Human Exceptionalism

Cynthia Tucker Illustrates the Reason Why Society is Spinning Out of Control

Terminal nonjudgmentalism and a refusal to do anything concrete lest one be thought mean or worse, conservative, is a problem that leads to a wide range cultural subversions–from the suicide counseling of the Final Exit Network to the new eugenics of destroying embryos that tests show will be born with the wrong color eyes or skin shade. This kind of squishy amoralism is quickly leading us toward the coup de culture in which anything goes from reproductive cloning, to the duty to die, to using people with profound cognitive disabilities as sources of organs or medically experimenting on Alzheimer’s patients, all of which are already being promoted in the most prestigious medical and bioethics journals.

The opinion columns of Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Constitution Journal provide vivid illustrations of the subversive power of moral paralysis. Writing to oppose Georgia legislation seeking to prevent another Nadya Suleman, who has given birth to 14 children via IVF, Tucker predictably pours on the castigation, sarcastically calling the bill’s sponsors, “instant experts on fertility, motherhood and medical ethics” for wanting to actually regulate the out-of-control industry. And what is her answer? From her column:

It’s not that Suleman’s excesses have been ignored. Her case is already attracting attention from the proper authorities, who have started a healthy (if belated) debate over wayward fertility clinics and their costs, financial and moral. The California Medical Board has started an investigation of Michael Kamrava, Suleman’s fertility doctor, who apparently ignored all guidelines for best practices.

Last year, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine adopted guidelines advocating the transfer of only one embryo for women under 35 (Suleman is 33) and no more than two for any woman, except in extraordinary circumstances. Those extraordinary circumstances include older women, for whom the guidelines permit more embryos–but no more than five regardless of age or other factors. The guidelines followed years of pressure from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and medical ethicists, who cited the risks of multiple births.

Gee, that and $2.00 will buy you a small cup of coffee at Starbuck’s.

Guidelines are not legally enforceable and mean nothing in a society in which principle takes a back seat to “choice.” Moreover, Italy, Ireland, and Germany have legally instituted reasonable regulations over IVF: If they can do it, why can’t the State of Georgia? Moreover again, the bill is based on the very guidelines Tucker extols, so what’s her beef?

I guess we are supposed to wring our hands, “debate” the matter, but never actually do anything because that smacks of moralism and an actual belief in right and wrong. Cynthia Tucker continually exhibits the kind of mushy thinking that hates the solution more than the problem, a phenomenon that paralyzes effective action on important moral issues, bringing us to the brink of the ethical abyss.