Government Bans Aren't a Legitimate Way of Avoiding Birth Defects

During that same Family Scholars discussion of D.C. (donor contraception), “Johnny Moral” wrote:

But I’m up for banning it anyway. It is 10 times more likely to cause birth defects.

Unless Johnny is saying that disabled people have so much less human dignity that we should outlaw their birth altogether, I don’t understand this argument at all. (By the way, Johnny gave no source for his statistic, so I wouldn’t assume it’s correct.)

What about a married, op-sex couple which isn’t using any D.C. methods – but whose genetic heritage means that if he gets her pregnant, there will be a 10 times greater chance of birth defects than in the average pregnancy? Somehow, I doubt Johnny would favor a law banning them from having biological children together.

I think that all prospective parents should have the information they want (if any) about the chances of birth defects – and once fully informed, should be free to decide for themselves how much it matters (even if the decision they come to isn’t one I’d agree with). The government shouldn’t make that decision for them.

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67 Responses to Government Bans Aren't a Legitimate Way of Avoiding Birth Defects

  1. 1
    Johnny Moral says:

    >Somehow, I doubt Johnny would favor a law banning them from having biological children together.

    Correct. everyone has a right to marry and attempt to procreate. That is a basic civil right. But that doesn’t necesarrily mean that any and all medical procedures have to be allowed. It is real easy – everyone can marry and have sex, no one can be sterilized, no one can be told the can’t marry (or told they must marry someone of their same sex). And we should be demanding more studies into the causes of infertility (my bet: it’s usually STDs).

    The danger that some people might be told they don’t have a right to procreate because of heriditary defects is INCREASED by all of you eugenic technoutopians. There is a huge difference between telling someone they can’t marry and have sex and saying that a technological procedure is an unethical and unacceptably risky way to create children, but you guys blur that line when you start insisting that there is a right to use donor insemination. Sure, maybe people won’t be FORCED to use someone else’s eggs or sperm, but if it isn’t declared illegal, they may as well be forced to.

    About that 10 times higher figure, I may have been wrong, or maybe it was a specific defect. I found an article on MSNBC that summarizes some studies, most seem to find only a doubling, a 100% increase, in the rate of birth defects through IVF. Some specific defects seem to have a five or six times greater probablity that the child was bron through IVF. Considering that they are only 1% of children, that would seem to be alarming.

  2. 2
    Johnny Moral says:

    I really should have said “that doesn’t necessarily mean that all forms of ART have to be allowed” because I generally try to distinguish “medical procedures”, which I think of as healing so as to allow people to do what a healthy person should be able to do, and “artificial reproductive techonology” which do things that can’t be done even by healthy people. IVF straddles that line, because taking out an egg and doing this and that to it are not things that healthy people do. The person isn’t any healthier after the procedure is done, they are just pregnant. And D.C. is totally on the other side of the line. An analogy would be, instead of fixing a skier’s broken leg, the doctor just found someone else to go skiing for him. That is not medicine.

  3. 3
    karpad says:

    actually, “everyone is entitled to have children, through any means biologically possible, even if they couldn’t through reproductive sex” is the exact opposite of eugenics. the position you are arguing is more eugenics oriented.
    Perhaps as it is applied it tends toward eugenics, as wealthy (“good”) people are better able to afford various fertility treatments than the poorer classes.
    your position, that people who are naturally infertile, or otherwise unable to bear children, should be unable to because it leads to birth defects is pretty hard core eugenics. read birth defects as “the birth of handicapped individuals, or other undesireables” and you might realize it.

    one more thing, you shouldn’t use percentages to describe frequency of complications.
    since when you talk about percentages, “for low risk individuals, a positive HIV test is wrong 50 percent of the time.” because the low risk group (1 in 50000) happens to be equal to the false positive rate (1 in 50000). that doesn’t mean the test is poorly designed, or dangerous for giving bad readings.

    it’s always better to assess risk in changes by rates, rather than percentage change.

  4. 4
    Darcy says:

    … all of you eugenic technoutopians

    When, exactly, did blatantly insulting other posters become okay around here? Oh, that’s right. Never.

    Sure, maybe people won’t be FORCED to use someone else’s eggs or sperm, but if it isn’t declared illegal, they may as well be forced to.

    I’m really not following your logic here. That’s like saying, “Sure, maybe people won’t be FORCED to buy wide rule notebook paper instead of college rule, but if it isn’t declared illegal, they may as well be forced to.”

  5. 5
    Julian Elson says:

    I don’t favor government subsidies to reproductive technologies for the poor and infertile or poor and gay, because while poor people have less access to DC, they also have less access to everything, from housing to theatrical performances to education. I think that the resources would be better directed at ameliorating poverty generally and letting the poor improve their own lives as they see fit instead of creating special subsidies for DC. (note: there is one (and maybe others, if I dig my brains a bit) exception to this general principle: non-elective health care, which I believe should be covered by universal, governmental insurance. That isn’t a matter of high principle to me: it’s just that due to adverse selection issues, private insurance systems just seem to work very badly)

    However, I think that the correct course of action is as for DC vis-a-vis birth defects is to warn the parents of the risk, tell them common considerations that may not have occurred to them, and then let them choose. In spite of my view that donated gametes should, if possible/necessary, be “aligned” to avoid the possibility of a homozygote child with a recessive genetic disease, the correct course for actual couples who want to have kids is to give them counseling, tell them about the risks, and then let them make their choice. A child with cystic fibrosis may be born, and I think that, overall, this is not as good a thing as a child without CF being born*, but I think that it would not be appropriate for the government to tell two people they cannot reproduce, at least with each other.

