Spanish bishops decries new law on assisted reproduction

In an interview with the Archdiocese of Madrid’s news service Analisis Digital, the president of the Spanish Bishops’ Subcommittee on Family and Life, Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla, denounced the new law on assisted reproduction passed last week by the country’s House of Representatives, saying it opened the doors to such horrors as “bio-adultery and genetic incest.”  The new law, he warned, would lead to “the silent and unstoppable suicide of our civilization.”

Bishop Reig called the new measure a “weapon of mass destruction of human lives” that constitutes an “attack on at least ten fundamental human rights.”  He said it would facilitate “murderous behavior” by allowing the creation of “thousands of ‘leftover’ embryos that are frozen and condemned to an uncertain future.”  The decision of who can be considered a person and who not would be arbitrarily left to the individual, he said, as during the first two weeks of life the human embryo is to be considered “mere biological material.”

Bishop Reig also decried the new law’s manipulation of language with its use of the term “pre-embryo,” which he said was a “deceptive” distortion of scientific terminology with no basis in biology.
The power to decide who lives and who dies constitutes a true “silent holocaust,” he added.

The new law would allow the cloning and harvesting human embryos for so-called “medical” purposes, which Bishop Reig said “introduces the dangerous precedent of the ends justifying the means.”

“No ends, however laudable, can justify the production of human beings,” he stated.  “The dignity of each person demands he be treated as an end in himself and not a thing.”  “Reproductive cloning and ‘therapeutic’ or ‘research’ cloning are not two different kinds of cloning,” he explained.  “They imply the same technical process of cloning and differ only in the ends being pursued.”  Both constitute “grave attacks” upon the dignity of the human person, the bishop said.

“Bio-adultery” and “genetic incest”

In explaining his objections to the new law, Bishop Reig underscored that each person “has the right to know his or her father and mother, and when that is not the case, incestuous sexual relations, among other grave consequences of a psychological and moral nature, are made possible.”

By producing human embryos in laboratories for the purpose of later donating them to others, he warned, “a great injustice is perpetuated: that of deliberately depriving them of the right to know and be raised by their father and their mother.” In this way the foundation is being laid for “a society without fathers and mothers and especially without the paternal presence, which constitutes a very grave attack upon the psychological integrity of children.”  “All of this will lead to various psychological disorders, including the increase in the number of persons with homosexual and suicidal inclinations,” he went on.

“Because such individuals would not be aware of their own origins, incestuous sexual relations between direct ancestors and descendents or between brothers and sisters could occur, with many unforeseen biological and psychological consequences,” said Bishop Reig.

The law could also result in “bio-adultery” and “genetic incest,” he said, because the donation of not only embryos, but also of ova and sperm cells is always immoral.  “The conjugating of one person’s gamete with that of someone who is not his or her spouse constitutes what we could call authentic ‘bio-adultery’,” said Bishop Reig.

Likewise, he continued, “anonymity in donating gametes makes it possible for a woman to conceive with the semen of her own father, grandfather or brother, thus producing a true ‘genetic incest,’ with, in this case as well, unforeseen biological and psychological consequences.” 

“I hope our political representatives are conscientious when the time comes to vote on this bill.  The stability of the very framework of the family and society is what’s at stake.  Politicians, and especially if they are Catholic, should oppose the passage of this law with every licit means,” he said.

Spain’s Senate has yet to vote on the law.

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