Recently I linked to an article about single women getting artificially inseminated, without the trouble of men or marriage.
Maggie Gallagher has been gay-marriage blogging over at the Volokhs’ place. She has prompted on of their cobloggers to confess that he is opposed to it on Hayekian/Burkean grounds, but that he wonders very much how artificial insemination, test tube babies (aka IVF), embryo adoption, and womb-renting changes things. He asks Gallagher if her opposition to gay marriage means she must oppose these sorts of things also, at least outside of marriage.
I wonder the same thing. I’m put off by artificial insemination, because I’ve only seen it done to cattle. I’m dubious about test-tube babies (IVF) because I’m inclined to think that embryos are morally human and multiple embryos are often made just to be destroyed, and because of the expense and time consumption. Womb renting makes my knee jerk hard, because it commercializes mothering and because I think ideally children should be bound to their parents both biologically, legally, and through the priesthood. I’m uneasy about embryo adoption for the same reason. For all of these, I have to admit too that I’m uncomfortable with making the creation of life too technological, for reasons I can’t explain.
But these are just my partly-emotional and poorly-reasoned instincts; I am not willing to come to any conclusions based on them. So the question I have is whether our LDS opposition to legalizing gay marriage entails any position on these life creation issues. Should we be morally opposed? Legally opposed? Opposed outside of marriage? Let me know what you think. Should I or the church oppose artificial life-creation and so forth outside of marriage, for some of the same reasons we’re opposed to gay marriage?
To keep the debate coherent, lets put some Faulconer-Huff limits on it:
1. For now, lets avoid debating the morality and legality of these various techniques independently of our LDS stance on gay marriage.
2. Lets take both our LDS opposition to legalizing gay marriage and the reasonableness of that opposition as givens. In other words, participants should either believe or accept as a hypothetical premise that (a) the LDS church opposes legalizing gay marriage and that this opposition has authority and (b) the opposition isn’t arbitrary (e.g., a test of faith) but that there are discernible real-world reasons and moral principles that explain this opposition.
[Update: Some have read me to be saying that infertile couples who seek IVF are like cattle. Let me disavow that one as fast as I can and apologize to any one who got that impression.
What I said was that I had seen cattle get artificially inseminated and this had given me an unreasonable prejudice against the practice in humans. I said nothing about IVF, nor did I mean to suggest that reproductive techniques generally shouldn't be used by humans because some of them are used on animals. I've made a few changes to the post to make that clearer.]