    *yes, a child with CF could lead a very satisfying (though rather short) life, and do great things for humanity, and a child who is born without it could well be the next Jeffrey Dahmer, but if we hold all other factors equal, I don’t think you can consider CF to be anything close to a net positive, or neutral.

    Though, once for National Novel Writing Month, I tried to write a sci-fi novel in which a future radical, Jacobin-like government of the whole Earth decides to abolish racial differences by demanding that the ligh-skinned mate exclusively with the dark-skinned, bringing everyone to a uniform sort of tanned shade, about 1/4 white, 1/4 black, and half Asian. I never got very far into that novel, though.

  6. 6
    Julian Elson says:

    Minor correction: what I meant to say was not “give them counseling” but “offer them counseling.”

  7. 7
    Julian Elson says:

    Argh… I just realized I made another bone-headed mistake. I said “actual couples who want to have kids.” Many users of DC, are, of course, precisely that: actual couples who want to have kids. What I meant to say was basically that attempting to avoid recessive genetic diseases by avoiding matching gametes with the same recessive genetic disease is okay (in my view), because there is no reason for the recipient to prefer the donor with the same recessive trait the recipient has, and a reason for her to prefer the donor not have the same recessive trait. If, however, a couple are planning on reproducing using each other’s gametes, there IS a reason for them to prefer each other’s gametes to someone else’s: namely, they’re in a relationship, and they want to have their bio-children. In short, it seems to me that the “recessive gene matching avoidance” has no cost (essentially) for DC, and a potential big cost for non-DC using couples.

  8. 8
    mythago says:

    The sentence is meaningless. Ten times more likely than what? To cause birth defects? Well, yes, the act of conception causes birth defects because, um, duh, you don’t get birth defects unless somebody is born.

  9. 9
    Johnny Moral says:

    karpad wrote: “your position, that people who are naturally infertile, or otherwise unable to bear children, should be unable to because it leads to birth defects is pretty hard core eugenics. read birth defects as “the birth of handicapped individuals, or other undesireables”? and you might realize it.”

    It isn’t the genes that are causing those birth defects, it is the IVF process. And unless you are trying to say that the things that cause infertility, which are usually STDs and age and drugs and chemicals, are somehow a result of genes, which I find implausible, then there is no genetic selection going on here. As to causes of infertility which are genetic, I think those must have selected themselves out billions of years ago and they wouldn’t exist. But lets assume that there is a person who because of their genes, cannot procreate naturally. Would it really be called eugenics to let nature take its course? I don’t think so.

  10. 10
    Johnny Moral says:

    me>Sure, maybe people won’t be FORCED to use someone else’s eggs or sperm, but if it isn’t declared illegal, they may as well be forced to.

    darcy>I’m really not following your logic here. That’s like saying, “Sure, maybe people won’t be FORCED to buy wide rule notebook paper instead of college rule, but if it isn’t declared illegal, they may as well be forced to.”?

    If a person is presented with the choice: use your own wheezy, ugly, stupid sperm, or have bright and healthy children that really benefit the country, how much of a choice is it? These kids will look at their parents and wonder how selfish and stupid they were to use their own DNA when their classmates all look like Jude Law crossed with David Bowie or something. And if they themselves were created with D.C., what sort of connection will they feel with their ancestry? There won’t be much of a choice to make.
    But if it is illegal, then adults won’t be forced to choose, they will have to have their won children, and their kids will not have any reason to question why they weren’t created with better genes. They are their parents kids, just like their parents were and their children will be, and just like everyone else is.

  11. 11
    Sarahlynn says:

    Johnny Moral: And we should be demanding more studies into the causes of infertility (my bet: it’s usually STDs).

    Interesting. Is your bet based on anything other than rank prejudice? My sister, sister-in-law, and best friend are all dealing with infertility issues, none of which are remotely related to STDs.

  12. 12
    Johnny Moral says:

    OK, age, then STD’s. You got some sort of investment in STD stock or something?

  13. 13
    Antigone says:

    I have to ask, Mr. moral, what exactly is the benefit of having a connection with their past? I’m not sure I follow you. If i found out at right this second that my parents had adopted me, I would not give a care. Ancestor worship is silly: I’m am not where I came from. I’m afraid I’m going to have so justification for that rationale before I give your argument any credence

  14. 14
    Johnny Moral says:

    Well, that wasn’t exactly the crucial part of my point. I think the desire to pass on your genes, and threfore your ancestor’s genes, is pretty much the whole point of genes. Are you really saying you think that people should not want to pass on their genes? That they should instead choose the healthiest and “best” genes they can find/afford? And no one should care if the hospital gives them the wrong baby? The facts speak for themselves, most people DO care about their ancestry, want to have their own children, and when they find out they were adopted, they DO want to know about the people who gave birth to them. Most people do not want to be given unrelated people to raise, or be told this baby will be an improvement on them.

