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abel d soto
abel soto IT HAS all come to us in the guise of "quality of life," and "reproductive choice." And, of course, it has a lofty rationale: to control the growth of population, thus helping alleviate the worsening poverty condition in a Third World country like the Philippines.

Ethics has a kind of desperate post hoc character these days. Biomedical technology, RH Bill, on the other hand, are preemptive, aggressive, on the move—and searching for big profits. Reproduction is shaping up as a kind of industrial production: the manufacture of particular goods for a price.

Paradoxically, the new "eugenics" operating under the umbrella of reproductive freedom, may have opened human lives to more invasive forms of control. The search for intervention in human reproduction comes in the form of government laws, and human procreation is transformed into a technical operation.

All approaches to eugenics—from Plato's elegant Republic to Hitler's Reich —aimed to eliminate, undermine, or leapfrog the family to achieve their aims. To "modern eugenicists," too, the family and "traditional morality" are obstacles to the path of radical social and genetic engineering (and more such other names).

What are the implications when life becomes a commodity, when morality is reduced into law? Who become our candidates for what is tagged today as "quality of life" and "reproductive choice"? Who will really give truthful and humane answers to these life-threatening questions? Who must call a spade a spade? Has President Aquino thought of asking himself of what possibly would her mother tell him if she were alive today regarding "reproductive choice"?

Sad as it may seem, but the government has been long preparing the people to accept a remarkable degree of surveillance and manipulation of their lives to satisfy their demand that babies be made (or unmade) whenever they want and as soon as a "valid contract" and a convincing law could be drafted. The hazards of reproductive freedom are not easily visible to liberal politics. However, liberalism nurtures freedom without cultivating a vision of family, let alone of community. Thus, it is easily drafted on the side of the status quo, with once so-called negative liberties intact.

Many families are troubled by the Frankenstein monster the government seems to be unleashing. Many communities are affected by these developments. The political and moral battles over definitions of "quality life" and "reproductive freedom"—and, indeed, of human life itself—are in their renaissance. The new eugenics (again, in many different guises), in the meantime, has passed one green light after another and is rolling at breakneck speed, claiming "quality life" and "reproductive freedom" on its side.

Erecting a stop sign at future intersections requires that we reject the view that freedom can be narrowed to contractual terms and drafted laws, and that human lives can be bartered, that we have a "right" to eliminate cells that are already and clearly breathing life inside reproductive organs. And it requires that families and communities forge alliances, however fragile, to preserve human dignity, which must be the basis for any genuine vision of "quality of life" and "reproductive freedom."

When we "commodify" life, we also commodify the Giver and Source of it. Can we truly afford the real price?

[About the author. Abel D. Soto took up his certificatory double major course in Creative Writing and Performing Arts at Centre for Arts Foundation, Inc. in Quezon City. He also finished the Managing the Arts Program at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City. He is a resident of Bacolor, Pampanga.]

-Posted: 5:39 PM 12/29/10 | More of this author on eK!