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BY Sarah Reinhard
This week on Register Radio, Thom Price spoke with Jennifer Lahl, founder and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network.
She couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical-care nurse, a hospital administrator and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak to those who have no voice. That includes topics like egg donation, assisted suicide, surrogacy and human cloning.
Lahl spoke about the new documentary Breeders: A Subclass of Women? that the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network produced.
Here’s the trailer of the film:
The documentary explores the issue of surrogacy. Surrogacy, as defined by Lahl, is when a couple employs or contracts with another woman to carry their child. It can be done for no pay or for financial compensation. Though the surrogate is sometimes the biological mother, it is usually the case that she is “just the womb,” and it is also usually done for money.
The film talks with women and men who have been through the maze of surrogacy. The unintended consequences and misguided thinking about assisted reproduction, says Lahl, are a large part of what’s explored in the film.
Breeders is the third and final film in a three-part series that the bioethics center has produced exploring third-party reproduction. The first was Eggspoitation, considering women who donated or sold their eggs. The second was Anonymous Father’s Day, which interviewed young adults and adults who were conceived by anonymous donors.
Lahl sees a need for quick public education on this topic, especially as the same-sex “marriage” debate grows and becomes normalized. We need to think deeply about “What does it mean to get into these third-party arrangements and contracts?” says Lahl. The new buzzword is “collaborate reproduction,” which Lahl is trying to bring attention to.
“We don’t need to work with other people to have our children,” says Lahl.
It takes about a year or a little less to roll out one of these documentary films. Lahl says the Internet has been an amazing connector for people to find her and share their stories.
Her center is “pretty much a lone voice” in exposing the dirty underside of this technology. In a recent Senate hearing in the state of Kansas, Lahl testified about what she has uncovered. She notes that “it’s all about the ‘right’ to have a baby.” What, she asks, about the other people involved, including the child?
There are legal nightmares ahead, according to Lahl. For example, what happens when a couple divorces while the surrogate is pregnant? Making headlines right now is a Kansas case where a lesbian couple found a donor on Craig’s List, and the father is being called upon to provide assistance. (He’s saying he was “just a sperm donor.”)
This is not, Lahl maintains, just a “conservative” issue. She testified in Kansas with a member of the board of the National Organization for Women. Major feminist voices from the left have endorsed Breeders.
“We have to be looking at all sides, not just those who want a baby — no matter what,” says Lahl.
The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network was founded because no one else was addressing these topics. As Lahl says, “There are all these new, modern technologies coming down the pike,” and there isn’t a well-informed public.
The center’s goal is to educate the public about affirming human dignity through the lens of new technology. You can learn more at CBC-Network.org.
Exciting Changes at EWTN
Dan Burke spoke with EWTN President and COO Doug Keck. Keck hosts the EWTN Bookmark show and many live events, including, most recently, the March for Life and Walk for Life West Coast.
Among the changes coming to EWTN Radio, Keck shared about some additional programming options that will be open to affiliates. Currently, there is a “talk” segment of shows already available. There will now be “teaching and devotional” segments.
“With a small, incremental expense,” Keck said, there will be a whole new channel of offerings. Instead of starting up a new organization, EWTN has been able to double [its] radio programming by tapping into the library of what’s already available through the TV and radio programming in the past and present. The saying around the radio station now is, ‘We offer solid Catholic radio programming 48 hours a day.’”
“We’re interested in feedback,” Keck said of the new format, which he says is a platform for many apostolates, including EWTN’s own work hosting programs from Ave Maria Radio, St. Joseph Communications, Catholic Answers and others.
The content is available on AM-FM radio and Sirius-XM and also on the website and the app for mobile devices. The majority of the teaching programming is a mix of reasonably new and some older programming.
“We have evergreen on evergreen,” Keck joked, referring to the fact that the shelf life of the “old” programs is very long.
Listen to this week’s episode and find out for yourself what Keck says are some of his favorite shows.
Quite a bit of the EWTN Radio material is available from EWTN Religious Catalogue for purchase. Much of the content is also available for free download. Keck mentioned that this is thanks to the generosity of donors.
With a reach of around 600 million, the goal of EWTN is to “make sure we’re available every way we can for all people who have all different reasons for acquiring us in different ways” to find out information about the Church from the heart of the Church.
Said Keck, “Speaking the truth in love is what it’s always been about.”