  15. 15
    Antigone says:

    No, I’m not trying to push a eugenics program here with having “the best genes” whatever those might be. I’m trying to say that someone is not less of a person if their parents are not the sperm/egg donors. My friend is a black girl adopted by a white family, and she cares more about her adopted family then her genetic family (for whatever reason). People are searching for connections with one another, those connections aren’t any stronger with similar DNA.

  16. 16
    Johnny Moral says:

    >I’m trying to say that someone is not less of a person if their parents are not the sperm/egg donors.

    Certainly, I agree. What did I say that implied they were less of a person? What I said was they will have less of a connection to their past, and therefore less of a feeling that it is meaningful for them to pass their own genes on. They will thus be more susceptible to the salesmanship of the D.C./Eugenics industry when they come and say, don’t use your own genes, use these enhanced ones instead.

  17. 17
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    I think that the resources would be better directed at ameliorating poverty generally and letting the poor improve their own lives as they see fit instead of creating special subsidies for DC.

    Hmmmm. Is it just me or does this sentence seem to infer that people with less wealth are somehow obliged to become wealthy in order to benefit from fertilization help? What about hypothetical Jill and Joe Smith who have such problems conceiving, have jobs – perhaps even jobs they love where they make $8 to $10 an hour, and want to be able to start a family, but are not able to due to no insurance or insurance that doesn’t cover such help? That scenario isn’t too hard for me to conceive, I hardly think it would be too hard to replicate in reality. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that it might be wiser and more equitable to advocate quality of parents over wealth of parents, which of course would take into account all aspects of quality of life instead of the aspect that is truly the most meaningless with regards to REAL parenting.

    What I said was they will have less of a connection to their past, and therefore less of a feeling that it is meaningful for them to pass their own genes on. They will thus be more susceptible to the salesmanship of the D.C./Eugenics industry when they come and say, don’t use your own genes, use these enhanced ones instead.

    How conceited and patronizing. And absolutely absurd. This is all supposition that is without merit or backing. Love makes a family, Moral, being overconcerned about ancestry is just more patriarchal bullshit.

  18. 18
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Argh – the quotes didn’t come out as quotes – For prior post, the first and third sentences were by prior posters, the 2nd and 4th quotes were responses made by me.

    Phoey.

    [Fixed by Amp.]

  19. 19
    Sheena says:

    “I think the desire to pass on your genes, and threfore your ancestor’s genes, is pretty much the whole point of genes.”

    So, my complete lack of desire to procreate means that my own genes are pointless then???

  20. 20
    Sarahlynn says:

    Johnny “Moral”: OK, age, then STD’s. You got some sort of investment in STD stock or something?

    Bzzzzzt. Try again. My sister, sister-in-law, and best friend are 27, 30, and 28 respectively. You’re just spouting off judgements on people you don’t know and science you clearly know nothing about.

  21. 21
    Q Grrl says:

    “I think the desire to pass on your genes, and threfore your ancestor’s genes, is pretty much the whole point of genes. Are you really saying you think that people should not want to pass on their genes? ”

    To be honest, I’ve never heard a woman say something like this. And the last time I had a man arguing the gene imperative he was arguing/justifying why he and his wife were going to have four children. The part that was really fucked up about it is that after his wife bore three children, he decided to come out of the closet and live as a gay man. He left his wife with all three children saying “she’s better at raising them!”

    So his gene imperative brought three more humans onto this earth and he wasn’t even willng to raise them to adulthood. Lotta good it’s going to do those kids to know who they came from.

  22. 22
    Ol Cranky says:

    >Why is it okay for married couples to use reproductive technology and others cannot?

    well, there’s a privacy issue here. IVF is essentially just a very kinky and effective sex position. It’s not particulary “technological.”? But I’m up for banning it anyway. It is 10 times more likely to cause birth defects. We should concentrate on preventing and curing infertility so that people can have children naturally.

    I gotta say, this is the part of the response that makes no sense to me at all. Privacy issue? You mean b/c people aren’t having sex to procreate makes it not private enough for conception? Even with the additional commentary above, the comment doesn’t seem logical and it doesn’t answer the question that was posed at all.

    Johnny went on further to say:
    it isn’t the genes that are causing those birth defects, it is the IVF process. And unless you are trying to say that the things that cause infertility, which are usually STDs and age and drugs and chemicals, are somehow a result of genes, which I find implausible, then there is no genetic selection going on here.
    There are some birth defects (i.e. Wilm’s tumor, Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome) that do appear to have a a significant positive correlation to IVF (2 – 6x higher than a naturally conceived child) and others that look like there may be a small correlation. It’s not clear if the increases come from IVF or a confounding factor such as the underlying reason for the infertility itself. Until a well-controlled, adequately sized study is done a causal relationship can’t be determined (especially for defects other than Wilms & BWS). Another difference between IVF babies and most naturally conceived ones is the fact that IVF babies are frequently multiples – multiples have a higher incidence of birth defects and other health/developmental related issues than singles.

