Dear Santa, All I Want for Christmas Is…

Many years ago when I was a wee one, my mom, dad, sisters and extended family would sing the ever-charming “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.” It’s a very funny song, from the late ’40s, and oh, how I wish those days were back. I say that with no idea whatsoever of returning to a time gone by, but with the recollection that there once was a time when families were composed of moms, dads, kids and all sorts of wholesome experiences-starting with the celebration of Advent as a time of sacrifice, followed by a most remarkable Christmas celebration that, in my home, lasted for days on end.

It was simply wonderful.

Today, as we look at the headlines and realize what so many in our midst think about children, one is left horrified by the sterility of it all. Two different headlines bring this sobering thought to mind, just three days before we celebrate the birth of Christ.

The first reads like this: “Killing children now in case they might suffer in the future.” This agenda is being promoted by a modern-day Dutch clinical researcher/bioethicist in Amsterdam, though her philosophy brings to mind the horrors that occurred in Nazi Germany. Her name is Hilde Buiting, and her perspective is chilling, to put it mildly. reported on this first, quoting Buiting as follows regarding her view that the Netherlands’ current guidelines for physicians who end the lives of newborn infants need modification. She states,

The current guidelines state that there must be actual grave suffering on the part of the newborn. . . In practice, physicians look not only to the actual suffering of the sick newborn, but also to the grave suffering foreseen in the future. This reality should be included in the considerations in adapting the guidelines. . . Given that we in the Netherlands find it important to exercise social control over the active killing of newborns, the guidelines should therefore be adjusted.

Remarking on this sadistic embrace of eugenic killing, based on a human being’s perfection or lack thereof, Dr. Mark Mostert wrote in his Disability Matters blog,

See the change? Now they want to kill newborns because of what they might suffer in the murky future.

Oh, and don’t forget about the ‘social control’ part either. That’s a chilling step past killing newborns that are already suffering, and like the Nazis, this is as Ms. Buiting so cavalierly noted, a medical and government-sanctioned form of exercising social control.

Again, I ask, how is this not state- and medically sanctioned eugenics?

Prove me wrong, I beg of you, so that I can stop thinking that the unthinkable is now not only thinkable but doable; that we now want to judge newborn infants as so medically disabled that they should be killed by the white-coated, stethoscope-carrying grisly necromancers divining future suffering in order to kill infants now.

Dr. Mostert is an expert in the study of eugenics and he knows of what he writes. As someone who has heard him speak to an audience, I can attest that his argument is compelling. His words therefore should not be taken lightly or deemed irrelevant to the present, for eugenics is now practiced in numerous ways.

This brings me to the second headline that made me pine for the good old days. In an article entitled “Building a baby with few ground rules,” Stephanie Saul, writing for the New York Times, reports on the steps people take these days to achieve the family of their dreams, making sure that each child who is born meets all of the qualifications outlined in their blueprint. The article’s opening sentence tells us all we need to know: “Unable to have a baby of her own, Amy Kehoe became her own general contractor to manufacture one. For Kehoe and her husband, Scott, the idea seemed like their best hope after years of infertility.”

So how does a married couple design a child? Do they do this in the same way most contractors design a home, an office building or another type of inanimate structure?

Yes, they do. In the case of the couple who are the focus of the Saul article, they bought an egg, some sperm, hired a surrogate mother and paid for in vitro fertilization. The result was the birth of twins, Ethan and Bridget.

But the problem with the birth of these twins to surrogate mother Laschell Baker is that a month after the Kehoes took their twins home, a police officer took them back and placed them in the arms of their surrogate mother, who told reporters that she would have spent the rest of her life worrying about the twins she bore if she had not gotten them returned to her.

Saul points out, “The creation of Ethan and Bridget tested the boundaries of the field known as third-party reproduction, in which more than two people collaborate to have a baby. Five parties were involved: the egg donor, the sperm donor, Ms. Baker and the Kehoes. And two separate middlemen brokered the egg and sperm.”

According to Saul, in Michigan, the only law pertaining specifically to surrogate motherhood is a statute stating that “surrogacy is contrary to public policy and so agreements involving a surrogate mother are unenforceable.”

Add to this the fact that as the Kehoe case unfolded, it came to light that Mrs. Kehoe had mental problems, which the surrogate mother had not been informed of in advance. In the end, the Kehoes, who “constructed” the perfect children for themselves, decided that they will not pursue a legal battle to retrieve their stolen goods … I mean children. But all is not lost for the Kehoes. You see, in a tank of liquid nitrogen at IVF Michigan, there are “20 frozen embryos made from the eggs and sperm Mrs. Kehoe bought.” So while two of her construction projects have landed in the wrong place, she can keep trying. Isn’t that what having a family is all about these days?

There have been many times in my 40 years of pro-life work when I have been at a total loss for words, but not anymore. For I always have Catholic teaching to fall back on, and as harsh as it may sound to a couple who is suffering through infertility, it is the Catholic Church that gets it right on surrogate motherhood and IVF in general. They are, in a word, immoral. They violate God’s design for marriage and family.

Furthermore, when it comes to babies such as those the Kehoes so carefully designed, we are confronting a different type of eugenics, but eugenics nonetheless.

For those who may have forgotten the dictionary definition of eugenics, it is quite simply this: “a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed.”

Eugenics can be employed to manipulate human beings into existence, as the Kehoes’ plan clearly did, or it can be employed to eliminate the undesirable, as researcher Buiting would like to do. Whether the practice of eugenics involves direct murder or genetic manipulation, the outcome is the same: a nihilistic practice that replaces the will of the Creator of all things with the twisted psyche of Machiavellian human beings.

The end result is the commodification of human beings, social chaos and a complete denigration of what it means to be a person created in the image and likeness of God. It is, in other words, an aberration so tragic that one cannot fathom where it will all end.

But I’m pretty sure that unless they repent, those who promote and orchestrate the practice of eugenics will find their end to be rather hot, eternally uncomfortable and downright hellish. That’s not a very happy Christmas thought, but to my mind, it is a reason to be grateful for faith, family and a loving God who watches over us and protects us from evil as long we do our part, which happens to be following His will rather than our own.

Merry Christmas!

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