Buying and selling babies

Novak, Michael

ANOTHER LOOK AT 'BABY M. BUYING & SELLING BABIES LIMITATIONS ON THE MARKETPLACE Many of us would have thought that it is against American law to buy or sell human beings something beneath the...

...5) if the abortion were demanded by William Stern, William Stern would pay her a big-hearted $1,000...
...Stern's...
...He said so in the contract...
...If she was not a threat, then the only distinction between Baby M. and her two siblings appears to be that she was bought, while the other two were not...
...As I believe in limited government, so I believe in limited markets...
...Whitehead...
...This very conception, however, this novus or do seclorum, shows that the market is a mechanism designed to function only within limits...
...Many of us would have thought that moral relativism would go so far in our society, and that in the end some things would be universally seen to be simply and absolutely wrong...
...We are coming to see that the long-devalued concept "natural," difficult as it is to define, perennially makes its legitimacy felt...
...It is simply not the case that everything is permitted or that everything has a price...
...Stern, whether on financial or on psychological grounds...
...To separate Mrs...
...Such surrogacy is banned by law in the U.K., for fear of just such monetary exploitation...
...if anything went wrong with her or the baby during the pregnancy, she was to receive nothing...
...But Mrs...
...There are hundreds of thousands of babies to adopt, although admittedly not enough for all who would adopt them...
...Whitehead signed a contract," some may claim...
...Whitehead was presented with the following six-point offer: (1) all risks belonged to her...
...But Mr...
...As readers of Commonweal must know by now, I am in favor of free economies and markets, constrained by law (the political system) and by moral judgment (the moral-cultural system...
...Stern...
...May they all live happily ever after, even as the rest of us draw lessons from the deceptions so clearly dramatized before our eyes...
...Had she been "physiologically abnormal" at five months, he would have had her killed...
...Whitehead, though Baby M. was not his, fell in love with the infant the moment he saw her in his wife's arms...
...and (6) with the delivery and surrender of a healthy baby for possession by the Sterns, Mrs...
...Next, Mrs...
...2)in case of miscarriage, she was to receive nothing...
...MICHAEL NOVAK Michael Novak holds the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C...
...It was a deception for some spokespersons to say that compassion for the desire of the Sterns to have their own baby (his own baby, not hers) entitled them to buy one...
...at this point, (4) if "physiological abnormalities" were discovered, she would be obliged' 'upon demand of William Stern'' to have an abortion...
...They might even have offered to pay her expenses...
...There may be exceptional circumstances, more or less intra-familial, in which such surrogacy makes human sense...
...Stern wanted a baby of his own even apart from the woman to whom he was married...
...Stern to insert the clause on abortion, while later saying he would value the human dignity of his new child...
...Whitehead was less worthy to be the mother than Mrs...
...thus does nature instruct us in history...
...In any case, the right of the natural mother to change her mind and to keep the child, as she would in adoption proceedings, must be protected...
...Third, our attempts to live by a merely emotive ethic, more or less make-it-yourself, have led to so many disasters that the limits of experimentation are becoming more clearly and more publicly defined, by a growing consensus...
...Stern's role as parents to Baby M. was achieved by a surrogate uterus and not a surrogate mother.'' This is absurd...
...In a fog, as Chesterton once wrote, to recognize the edges of the cliff is liberty, and vagueness is tyranny...
...and Mrs...
...These deceptions are understandable because they are so widespread in contemporary consciousness...
...subject to one single standard of respect for human rights...
...the state is limited, as markets are limited, so also, it seems, the natural law governing human happiness is less and less obscure...
...Whitehead would receive at the point of sale - $10,000...
...ANOTHER LOOK AT 'BABY M. BUYING & SELLING BABIES LIMITATIONS ON THE MARKETPLACE Many of us would have thought that it is against American law to buy or sell human beings something beneath the dignity of human beings...
...It is a scholastic deception to think that a human child is produced by a uterus alone, not by a human person...
...The "laws of nature and of nature's God" slowly make themselves known to us through experience and misadventure...
...406 It was a deception for Mr...
...Can any contract to buy or to sell a human being be valid...
...And some might say that the offer to pay a woman's expenses for not having an abortion, and, instead, carrying the baby to term, would have been like paying Mrs...
...Actually, the contract for Baby M. was worse than a contract for a slave...
...But one is under no necessity to accept the ways in which they deceived themselves about human reality and the human heart...
...Certainly our own, but not only our own...
...If Mrs...
...First of all, the "charitable agency" that arranged this contract received $7,500 up front, non-refundable...
...its outlines are emerging from the mist...
...So it is a further, broadly held deception in this society that babies are unwanted...
...Second, new scientific knowledge and technical skills offer so many possibilities that, more and more, the impulse to establish the limits that define who we are our self-appropriated nature is becoming a self-conscious imperative...
...Is not such a contract immoral on its face...
...There are three reasons for this...
...That is to beg the point...
...Whitehead is a threat to Baby M., why were her other two children not also taken away from her by the courts...
...Based upon concepts fundamental to our political economy based upon inalienable rights endowed in persons by their Creator the law ought to discourage such surrogate parenting, except in certain rare cases...
...Whitehead...
...Solely for the contracts involved, not counting legal fees, the Sterns paid $17,500...
...Among the priceless things of our experience are human infants...
...The discussion around Baby M., therefore, gave us all a rude jolt...
...and Mrs...
...To me, it is almost inconceivable that the courts could decide such a case merely on the strength of existing contract law...
...First, the entire human race is more and more being seen as interdependent and...
...One sympathizes with the Sterns and the Whiteheads and others who participated...
...Whitehead if you think it will structurally and functionally achieve a baby without her...
...If a slave woman brought forth a baby, could it not have also been bought...
...Take the uterus out of Mrs...
...Whitehead might have decided that the precious infant, no longer an abstraction on a legal pad, once it nestles at her breast, could not be given up...
...The second deception was that of a Manhattan clinical psychologist who testified before the New Jersey Court: "In both structural and functional terms, Mr...
...Stern, according to at least one source, wanted a baby but faced a medical risk in bearing it, while Mr...
...His recent book, Will It Liberate?: Questions about Liberation, was reviewed in the March 27, 1987 Commonweal...
...Babies are desperately wanted in this society...
...The third deception was to argue that Mrs...
...Was such a contract not considered, even long ago, morally repugnant...
...So it is that humanity breaks through the paper on which legal contracts purporting to bind human lives are written...
...At birth, of course, that mother, too like Mrs...
...Is it any more than trafficking in human life, as slavery was...
...For it was carried through by a series of understandable but grotesque deceptions...
...Whitehead' s uterus from her self merely by verbal agility is an outrage, not only to common sense but to the dignity of Mrs...
...Begin with the terms of the contract, which skillful lawyers carefully explained in advance to the mother of Baby M., Mary Beth Whitehead...
...Genetically, true enough, the child would not have been Mr...
...On the contrary, it might have been seen as paying a ransom to redeem an infant hostaged to death...
...Perhaps, you will say, the Sterns should have persuaded a woman they knew who wished to have an abortion to have that child for them...
...Is it not a deception to believe you can become parents by purchase...
...No babies in history have chosen their parents...
...3) between the sixteenth and twentieth week, her baby would have to be tested for "physiological abnormalities...
...The first deception was that of Mr...

Vol. 114 • July 1987 • No. 13


 
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