    There are genetic causes for infertility, but there is quite an increase in couples in need of some form of ART when one or both of them have a problem (ironically, among my friends, the ones who had to turn to ART discovered problems in the mid-20′s). Causes of infertility could be exposure to chemicals (and I’m not referring to recreational drugs), endometriosis, low sperm count and/or sperm motility issues. Physical injury to the reproductive tract can also negatively impact fertility.

  23. 23
    Johnny Moral says:

    The privacy issue referred to the fact that when Mrs. Smith gets pregnant and Mr. Smith is the proud dad-to-be, no one will say “how the heck did they do that? I thought they were infertile? They must have used IVF.” The child they have together is their biological child, whether they used IVF or not (D.C. is obviously a different story, and I feel it should be illegal for all couples, married or not). IVF, for them, is just a very effective position. For a one-sex couple or single person, things are obviously more publicly eyebrow raising, and the other bio parent is often public (and should always be a matter of public record, at least).

  24. 24
    Myca says:

    Shorter Johnny Moral:

    Eugenics is bad. Therefore, citizens should be strictly prohibited from breeding with those members of society I disapprove of and in ways I disapprove of. For citizens to breed inappropriately will lead to birth defects, which must be stopped for the good of society. Citizens who are not their parents’ genetic children have less investment in society, and do not conform to tradition. Conformity must be enforced. By force of law, inappropriate breeding must be stopped.

    Oh, yeah, but like I said, eugenics is bad.

    Forgive me for not buying it, Johnny.

  25. 25
    karpad says:

    nail on the head, myca.

  26. 26
    Johnny Moral says:

    myca and karpad, I am shocked at how confused you are about my position. Citizens should be allowed to marry and procreate with anyone they want. I never said anyone should not “breed” – where do you get that from?

    I said no one should use donor DNA, because it will lead to people selecting their child’s DNA even if they aren’t sterile. And we should minimize sterility and ensure people stay healthy so they can have their own children, not be complacent about increasing infertility. If a couple can’t have kids, they should either count their blessings, care for foster kids, or adopt.

    I also said that no one should be allowed to combine two eggs or two sperm, or clone, or create a person in any way other than combining an egg and a sperm, because it is unethically risky, and it also moves us away from people having their own natural children with the person they love. But this says nothing about preventing people from “breeding”, nor does it lead to conformity. Conformity is what happens when a single donor fathers 100 children, like what happened in California, or what will happen when DNA is made to conform to a standard, like what sperm banks enforce.

    Thanks for alerting me to the ineffectiveness of my communication, anyway. Or maybe it is just you, but I respect you too much to believe that could be the case.

  27. 27
    Johnny Moral says:

    clarification – people should not be allowed to marry and procreate with a person of their same-sex. But then, no one should want to, society should endeavor to raise straight people who want to love and marry someone of the other sex so as to become part of a fully-human marriage.

  28. 28
    Myca says:

    No, Johnny, I think we understand you perfectly. In fact, I’m a little surprised you’re not seeing how hilarious your response even is.

    I summarized part of your position as “citizens should be strictly prohibited from breeding with those members of society I disapprove of and in ways I disapprove of,” and you didn’t even flinch a little before responding with “No, no, no, OF COURSE that’s not what I said! I said that anyone can marry and breed with anyone!. Except, of course, if they choose to marry and/or procreate with someone I dissaprove of or in a way I dissapprove of. Here. I’ll spend a few paragraphs listing the methods of reproduction that the government should forcably prevent you from using. PS. Stop distorting my position. PPS. Gay people aren’t human.”

    I mean, Christ, man, do you really not see the words you type?

  29. 29
    karpad says:

    beat me to the punch, Myca, so I’ll simply express agreement.
    “word to your mother.”

  30. 30
    Johnny Moral says:

    But what you fail to see is that everyone has a right to be fertile and straight and marry and procreate. And I, and the laws I support, will not stop anyone from marrying and procreating naturally, or divert them from procreating naturally, or refuse to protect people’s fertility. Yes, I would stop people from trying to combine two eggs or two sperm, and cloning, etc. But there is no unmarried, adult, male-female couple I would stop from marrying and procreating (except those listed as exceptions in the law, like siblings, mothers and sons, etc). Even if they were someone I disapproved of, like Andrew Sullivan or somebody, and ESPECIALLY, even if they were someone with a genetic heritage or a trait that someone like you might suggest they had no right to inflict on their offspring and they should use D.C. instead.

    Same-sex procreation is completely unethical. And banning it doesn’t prevent anyone from procreating naturally. But it seems that you think same-sex procreation should be legal? You think people should be allowed (practically forced) to create humans from two eggs or two sperm, or from cloning or genetic engineering?

  31. 31
    Amanda says:

    Is it okay for swingers to marry? It’s married sex, just not with your spouse.

  32. 32
    Ol Cranky says:

    “The privacy issue referred to the fact that when Mrs. Smith gets pregnant and Mr. Smith is the proud dad-to-be, no one will say “how the heck did they do that? I thought they were infertile? They must have used IVF.”?

    Most couples don’t make announcements to the whole world they are infertile; their close friends and family will probably know as well as know details about the conception because the couple is comfortable divulging that information to those people (a friend or family member may even be donors).

