A fairly extraordinary email I received this afternoon objecting to the Australian Family Lobby’s support for equal access to IVF technology:
No IVF treatment
I am pro-family until it conflicts with our survival. I’m for equal access to IVF treatment. However, since one of our problems is an ever increasing population my view of IVF treatment is that no one should have access to it. That would be equal treatment and considering the planet.
To which I shot back:
Any other medical technologies you think should be withdrawn from public use because it would be better for “the ever-increasing population” if the patients just died?
Oh, that’s completely different, replies my interlocutor, outlining the terrible consequence of providing medical assistance for infertile couples:
People will not just die if one does not allow IVF. We can try to keep our population within limits rationally or we can allow pestilence, war and famine to do the job.
Seriously? (People won’t die if you refuse them hip operations, either, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.) So the aim is stopping extra children being born, is it? Well, then –
So you’re advocating a one-child policy? Restrictions on permission for having kids?
Or are you just discriminating against those with infertility issues?
I’ll let you know how my new friend answers that.
UPDATE: Ah, it’s laissez-faire population reduction:
I advocate no aid to infertility. I am also for more education for women. That lowers the birth rate. One can lower the birth rate without introducing compulsion. I am not for forced abortion or other compulsion. I would give tax breaks for people of child bearing age who have fewer children. I favor education as to the consequences of increasing population.
We have many desires which are programmed into us. They all don’t have to be satisfied. When we were living in a hunter-gatherer society we might overeat because we would be uncertain when we would have our next meal. Now we have a problem with obesity. When we were living in conditions with a high infant mortality we would have many children so that some of them would survive. Just as we have to control our desire to eat to prevent obesity in the current society we should also control our desire to have children.
We also can listen to nature. It is possible that those with infertility issues are more likely to produce children with mental or physical problems. Perhaps they shouldn’t reproduce.
To repeat: We can try to keep our population within limits rationally or we can allow pestilence, war and famine to do the job.
Let’s be honest here – correct me if I’m wrong, but I’d bet good money that you do advocate aids to pregnancy. You advocate the provision of public hospitals with obstetrics departments and all manner of other medical services necessary to assist women to have children. You do not demand that they “listen to nature” and be blocked from access to modern medical technologies.
No, it’s only those who require the assistance of the IVF procedure to have children where you decide the line must arbitrarily be drawn. Where medical technology must be denied.
Why? Because your family never needed it? (How many kids do you have, if you don’t mind me asking?)
It’s disingenuous for you to pretend that you’re particularly concerned about overpopulation, because IVF conceptions are a tiny proportion of births in Australia each year. If you were really concerned about pestilence and death from overpopulation, you’d be advocating doing something about all those other births – but you’re not. You’re just picking on the people with medical issues with which you don’t empathise, as if they should shoulder the burden of your feigned fears.
PS Your claims about infertile people being “likely to produce children with mental or physical problems” are offensive garbage.
PPS If you’re so opposed to technology, so determined for us to “listen to nature”, why are you sending messages from your computer over the telecommunications network using electricity generated in entirely artificial ways rather than physically running them over to me?