Epilogue: Rome Speaks

  • George P. SmithII


Dated February 22, 1987, and issued March 10, 1987, the Vatican released its “Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation: Replies to Certain Questions of the Day” over the signature of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.66 Abortion and experiments on fetuses were condemned as well as all forms of artificial fertilization (i.e., in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer) for married couples, as being unnatural interferences with the physical act of intercourse. Given the fact of previous rejections by Rome of donor artificial insemination (AID) and even husband artificial insemination (AIH), the current sweeping condemnations of all reproductive technologies and their use was not unexpected.67 In addition to insisting on the total inviolability of germinating life at the very instance of fertilization, the document rejects absolutely surrogate mothers.68 When asked why the sweeping denunciation of all new reproductive technologies and specifically the use of surrogate mothers, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfers within a marital relationship of love and affection, Cardinal Ratzinger termed their use as unloving and egoistic. A prominent Jesuit theologian termed the Cardinal’s response as “utter nonsense.”69


Embryo Transfer Married Couple Artificial Insemination Marital Relationship Defensive Reaction 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • George P. SmithII
    • 1
  1. 1.The Catholic University of America School of LawUSA

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