Bioethics in Law & Culture Summer 2021 vol. 4 issue 3
Title: Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Rights Movement
Authors: Katy Faust and Stacy Manning
Review By: Joe Kral, MA
Publisher: Post Hill Press
If there is one important lesson that the reader needs to take away from reading this excellent book it is simply this – adult desires simply do not trump children’s rights. The fact is that in many ways, utilitarian ethics has functionally permeated much of the ethos of the world today and it has come to the detriment of the children. Divorce, surrogacy, IVF technologies, etc. have placed adult desires over the rights of children and it is doing society a gargantuan disservice.
As this journal primarily focuses on pro-life issues, I will keep my review focused on the pro-life issues of the book. Let me begin with stating that chapter one of the book is an excellent start with its discussion of rights. Rights are not merely a legal concept put into practice, but rather a moral reality that is put into practice and this book does a great job of helping the average reader understand the philosophy behind this. Sadly, much of society equate rights with desires or wants. That is a complete misunderstanding of what rights are. This book devotes an entire chapter on the very notion of rights and why they not mere desires or wants of people. In many ways, it certainly helps the layperson, who may not have a strong intellectual developed notion of rights come to a more mature understanding of how rights extend from moral duties.
it is on this point the book takes off and dives into the troubled issues listed above. One of the issues tackled is the subject of eugenics. In a day and age where public funds are being used into the research of polygenic testing for IVF embryonic children, we must acknowledge that the IVF industry is very open about its eugenic practices. In fact, it has been quite open about it for quite some time. Both Faust and Manning discuss the history of eugenics in the artificial reproductive technology industry in some detail. The industry has a past in gamete selling. Those gamete donors with more “desirable traits” usually garner higher prices for their gamete cells. Now with the advent of Artificial Intelligence technology, we are beginning to see AI pick those embryonic children that have desirable traits over the others that do not.
While many people may tend to look at the end result of IVF and surrogacy, a newborn baby, they tend not to look at some of the more vicious practices of the industry itself. Since eugenics is openly practiced within the industry, abortion is widely practiced when a child is found out to have a genetic defect that does not meet the intended parents’ approval. Again, both Faust and Manning deliver an exceptional explanation of just how abortion plays a role in this industry.
In conclusion, this book is a must-read for all who are interested in just how the IVF industry is related to the pro-life movement. It is well written for a general audience so the layperson, pro-life professional, and the academic will have ease understanding the issues at hand. On a final note, we as a pro-life movement need to really come to an understanding that much needs to be done to help protect IVF embryonic children from the varied abuses they face, such as commodification and destruction. This book presents an excellent opportunity for all of us in the movement to see just how the issues are related and just how we, as a movement, can begin to look at measures to protect these little ones.