There is currently a proposal to build a fertility clinic on the corner of Washington and Benton in Naperville. The proposal was recently addressed by the Naperville City Council and will be picked up again in two weeks. The proposed facility touches close to home for us. We’ve been trying to conceive for 29 months. Not long ago, we were told by one specialist that if we ever wanted to become pregnant, we’d have to go the route of in vitro fertilization. We know the pain and heartache that bring people to a fertility clinic like the one being proposed. We assume that couples going to such a clinic have the best of intentions, and we judge the hearts of no one who has taken this path.
But we strongly oppose the proposed clinic based on serious ethical concerns. The proposed facility is not ethically neutral; this is not the same as bringing in a family restaurant, a clothing store, or an optometrist. This is because some of the procedures associated with the proposed facility promote an understanding of the human person that undermines fundamental human rights and dignity.
The origin of our existence is not a matter of indifference to our dignity and rights. Rather than assisting the procreation of a child, procedures like in vitro fertilization reduce children to the product of a technological process. A child becomes a manufactured commodity, produced in a relationship of domination, subject to quality control, manipulation, and even disposal. The production of this commodity is, of course, a very lucrative industry – after all, for an infertile couple who desires a baby, the supply is low, and the demand very high. The human person is reduced to an object, a product, and this does violence to the child’s dignity as a human person.
We desperately want a child. But our desires, even for something so good, do not justify bringing that about by any means whatsoever. We have no right to a child, since then one person becomes the property of another. In this instance, it is the rights of the child to be conceived that are pertinent.
This is not simply a question of zoning and planning. It is consenting to a particular worldview for the people of Naperville - a worldview in which a child is not procreated, but manufactured. With any number of beneficial things that could be built on this site, why bring into our community something carrying with it these ethical issues? Why invite into our downtown Aldous Huxley’s vision of a Brave New World in which children are not so much born as they are decanted?
Mike and Mary Beth Brummond