    The child they have together is their biological child, whether they used IVF or not (D.C. is obviously a different story, and I feel it should be illegal for all couples, married or not).

    guess what, even when IVF isn’t involved there have been many cases in which Mr. Smith is not junior’s daddy. My best friend’s husband is one of four children; a few years after he graduated college it was discovered that he is the only biological child of the father and the other 3 each had different fathers (and this was supposedly a “good, Southern Baptist woman”).

    “For a one-sex couple or single person, things are obviously more publicly eyebrow raising, and the other bio parent is often public (and should always be a matter of public record, at least).’

    Sometimes when couples adopt it’s assumed the children are biologically theirs, sometimes it’s pretty obvious the child is not. Should we only allow couples to adopt a child that looks like them so it’s not obvious a child is adopted to avoid raising suspicion? Should we require alladoptions to be open adoptions and public notice of biological parents?

    You’ve failed to make a case.

  33. 33
    Amanda says:

    Even if you did tell everyone you were infertile, you can always claim later you gave up trying and it just happened. People eat that story up.

  34. 34
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    B.A.T.S.H.I.T. L.O.O.N.B.A.L.L.S.

    I can think of no other response to what I’ve just spent the last few minutes reading.

  35. 35
    Amanda says:

    My new motto is, “Those who screw in glass houses should not use condoms.”

  36. 36
    jam says:

    Mr. Morals declares: But there is no unmarried, adult, male-female couple I would stop from marrying and procreating (except those listed as exceptions in the law, like siblings, mothers and sons, etc).

    how big of you. thank Boudica you’re just a bigot with a blog instead of anyone with real power….

  37. 37
    Johnny Moral says:

    jam, those guys were implying that I wanted to prevent certian people from procreating. Instead of calling me a bigot and breaking the rules of this blog, why don’t you guys address the issue? Come out and say what your position is on same-sex procreation. Do you really insist on it as a right? It is NOT bigoted to oppose it, it is lunacy to allow it. It would be completely unethical to do it, according to the scientists who created Kaguya. The president’s council on Bioethics recommends that congress ban it. Most other countries have banned it. Are they all bigots? Or are you people just afraid to admit that there is a right that same-sex couples should not have?

  38. 38
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    You’re kidding yourself if you think anything but the majority of people that frequent this blog, and have participated in this conversation believe anything but giving same-sex couples the right to procreate. Nearly every last one of your arguments are based on religiously influenced strawmen arguments. The frustrating thing about you, moral, is that you’re not here to try to expand your horizon, you’re here to troll a liberal board – to what, chastise or change others minds? Are you genuinely feeling that it’s okay to come onto a board where not only liberals, but homosexuals frequent and say so many disparaging and yes, bigoted remarks, then expect to not be called on it? How do you rate, that you feel so impervious to the rules, because you sure as shit aren’t following them in your blatant attempts at stirring up the anger and ire of people with feelings opposite to yours.

    Beyond that, here’s some facts, Mr. Moral:

    The President’s Committee on Bioethics doesn’t have any memo’s or even search qualifiers for same-sex IVF or parenting. Care to back up your argument with more than a flimsy rejoinder, please?

    Also, which other countries have banned it? Banned what exactly – what is ‘it’? IVF? Same-sex couples using IVF? Cloning? Eugenics? Could you be any more specific when trying to back up your bigotry, please?

  39. 39
    Ol Cranky says:

    Technically, nobody has a right to procreate. Not everyone is capable of doing it even with the intervention of the best fertility specialists. Preventing gay couples from procreating by using technology doesn’t prevent them from having biological children as some have done it the “old fashioned” way. If you allow heterosexual couples (who are not necessarily any more stable than gay couples) to use intervention and single women are allowed to use it, I see no reason to prevent gay couples from utilizaing it as well. Frankly, I’m more comfortable with a gay couple in a stable relationship using artificial means of procreation than I am with a single woman who is not in a relationship to do so. The whole “everybody will know” and/or “it will raise eyebrows” argument is just a red herring.

  40. In any case, why would you cite Leon ‘the Towers must fall’ Kass for any reason?

  41. 41
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Actually beyond citing him, I think that he’s relying on him for the bulk of his argument. Interestingly enough, Kass is the number one name that comes up consistently with regards to the legitimacy of the Ethics Committee.

    US National Academy of Sciences president Bruce Alberts this week questioned the way the President’s Council on Bioethics is proceeding in its advisory role. Alberts thinks that PCB chairman Leon Kass, a professor in the Committee on Social Thought and the College at the University of Chicago, is tainting the credibility of the Council by espousing his strong personal views outside of Council deliberations, particularly on the matter of cloning.

    “The commission is not supposed to be taking a position but presenting serious analysis to the President,”

  42. 42
    jam says:

    Instead of calling me a bigot and breaking the rules of this blog, why don’t you guys address the issue?

    that’s rich, Mr. Morals, you quoting the rules of this blog to other folk… and anyways, as Mr. Ampersand has pointed out more than a few times, there are no official rules – just a request to keep things “civil”.

    yeah, i don’t know what that means either. i guess if you don’t actually use nasty words to insult people & deny them their humanity, as you’ve done, it seems to be OK & somehow fall under the rubric of “civility”… who knows whether calling a bigot a bigot is allowed?

