Reaction to Medicine Nobel ignored IVF ‘agenda,' writer says

Prof. Robert Edwards / Pope Benedict XVI
Prof. Robert Edwards / Pope Benedict XVI


Reaction to the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Medicine to Robert Edwards ignored that the true agenda of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) includes hubris towards human life and the dominance of scientists over society, a Scottish columnist has argued.

While some have attacked the Catholic Church’s criticism of the Nobel Committee, Gerald Warner said in The Scotsman, the Church’s reaction was “no more aggressive” than the professor’s own comments.

According to Warner, the IVF pioneer Edwards has said of his work: “I wanted to find out exactly who was in charge, whether it was God Himself or whether it was scientists in the laboratory - It was us! The Pope looked totally stupid.”

“That hubristic claim revealed the true IVF agenda, which was not primarily to assist childless couples,” Warner charged. “Above all, it was about the right of scientists to dominate society with a dehumanizing technology which nobody must presume to constrain.”

The columnist said that no critics have stopped to ask why the Church condemns IVF. According to Warner, the Church accepts the “scientific principle recognized since 1883” that a human being comes into existence at the moment of fertilization.

“That confers an inviolable right to life,” he continued, noting Catholic teaching that IVF wrongly separates the unitive and procreative purposes of marriage.

“(I)n practical terms it has killed millions of human embryos,” Warner said of the procedure. In his view, a development of immense moral implications has been allowed “without serious debate.”

Deeming the record of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to be “appalling,” he said it has worked opposite to its purpose of protecting the special status of the human embryo and has never refused a research license.

“(I)t might as well have never existed,” Warner wrote, noting that it is about to be abolished and replaced by the Care Quality Commission with possibly “even less oversight of this morally acute area.”

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