June 18, 2001
4:59 AM   Subscribe

Should single women lose the right to have babies through in-vitro fertilization?
posted by nonharmful (15 comments total)
More than 70% of the votes counted so far are against the law.

Democracy in action.
posted by bilco at 5:10 AM on June 18, 2001

I can sort of understand what the Slovenes are going for, if I switch my brain into 'it's OK to legislate morality' mode: if people are going to go to heroic measures to bring a child into the world, then that child should have a shot at a stable family to grow up in. Not that marriage is a perfect guarantee of happiness, far from it. But I can see the reasoning behind their decision.

But in my mind, the more interesting question is: is IVF really a right? For that matter, in a world with six billion people, is reproduction, period, still a 100% completely inalienable right?
posted by darukaru at 5:31 AM on June 18, 2001

Darukaru, I wonder if morality was the most important reason. How about religion? Slovenia is a mostly Roman Catholic country.

In answer to your question about the right of reproduction in a world with six billion people. Why start at birth? Why not focus on the end? Is, in a world with six billion people, medical treatment in diseased elderly a right?
sorry, grandad ;-(
posted by nonharmful at 6:31 AM on June 18, 2001

no offense, but slovenia doesn't strike me as the sort of country that needs plenty more babies.
posted by moz at 7:11 AM on June 18, 2001

Strikes me that there's a peculiar formulation to the question "is IVF a right"? The way I would phrase it would be "do two consenting people have the right to make a child"? Different cultures have different perspectives on that one, but I can't come up with a (non-religious) reason why IVF is more artificial than fertility drugs or a C-section. And it's the presumed artificiality of the procedure that's in question, yes?

Whether or not I think IVF is or is not overused in our overpopulated world is a separate issue.

As for your comment, moz, I don't guess the motive of that 70% RC electorate is population control, regardless of the conditions in Slovenia.
posted by BT at 7:37 AM on June 18, 2001

How about religion? Slovenia is a mostly Roman Catholic country.

I could be wrong, but I think the Roman Catholic church is against in-vitro fertilization in general, not just for unmarried women. If I'm right about this, then this isn't really a RC thing, despite what the article implies.

I imagine you can be Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish or even an agnostic or an atheist and still not be a fan of single parents.
posted by bilco at 7:37 AM on June 18, 2001

BT: thanks for the rephrasing job, but IVF/fertility-drugs and C-sections are apples and oranges. A C-section saves a pregnancy which is already under way; fertility treatments enable those who can't conceive to do so.
After thinking about it, a better formulation of the 'right to IVF' question is 'Do you have the right to demand a child if you're incapable of natural conception?' (Although that leads into the whole 'why not adopt?' question.)

nonharmful: Religion dictates morality. I don't think it's specifically relevant that the Slovenes are RCC (and I was really trying to avoid the issue, lest a round of Catholic-bashing begin.)
As to cutting off medical treatment to diseased elderly... Why stop there? Why not deny all medical treatment to everyone? That'll surely fix our population problems. Sorry, I don't see how letting grandpa die like a dog is equivalent to cutting down the birth rate.
posted by darukaru at 7:47 AM on June 18, 2001

Slovenia probably isn't what you think it is. Slovenia is the very westernmost, very Westernized tip of what used to be Yugoslavia, on the border with Austria and Hungary. It was the first to leave, and was never victimized by the war that has ripped through most of the rest of their former countrymates' lands, except in terms of accepting refugees. It's more accurate to think of it as an atypical small European country than as an emblem of the Balkan wars.

Slovenia is also frequently confused with Slovakia, which is the poorer, still Sovietesque half of the former Czechoslovakia.

With a population growth rate of 0.12%, Slovenia is, like much of southern Europe, in danger of facing a declining 21st century population with a rising percentage of retirees requiring support from a shrinking pool of workers. (The US would be too, if it weren't for immigration.)
posted by dhartung at 7:53 AM on June 18, 2001

Right. Slovenia is demographically not unlike Italy, which is the hardest hit by the population-decline problem, I think. But it's developing problem all over Europe.

Slovenia, Slovakia, and don't forget Slavonia.
posted by rodii at 9:51 AM on June 18, 2001

Oprah, Uma. Uma.... Oprah.
posted by dong_resin at 10:53 AM on June 18, 2001

darukaru, of course you're right, it's a bit far-fetched, but the point is, it's all medical treatment. It's not the right to have a baby, but the right to receive medical treatment. Just like grandad (and his medical treatment) a couple has a right to try...
posted by nonharmful at 11:40 AM on June 18, 2001

So why don't single women?
posted by nonharmful at 11:40 AM on June 18, 2001

…and then there's Slobbovia.
posted by rodii at 11:46 AM on June 18, 2001

IVF isn't treatment. It does nothing to correct the underlying problem, it simply bypasses that problem to create a specific outcome. That would be like saying that colostomy is a treatment for a bowel obstruction, instead of removing the obstruction.

There are treatments for infertility, but it seems that in these cases, IVF is being used because AI hasn't worked, and IVF is the conventional escalation after failed AI. By the time all is said and done and the bills are tallied, these women are selfishly spending tens of thousands of dollars to give birth while thousands of children throughout Europe wait to be adopted. I don't know about making it illegal -- but it certainly already seems highly immoral. This isn't about parenting for the sake of children, this is about reproduction for one's own sense of accomplishment. It's repulsive.
posted by Dreama at 12:14 PM on June 18, 2001

If they weren't selfishly spending the money on conceiving the child, they'd be selfishly spending it on something else. Whether or not it is done for personal gratification doesn't appear to me to be relevant. Reproduction in an age of ubiquitous birth control is always about one's own sense of accomplishment.

That said, I agree that this is all a bit silly. I don't see why someone would want to put their body through the misery that is pregnancy & childbirth if they could afford to adopt instead. Maybe it's like climbing Mount Everest, or something, and they want the sense of achievement at the end instead of just taking a helicopter to the top.

posted by Mars Saxman at 12:29 PM on June 18, 2001

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