I guess it takes global warming hysteria to get the bioethics movement to criticize what is known in the trade as “artificial reproductive technologies” or ART.
But now, in the ever more radical Journal of Medical Ethics, Cristina Richie, of Boston College’s Department of Theology, argues that these technologies should be regulated to limit the number of children–called “carbon legacies,” as a means of fighting climate change. From the article:
A carbon footprint is the aggregate of resource use and carbon emissions over a person’s life. A carbon legacy occurs when a person chooses to procreate. All people have carbon footprints; only people with biological children have carbon legacies.
I don’t know if Richie coined the term, but it is ridiculous. Children are children, not bundles of carbon producers.
ART is an almost unregulated industry, a lamentable circumstance with which many bioethicists are content. But Richie says global warming has to change the field’s thinking about ART.
Through the use of ARTs multiple children are born, adding to worldwide carbon emissions. This is a burden on the already over-taxed ecosystem to support new beings who might not have existed without medical intervention. It is therefore the obligation of environmental policymakers, the ethical and medical communities, and even society to carefully weigh the interests of our shared planet with a business that intentionally creates more humans when we must reduce our carbon impact.