    Come out and say what your position is on same-sex procreation. Do you really insist on it as a right?

    sure. if the technology for DC or IVF is being made available to hets, then homos get to use it as well….

    It is NOT bigoted to oppose it, it is lunacy to allow it.

    y’know, accusations of lunacy coming from you are quite reassuring actually.

    It would be completely unethical to do it, according to the scientists who created Kaguya.

    cuz, y’know, scientists have always been my moral guide…

    The president’s council on Bioethics recommends that congress ban it. Most other countries have banned it.

    oh yeah, and White House hacks. them too… i’ll bet the Pope is against it too!

    Are they all bigots?

    maybe. haven’t talked to them yet. but given the prevalance of homophobia, racism & sexism in the world, i wouldn’t be surprised.

    Or are you people just afraid to admit that there is a right that same-sex couples should not have?

    i’m not sure if i have to elaborate more, given the self-obvious character of that last statement, but just so there’s no confusion: Mr. Johnny Moral, you are most certainly and without a doubt a bigot – a homophobic bigot, to be specific. and i don’t use that as an insult, although feel free to take it as one if you think it’s an ugly term. but, with you it’s a clear statement of fact insofar as you subscribe to & advocate bigoted ideas. case in point: you deny that homosexuals are human. hell, you deny humanity to whoever’s not in het wedlock. i know it bugs you that folks might regard you as a bigot for denying the humanity of millions of people but you might want to get to used to it…

  43. 43
    Johnny Moral says:

    quick note – what i have said is that individual people are not “fully human” because they are only male or female, and humanity requires both. Individuals are certainly “human” and all humans are as human as the next guy, but to say they are “fully human” when they represent only one half of humanity is plain wrong. A fully human thing would be capable of doing everything that humanity does – including reproducing, mothering and fathering. Obviously only unions of a man and a woman can do that. Only marriages are fully human. I am not (legally) married, but I don’t consider it a slight to say that I am not, indivually, fully human.

  44. 44
    Johnny Moral says:

    And there’s some confusion here as to what I think should be banned. The PCB has recommended that congress ban non egg and sperm procreation. That means that two women would not be allowed to use the technology that created Kaguya (google mouse Kaguya) to procreate TOGETHER. As to IVF and D.C., those are entirely different subjects, as they combine an egg and a sperm. They would not be banned. I think there are good reasons to ban D.C., and good reasons to consider banning some forms of IVF. But certain forms of IVF are probably fine, and help people overcome private health problems. If a couple has a right to procreate, they have a right to try to overcome health problems to do it. Being the same-sex as your partner isn’t a health problem, and more importantly, SSP is WAY WAY more risky and crazy to attempt. 457 attempts (read: 456 deaths) to create Kaguya says it all. Plus, there is no need to. There are people that need adoption and there’s also no great suffering that comes from not being a parent at all. It isn’t a problem that needs solving.

  45. 45
    Amanda says:

    what i have said is that individual people are not “fully human”? because they are only male or female, and humanity requires both.

    Well, if you have to be both male and female to be “fully human”, then I guess that the only fully human people exist in Greek mythology and a Virginia Woolf novel.

  46. 46
    karpad says:

    human, n.
    I’m a human, Gary Busey is a human, anyone you can think of is human.
    two gay people are human, but two humans, not one.
    no where in that definition does it bring up anything about marriage, or that an entity is only human if it represents the range of descriptors on individual humans.
    otherwise, heterosexual couples aren’t “human” as they’re more than likely not representive of all the ethnic definitions of humans, nor are they likely to include homosexuals, which would be another discriptor just as valid as “male” or “female”
    Just because you make shit up doesn’t mean that’s what the word means.

    point 2:
    you haven’t been arguing about super-science versions of same sex reproducting. you’ve been saying that DC and IFV, the thing you admit that political hack-core on bioethics say are perfectly fine, are immoral because people “don’t have a right to produce children”
    your goddamn mouse is a goddamn red herring.

    and you’re still a homophobic bigot.

  47. 47
    Johnny Moral says:

    The union of a man and a woman is fully human. Humanity is simply not fully represented by any one person, because we are all just one of two sexes. Also, a species, to be a species, is something that reproduces. Individuals do not reproduce. What is reproduced is the union of a man and a woman, half from the man and half from the woman. Face it, we are all human, but none of us, alone, are fully human. When we become one flesh with a person of the other sex, then we enter into something larger than us, something fully human. Don’t disrespect the full humanity of marriages by denying this.

    Point 2: yes, there has been some confusion as the discussion has shifted between same-sex procreation, unmarried procreation (D.C., adultery, fornication), and IVF. I have tried to be clear when I switch between them which I was talking about. There are different problems, and different solutions, to all of them. None are a “red herring” – Kaguya has been created and the PCB’s “egg and sperm” recommendation needs to be enacted, D.C. ought to be illegal even though it combines an egg and a sperm, and IVF ought to be regulated and monitored.

  48. 48
    Amanda says:

    We’re not fully human unless we are currently in coitus, then?

