There are varying accounts of just exactly what occurred in a recent news story about a Thai surrogate and the Australian couple who employed her. The family is now insisting that they wanted the baby and that the surrogate mother unilaterally insisted on keeping the boy. She’s insisted, however, that the parents wanted an abortion and refused to even look at or touch the boy (Australian parents who left baby with Down’s syndrome with Thai surrogate say they were told boy only had day to live | National Post):
Pattharamon, 21, who has two children, has provided a different account, saying the couple wanted her to have an abortion and then refused to look at or touch Gammy. She has since insisted on keeping the boy and dismissed offers from around the world to adopt him.
In the sexual revolution, we detached sex from its procreative responsibilities through the propagation of contraception and abortion. In modern surrogacy, children are becoming a commodity in a DIY world. Children are insisted on as a right, even apart from procreation — and not just children, but designer children. This brave new world will include child consumerism in ways that go far beyond the fears of yesteryear’s prophets. Defective children will be rejected by the angry, paying consumers. Idolatry of self and of the perfect human image will ironically degrade the intrinsic dignity of personhood as we assign value based on physical stature, intellect, and functional capacities. This is an alarming trend that already has advocates among philosophers dealing with bioethics (eg. Peter Singer).
I find the outrage over this recent story an encouraging sign of God’s common grace at work in the hearts of people who still find virtue in protecting, loving, and caring for the weak, defenseless, and rejected. If this boy had been aborted, however, we wouldn’t even hear about this story. There’s still work to do. The church has a tremendous opportunity to advocate for the least among us and combat the consumerism of children among parents in pursuit of deified offspring. Rather than replicating a child after an image that we design, we must be content to find God’s image in whomsoever He gifts us with. For it’s in our capacity to love others where we most reflect the divine image as parents, one of community with overflowing love.
© 2014, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.