Intentionally Depriving a Child of Her Mother or Father a "Human Right"?

Absurd Claim by Commission

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2011—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has ruled that Costa Rica must legalize in vitro fertilization (IVF) or face penalties for alleged violations of human rights protected by international law. “They have effectively said, the right to create a child with the intention of depriving that child of knowing and being cared for by his or her mother and father is a human right specific to adults. That is absurd,” exclaimed CCG chairman William B. May.

IVF is commonly denounced on pro-life terms because, as part of the process, living human embryos are often intentionally, and sometimes inadvertently, destroyed.  However, even if that could be avoided, there is another huge moral question that is often overlooked.  IVF frequently uses gametes from sperm or egg donors.  This makes the biological mother and father inconsequential to everyone except the child who in reality is deprived of a connection with the person(s) from whom he or she originated.  The importance of this primordial relationship, and knowledge of history and extended kinship that comes with it can be confirmed by our own desires for such connections.

“Creating a child with the intention of depriving the child of his or her mother or father or both can never be a human right,” said May.  "Not only that, it is an act that actually dehumanizes since it reduces the person (child) to an object -- a product -- completely subject to the will of any person to have a child for personal fulfillment, no matter what the cost."  The only human rights involved in this case were completely ignored by the commission -- the right to life and the right for every child without exception to know and be cared for, as far as possible, by his or her mother and father.  This right is recognized by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but not by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”

The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam) reports, “In 2000, the Costa Rican Constitutional Court ruled that IVF in the country was unconstitutional because it violated the right to life of the embryo.  Four years later, the Center for Reproductive Rights petitioned the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to accept a case claiming that the human rights of two Costa Rican couples were violated by the ban.  The Commission took up the case last fall and asked the government of Costa Rica to legalize IVF, which the Commission claims is necessary to comply with the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR).”  The ACHR recognizes the right to life, which must be protected from conception.

“According to excerpts of the Commission’s report obtained by the Costa Rican press, the Commission decided that the government’s ban on IVF invaded the privacy of families and also invaded the right to ‘found a family according to their own desires and aspirations,’” C-Fam reported. (emphasis added).

"There is a right to procreate," May pointed out, "but not a right to found a family by hook or by crook.  A so-called 'right to found a family' necessarily makes a person a means to an end (object) rather than an end in itself.  In effect, the 'human rights' commission said the desires of the adults, good or bad, constitute a right that supersedes the human rights of the child –- the right to life and the right to know and be cared for, as far as possible, by one’s mother and father.”

The report pointed out that Costa Rica is tragically the only remaining country in the Americas to prohibit IVF.  It stated that justifications for the ban on the basis of protecting human life were too “severe.”

Unfortunately, Costa Rica seems to be buckling to international pressure and is now considering a bill to legalize IVF with restrictions on the number of embryos created and a requirement that all be implanted, as reported by C-Fam.

C-Fam also reported that if Costa Rica does not comply with the recommendation, the Commission could bring the case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

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