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The Abraham Center of life bills itself as "the world's first embryo bank." Clients of the San Antonio, Texas, center will be able to place their orders for ready-made embryos after perusing a detailed profile of sperm and egg donors.

"We're just trying to help people have babies," Jennalee Ryan, the center's founder, told The Washington Post. Bioethicist John A. Robertson told the Post that embryo banking is not much different from what fertility clinics already do. "People are already choosing sperm and egg donors in separate transactions. Combining them doesn't pose any new major ethical problems."

But embryo banking is not morally neutral. It is another step down the slippery slope toward the clear evil of eugenics. According to global projections, 200,000 people are born annually using in vitro fertilization (ivf). The U.S. is the world's largest user of IVF with 112,000 treatments per year.

For many years, IVF proponents dismissed fears about IVF abuses as irrational slippery-slope arguments. But now the Abraham Center for Life, through embryo selection, is moving society farther down the slope. This abuse of biotechnology opens the floodgates for commercializing human life. When will the embryo drive-through service start?

The slippery slope is real, and it involves a broad cross-section of the bioethics industry. W. Jay Wood, associate professor of philosophy at Wheaton College, notes that the Christian view of sinful human nature makes slippery-slope arguments credible. "Humans naturally test limits. Any cop will tell you that if you post a 35-mph speed limit, drivers will go 38, 40, 42, until the law cracks down."

Slippery-slope reasoning is not foolproof. Wood says, "The illegitimate versions can't tell a plausible ...

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March 2007

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