I now sit writing this article in my senior bioethics class with all of my senior friends, and I cannot help but feel somewhat forlorn. Because we are a Catholic school, Bioethics is one of the core classes in every senior’s schedule. As is natural with all controversial topics, heated debates ensue whenever a new subject is introduced. It’s interesting to see a room full of opinionated teenagers pitted against, both their fellow classmates and their teacher. One of the best parts about taking this particular class during our final year is that with the past three years behind us, everyone has had the chance to get to know each other, and therefore all the initial cordialities of classroom conversation have been forgotten.
This past week, a subject arose in class that was especially thought provoking. In explaining the process of In Vitro Fertilization, my teacher mentioned that “In Vitro” literally means “in glass.” Meaning that a woman’s eggs are collected and placed in a glass test-tube where they are fertilized in a laboratory and later placed inside her womb. For the most part, my classmates and I were fairly familiar with the basic steps of the process. However many of us were unaware of the inevitable abortions that almost always proceeded a successful IVF session. Since the objective of the treatment is to make sure the woman becomes pregnant, several fertilized eggs are placed into her womb to see which has the likeliest possibility of surviving. The majority of the time however, multiple eggs survive and as a result, the “unwanted” babies are aborted.
Having already written a couple of articles regarding my pro-life stance, I don’t feel it necessary to reiterate my feelings towards that subject. Nevertheless, the practice of IVF brings up many new points of discussion beyond just abortion. In some cases, not all of the eggs fertilized “in vitro” are returned to the woman’s womb. Those that remain are frozen and then offered up for adoption.
This in and of itself creates an entirely new tier of problems. For starters, there already exists an immensely long waiting list to adopt babies in this country. Most recent studies have shown that there are 397,122 children in the foster care system that are living without permanent families. With a number that big, it’s easy to wonder how couples could be on yearlong waiting lists when nearly 102,000 of these kids are eligible for adoption.
Of that number, 32% will wait more than 3 years in foster care before being adopted. The problem is that most couples that choose to adopt do so because they cannot have children of their own (for whatever reason that may be – biological, physical, etc.). In these cases, it is common for a couple to want to adopt a baby to raise from infancy as if he or she was their own biological child. While of course adoption is a beautiful thing, this steady desire for babies over both toddlers and grown children, augments the problem that thousands of foster care children face. Each year 250,000 new babies are placed in the adoption pool. In most cases those are 250,000 babies that essentially decrease the hopes of an older child to be adopted. Of the 390,000+ children in foster care, almost 200,000 range in age from 6-21.
Imagine being a teenager in foster care who has known nothing more than to live in a state of constant movement, hoping that one day, his temporary house will become a permanent home. People are constantly arguing over the “real problem with this country.” But the truth is this: It is not immigration that has ruined our country, nor is it welfare, drugs, or weak government leaders. The problem is that babies are having babies. People who can barely support themselves are becoming responsible for other human beings before ensuring a means to provide for the precious life they have created, whether “by accident” or by will. The solution is NOT abortion, and neither is it to raise that child under unlivable conditions. But it definitely starts with making the right choices and thinking about the consequences before you follow through.
Rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t be able to handle the worst-case scenario, the best-case scenario isn’t worth the risk.