Lariat Letter: For once, think of the children (and mothers, too)

In an Oct. 15 article titled “Children Are People Too,” Vanessa Rasanen of The Federalist writes, “Society has stripped our children of their natural worth, instead morphing them into commodities to be weighed, planned, and shaped to conform with what we think is most convenient for us and our timelines.” The author was speaking about abortion, but her point carries over into the discussion over whether Apple and Facebook (and other companies like them) should pay for their female workers to freeze their eggs.

The Lariat, in a recent editorial (“Option to freeze eggs helps career women,” Oct. 29, 2014), supported these companies’ decision to do so. But this position devalues working mothers, treats children like a marketplace good, and neglects the way our bodies are meant to be, the outworking of our souls – as Christians have taught for two millennia.

The editors of the Lariat would more than likely object that they are not discounting motherhood, but merely offering support for career-driven women who may wish to have babies later. As Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times points out, however, companies who adopt policies like those championed by Facebook, Apple and the Lariat “could be seen as paying women to put off childbearing.”

This amounts to making women implicitly choose between raising children and advancing in their job, which would undoubtably have a negative effect on women who want to choose both career and family. At Bloomberg View, Megan McArdle worries that having a child would be exceptionally difficult for a working woman in her 40s or 50s, which are commonly peak earning years. In light of this, McArdle wonders whether company-supported egg freezing is merely “an expensive way to choose career over family without realizing that you’re making that choice.”

The Lariat’s editorial also hand-waves away the question of whether deferring a pregnancy until a woman is older is “natural,” claiming that this is just an instance of modern medicine adapting to the way society works now. This begs the question – should modern society work this way? What would be best for the child, the human being whom no one seems concerned with here?

Sometimes we forget that we were all children once. Children are wonderful, full of promise, every one of them made in God’s image. Their lives, their upbringings and their education should be of first concern to society, not subjugated to a mad scramble for more and more wealth and prestige gained in the work world.

In fact, the editors of the Lariat barely give children a mention, basing their breathless praise for egg freezing on the idea that it will give women the ability to have a career and then be a mother, all on their own schedule, when they’re good and ready.

Is it not the height of pride to believe that we human beings are meant to be lords and masters over ourselves in every way possible? According to medical science, it is. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine released a report in 2013 which showed that when a woman freezes her eggs at age 30, there is only a 13.2 percent chance that an embryo created from that egg will begin development after in vitro fertilization. If the egg is frozen at age 40, the percentage drops even lower, to 8.9 percent.

This is the same group that removed the “experimental” label from egg freezing because they could not “endorse [egg freezing’s] widespread elective use to delay childbearing.” In other words, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine themselves would not favor Apple and Facebook’s actions.

Perhaps the Lariat should think of mothers, think of children, and think of what would really be best for women before issuing such a brazen endorsement of the notion that we are creatures of our own preferences.

– Dallas senior Connor Mighell
University Scholars major