Evangelium Vitae #14
The various techniques of artificial reproduction, which would seem to be at the service of life and which are frequently used with this intention, actually open the door to new threats against life. Apart from the fact that they are morally unacceptable, since they separate procreation from the fully human context of the conjugal act, these techniques have a high rate of failure; not just failure in relation to fertilisation but with regard to the subsequent development of the embryo, which is exposed to the risk of death, generally within a very short space of time. Furthermore, the number of embryos produced is often greater than that needed for implantation in the woman’s womb, and those so-called “spare embryos” are then destroyed or used for research which, under the pretext of scientific or medical progress, in fact reduces human life to the level of simple “biological matter” to be freely disposed of.
Prenatal diagnosis, which presents no moral objections if carried out in order to identify the medical treatment which may be need by the child in the womb, all too often becomes an opportunity for proposing and procuring an abortion. This is eugenic abortion, justified in public opinion on the basis of a mentality – mistakenly held to be consistent with the demands of “therapeutic interventions” – which accepts life only under certain conditions and rejects it when it is affected by any limitation, handicap, or illness.
Following this same logic, the point has been reached where the most basic care, even nourishment, is denied to babies born with serious handicaps or illnesses. The contemporary scene, moreover, is becoming even more alarming by reason of the proposals, advanced here and there, to justify even infanticide, following the same arguments used to justify the right to abortion. In this way, we revert to a state of barbarism which one had hoped had been left behind forever.