  49. 49
    jam says:

    Karpad states: … Gary Busey is a human …

    whoa whoa whoa! i think that’s a going a bit far, don’t you? let’s try and keep some perspective here…

    ;)

  50. 50
    Johnny Moral says:

    We are not fully human until we have become one flesh with a person of the other sex. We become one flesh by marriage, which yes, requires coitus. We don’t have to stay in coitus to stay one flesh, because the act of coitus made us one flesh.

  51. 51
    Barbara says:

    Johnny, as a person who is quite familiar with IVF, DC and the rest of it, you are simply spouting off nonsense.

    First, as to birth defects — I always welcome studies, but as Ol Cranky said, there are no well-controlled studies to help us here. Where an increase in birth defects has been noted, it seems just as likely to pertain to underlying issues that caused infertility as to the method of conception. In addition, there is some evidence that use of some techniques (ICSI) is associated with greater incidence of birth defects — however, the need for ICSI often arises as a result of medical conditions that appear themselves to predispose to greater risk. So again, not clear whether it’s the technology or the underlying condition, and use of donor gametes — just so you understand — actually decreases the need for the truly high tech techniques, because donors have nice young gametes.

    Second, as to the notion that using donors is wrong ” because it will lead to people selecting their child’s DNA even if they aren’t sterile,” I’m still laughing. As you said yourself, an individual’s desire to procreate and preserve their own genes is pretty strong, so if someone prefers another person’s genes — against all known survival instincts — they probably have a pretty good reason, and I don’t see why you or I should be able to stop them.

    The lengths that people go to to preserve and continue their own genes are simply astonishing. Which just proves my point: people don’t shed their genes lightly, however imperfect.

    How nice of you to recommend foster care and adoption to OTHER people. Adopt a few kids yourself. Leave me and everyone else to make up our own mind.

  52. 52
    Myca says:

    Second, as to the notion that using donors is wrong “? because it will lead to people selecting their child’s DNA even if they aren’t sterile,”? I’m still laughing.

    Precisely, Barbara. This is a solution in search of a problem.

    No matter how many times you watch Gattaca, Johnny, no matter how many times, this isn’t going to become an issue.

    Were I not inclined to grant the benefit of the doubt, I might begin to assume that Johnny’s stated reasons for opposing DC are not, perhaps, his true reasons. Thank goodness for the benefit of the doubt.

    —Myca

  53. 53
    Johnny Moral says:

    I’m all for continued studies of IVF risks, and if some seem extra risky, then there should be some public debate about if it is right to allow doctors to use that one.

    But as I said in the excerpted quote that started this thread, I’d vote for banning it anyway, even if it was risk-free, even if it created healthier babies, because I think it puts government and industry into a process it doesn’t belong, and introduces all sorts of inequities. Baby making should be something that all people around the globe do the same way – by having sex with the person they love, live with, and have become one flesh with. Babies should not be created on demand, there is no right to procreate, only to marry and attempt to procreate. That is my opinion and I will opine that whenever I can.

    Also, IVF distracts us from looking at the causes of infertility and working to ensure that the environment (physical and cultural) doesn’t hurt our chances of having children.

    I would also not want to use a donor to replace my sperm, personally, but perhaps some people out there would, and this would be a tide that only goes out. More and more people are using D.C., and people choosing not to use their own DNA is certainly one of the reasons. The other reasons are because they have entered into a bigoted sex-exclusive relationship (possibly because of issues they had with passing on their DNA), and because they are infertile (or because, as you point out, they aren’t totally infertile, but IVF would be risky), both of which are things we can at least minimize.

  54. 54
    Johnny Moral says:

    Barbara, I made the point about people desiring to use their own genes in response to objections from someone on this board that people should not fear using D.C., they should not feel a need to be biologically related to their own children. And when you point out that some people will choose to use D.C. rather than try a risky form of IVF, you make two of my points at the same time. Seems the only thing we disagree about is if we “should be able to stop them”. I think we certainly should stop them, and I think it would be rather easy to shut down sperm banks and egg farms. If people can’t have children with their spouse, they just won’t have children, or they will adopt. If there is injustice there, then look to see if anyone is complicit in contributing to their infertility. There is no right to have children, as the “grounds for divorce” thread makes clear. There is only a right not to be sterilized, and a right to marry and then attempt to have children. Creating a right to have children is a scheme of the biotech industry, and benefits no one. It is problem created so as to offer the money-making and power-grabbing solution, and a solution which increases the exploitation of of the poor and third world nations, and yes, leads to Gattaca. I’m impressed with myca’s confidence with her crystal ball, but she’s being terribly naive .

  55. 55
    Barbara says:

    Johnny Moral, That comment made no sense at all. People either do or do not wish to propagate using their own genes. If they do, which they usually do if they have any self-esteem whatsoever, they will. If they don’t it’s usually for an adequate reason. If some misguided person thinks they’d be better off with another person’s genes for no good reason — Gimminy Christmas, haven’t we just improved the gene pool by preventing an obviously inferior specimen from propagating?

    There is no right (constitutionally speaking) to do all sorts of things but in general we look for good and sometimes compelling reasons to outlaw behaviors. Other than being pissed off at the biotech industry for coming up with the means to meet a human need, I’m not sure what your grounds for making DC illegal are.

