow Peacock (of my district). The LCCB’s solid statement of the facts should surely have merited an equally thoughtful reply from the offices of Sen. Peacock. Instead, in the typical fashion of so many politicians today, the form response was one of moral stupidity:
Thank you for writing and voicing your concerns. However, I am voting for SB162 because I believe in my heart that medical technology and its abilities are God-given to help a married couple have a child with their own gametes via the help of another woman. [Sen.] Barrow Peacock
“I believe in my heart” … “God-given to help.”
Sen. Peacock’s response relies on his beliefs, or rather, his feelings, since genuine beliefs engage the reason and the senator has simply ignored the sound ethical arguments of the bishops. Call me Spock, but feelings do not form a logical basis for ethical decision-making. In fact, given the rebellious state of fallen human emotions, they often directly and vehemently contradict sound logic.
More striking than his misapplication of emotion, however, is the senator’s misapplication of God’s name and the moral authority it invokes. I’m not sure what angle he’s trying at, implying by useful name-drop that his non-argument somehow bears weight equal to or greater than the authority of the Catholic bishops. I’ll give him some slack for his Protestant background, but to think that one’s convictions, even found in personal prayer, can easily and without explanation (beyond shallow emotionalism) outrank the consistent teachings and solidly expounded arguments of the collective minds of 2000 years of Christendom’s greatest saintly thinkers is nothing short of grossly naive. If you think you can invoke God at the drop of a hat and expect the bishops – who bear God’s name with far more frequency, with far more weight, and with far more wisdom than you – simply to back down, mystified, and throw up their hands at your sudden revelation, then you’ve got another thing coming.