Monday, February 16, 2009

Ethics, Common Sense and IVF

Some years ago, a member of the Supreme Court was asked to define pornography. The answer was, "I can't describe it, but I know it when I see it."

I believe that we would all be in agreement that there is a very fine line that dictates if an act, action or decision crosses the line of ethics and common sense. Like the Supreme Court Justice, it is sometimes hard to define that line, but we certainly know when it has been crossed.

The backstory leading to the ultimate octuplet births in California has become a case in point of when the acceptable lines of ethics and common sense are crossed.

Before I say more, please permit me to make one statement of clarification before moving on:

These eight children born recently cannot and must not be forced to carry any blame or stigma associated with the process that has lead to their births. They babies are innocent victims of the recklessness of others. We are all obligated to avoid inflicting any addition burdens or stress in their lives.

With that said, let me proceed.

I believe that the discovery of IVF - in vitro fertilization has come into our lives through the gift of the Holy Spirit. IVF has provided some families the opportunity to overcome certain hurdles prevent conception. I believe that God has worked through the hands of those whom He has called to the vocation of medicine in the same manner in which He has worked through those who discovered so many vaccines which now prevents certain illnesses.

Since the octuplet births, I have had an opportunity to research the common standards and ethics involved in the decision making process for doctors to ultilize the IVF process.

I have come to the conclusion that the doctor of this woman dispensed himself from those necessary common standards and medical ethics and the proper authorities much hold him accountable for his actions.

I would very much like to know how this doctor could justify using IVF for a woman who already has six children. We are not talking about a woman having difficulites in attempting to conceive her first child. We are talking about a woman who already has six children. IVF should not have been considered an option for this case.

Much as been speculated regarding the emotional maturity of this woman and it would be wrong for me to engage in such speculation. I will offer, however, the suggestion that doctors specializing in IVF should complete a full case history of any candidate for IVF prior to undergoing the process.

As a result in the breakdown of common sense in this unique case, the spirit and goals of IVF have been dealth serious injury. The goals of medicine is to improve the quality of life. What we have learned about this California case could be akin to the horrors done to women by doctors in the Nazi concentration camps.

We must never permit the dignity of any woman to be reduced to that of a bitch in a puppy mill.

I do believe that we should permit this doctor and his insurance to begin establishing eight individual trusts funds for these children - with a responsible guardian being name for the minor children.

Sincerely Yours,

+James Alan Wilkowski
Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest
Chicago, Illinois

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