Critics: 'Right to a family' bill more about adults than children

Critics: 'Right to a family' bill more about adults than children

Critics: 'Right to a family' bill more about adults than children

A well-known and reputable bioethicist contends lawmakers should reject a bill introduced in Congress that pays little attention to the harms of modern reproductive techniques.

Several Democratic members of Congress have introduced a bill that would make assisted reproductive technologies (ART) – such as surrogacy and in vitro fertilization (IVF) – a "right." It's called the Right to Build Families Act of 2022, and was introduced in December by Senators Tammy Duckworth (Illinois) and Patty Murray (Washington), and Congresswoman Susan Wild (Pennsylvania).

The bill's sponsors state that, among other things, the measure would create a "private right of action" for individuals and healthcare providers in states that have limited access to ART; and prohibit limitations on people accessing ART or retaining their reproductive genetic materials.

While on the surface those goals may appear honorable, Dr. David Prentice of the Charlotte Lozier Institute tells AFN the bill opens the door to some very troubling abuses of science.

Prentice, Dr. David (Charlotte Lozier Institute) Prentice

"It would allow, for example, for cloning of babies … or making three-parent babies … or genetically edited babies – the sorted of designer babies genetically engineered to your perspective," he describes. "It really is designed to satisfy the desires of adults without regards to the health or welfare of children."

Joining Prentice in expressing grave concerns about the bill is Emma Waters with The Heritage Foundation. She describes it as "muddled thinking" to argue that the choice to build a family is a fundamental right.

"A child, whose life begins at conception, is not a mere object to design, buy, or sell to fulfill an adult's wishes," she tells Live Action. "There's no such thing as a 'fundamental right' to a child per se, and it certainly can't be invoked to trump the basic rights of others."

Prentice, an internationally recognized expert on cell biology and bioethics, says many of the harms of assisted reproductive technologies are known, but many have yet to be researched.

"Papers have come out showing that a number of these little ones created through these processes in the lab have higher incidences of certain types of cancers or other problems," he notes. Those "other problems," according to Prentice, include low birth weight, high blood pressure, cerebral palsy, and autism.

He also warns that the bill opens the door to anyone become providers because there is no licensing requirement. That, he says, could be harmful to mothers and the children they produce through the techniques.

Among the bill's supporters are the American Humanist Association and the pro-abortion/pro-LGBTQ Center for Reproductive Rights.