    It’s funny how profit motive and third world exploitation are only suspicious when they clash with deeply held religious conviction regarding human sexuality. If you want to talk about exploiting poor third world nations take a look at international adoption. Donors in the US are treated a lot better than mothers who give up their children in Cambodia (latest adoption mecca for first world parents), or, heavens, in Russia. Oops, then we’d be stepping on holy mother adoption, the solution to the whole problem of infertility (but alas, not third world or even first world exploitation of birth mothers).

  56. 56
    Amanda says:

    We don’t have to stay in coitus to stay one flesh, because the act of coitus made us one flesh.

    If that’s true, then how come when I stub my toe, my boyfriend doesn’t feel it? Hell, if I don’t yell, “Ow!” he’d never know it happened.

  57. 57
    Johnny Moral says:

    He’s not very empathetic, Amanda. I feel it when my girlfriend stubs her toe. But it’s a mental, conceptual union, that you have to believe. The physical union is only manifested in chidren. They are where you and your boyfriend will share toes.

  58. Johnny, what about a right to live? To not have police shoot at you without a strong reason? You speak as if laws would magically change behavior without the threat of force. I don’t give a flying fuck what you consider “fully human” or incomplete, unless you connect it to unwanted harm for actual people. And by “connect”, I mean ‘scientifically demonstrate a link’.

  59. 59
    Johnny Moral says:

    The reasons people don’t wish to propogate using their own genes are becoming more “eugenic” every day. Everytime you denounce as patriacrchy someone wanting to raise their own kid and not happilly believing that “love makes a family” you erode, or smother, the desire to father. And everytime someone risks an abortion or cervical cancer or gonhorrea, or “changes” their sex, they are essentially choosing not to remain fertile, shoosing to use D.C. when they didn’t have a good reason.

    I’m against adoption too, but I thought i could offer it to you as a bone to keep you happy, since usually libs think it is great. But I knew that it was a contradiction for you to both defend D.C. and adoption, I knew it forced you to shoot one of them down. Today it’s adoption, tomorrow it’ll be defending adoption and shooting down D.C.

    My feeling is that people who can’t have kids should count their blessings. For kids that need a home, relatives should take them in, and if there are no relatives, then neighbors. And if there are no neighbors, then orphanages, then wolves.

  60. 60
    Johnny Moral says:

    fix: Everytime you denounce as patriarchy someone wanting to raise their own kid and not happily believing that “love makes a family”? you erode, or smother, the desire to pass on one’s own DNA.

  61. 61
    Johnny Moral says:

    Well, Omar, I’m not against a threat of force. I don’t think it would be necessary though. I think just reminding people what the laws are and why would indeed change behavior.

    If people still tried to buy sperm or eggs, we could catch and arrest them. They certainly wouldn’t be able to advertise the services anymore. And if they experimented on creating people from two eggs or two sperm, we could catch and arrest them. But mainly, scientists wouldn’t be able to get any recognition so they would lose their motivation. they’d divert their research into something useful, like say curing infertility or preventing GID and homosexuality.

  62. 62
    Amanda says:

    Actually, cannibalism is probably the best way for two people to become “one flesh”. I guess serial killers who eat their victims are the most “moral” of all.

  63. 63
    Amanda says:

    And I do believe that Mr. “Moral” just admitted to an ongoing non-marital sexual relationship. Oops.

  64. 64
    jam says:

    Amanda said: And I do believe that Mr. “Moral”? just admitted to an ongoing non-marital sexual relationship. Oops.

    Amanda! what an undeserved slur on Mr. Morals good name! he did no such thing. i’m sure he & his gal are both lifelong members of “True Love Waits

  65. 65
    Ampersand says:

    Johnny Moral, you’ve now posted about 60 times on “Alas.” I think that’s enough; you’ve had a fair chance to state your views, but it’s time for you to go elsewhere.

    Please don’t post on my website anymore. Thanks.

  66. 66
    karpad says:

    [Spock]Fascinating…[/Spock]

    reading Johnny Moral’s posts is really like watching a journey into madness, where is claims and the positions he wishes to defend become more and more outlandish.
    it’s a shame he’s been asked to leave. I was expecting him to evoke Star Wars.
    “Haven’t you read the novels? Palpatine clones a bunch of people, and all the clones are evil! if we don’t outlaw in vitro fertilization, that evil clone of Luke Skywalker will come and get us, and we don’t even have Mara Jade to save us! Iceheart and the revived clone of the emperor will conquor the galaxy!”

    then I’d remind him that that’s a galaxy long ago and far away. and that we’re much more likely to fall under the dominion of the Chaos Legions after Horus the Heretic breaks from the Imperium in the Warhammer storyline.

    and then he’d slash his palm open, scream “Blood for the Blood God!” and jump out the window with a hunting knife, in a quest to take the life of Gary Busey, simply because I evokked his name earlier.

  67. 67
    Johnny Moral says:

    One more to say goodbye? If anyone wants to keep talking, you know where to find me.

    You’ve got a nice blog, Ampersand. Too bad the people that hang out here are mainly interested in insulting people.

    Bye.