On Comparing Epidurals and C-Sections to Artificial Insemination

So after reading an article in support of surrogacy and artificial insemination for gay and lesbian couples, I began pondering something they were trying to argue. If one is to call surrogacy and artificial insemination unnatural, would you not then have to call c-sections and epidurals unnatural as well? I have a reply in mind to this question, but I’m curious to see what others have to say about this. I look forward to your responses.

IVF is an unnatural form of procreation. Epidurals and C-sections are not forms of procreation. They’re forms of helping the mother get the (already alive) child out. And C-sections are typically only used when absolutely necessary - not done frivolously.

Their argument completely misunderstands what we’re talking about when we call IVF “unnatural”. I get the impression that they are not aware that when we call it unnatural, we basically using the word as a shorthand for a much longer argument that inevitably goes back to sex and procreation being intrinsically related.

With c-sections and epidurals, you are dealing with medical interventions that address something that goes wrong in the natural process. IVF on the other hand brings about a pregnancy by removing the conjugal union from the natural process. That conjugal union is the image of God that man was created in.

Two completely different areas of moral theology. First, there is teaching on what is morally permissible as medical treatment or prevention. Almost all medical treatments are moral. Most modern medicine involves interventions that are not “natural” - drugs, surgery, etc. Epidurals and c-sections are medical procedures to treat or prevent a medical condition.

Artificial insemination and surrogacy are procedures which do not do anything to treat or prevent a medical condition. They are not even considered under the same moral constructs. Teaching about procreation is part of the Church’s teaching on marriage.

They are not related concepts at all.

We say, for example, that artificial contraception is wrong and natural family planning is moral, not because one is artificial and the other is natural but because one violates natural law and the other does not. Procedures, devices, interventions, etc that seek to assist nature in achieving it’s designed end are licit. Those that contradict natural moral law are not. Thus, eyeglasses are moral, even though they are artificial, because they assist a person in seeing, which is what our eyes were designed to do.

God has designed the marital act such that its two ends, unity and procreation, must not be deliberately separated. A couple may not attempt the procreative aspect apart from the marital unitive aspect. That is, a couple that creates a test tube baby circumvents God’s design for sex.

If a woman is having trouble giving birth or it is clear that a vaginal delivery will be dangerous for her or her baby, then it assists with nature to deliver the child via c-section. There are several threads on this forum discussing the morality of epidurals; suffice it for me to say that choosing an epidural does not violate natural law the way that choosing to use a surrogate does.

Apples and oranges.

C-sections is a surgery to remove the child, because usually something went wrong. Some doctors will do another c-section if you already had one.

And I don’t know why there is controversy over epidurals. I’m sure everyone who has a problem with it takes pain reliever if they have pain. Any type of pain is a natural response.

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