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Why We Shouldn’t Celebrate Dave Rubin’s “pregnancy” Announcement

Audio only:

In this episode Trent responds to Dave Rubin’s announcement that he and his same-sex partner have fathered children through IVF and surrogates. He also addresses conservatives who have congratulated Rubin for these pregnancies.


Welcome to the Counsel of Trent Podcast, a production of Catholic Answers.

Trent Horn:

Hey everyone. Welcome to the Counsel of Trent Podcast. I’m your host, Catholic Answer’s Apologist and speaker, Trent Horn. Today, I want to talk about something I saw on social media related to the commenter Dave Rubin. So, Dave Rubin used to be a card-carrying liberal, if you will. He used to have a show or a segment on the Young Turks. So he used to be left or pretty far left politically; and then he kind of left that political view, and has become more libertarian. So a lot of conservatives have enjoyed finding common cause with him. He’s done these tours talking about, “Why I left the left,” for example. He’s done interviews on Matt Fradd’s show, a conversation with Bishop Barron. He seemed like a nice, affable guy. But recently, he made an announcement; and I was startled by how certain conservatives responded to it. So that’s what I want to talk about today.

Trent Horn:

Before I do that though, a big thanks to everyone who’s been supporting the podcast. We got our new studio up. I want to populate it with a neat set; so if you want to help us to grow, definitely go to trenthornpodcast.com. I also have a new course out called Evidence for God, at schoolofapologetics.com. You’re definitely going to want to check that out.

Trent Horn:

So what did I find so startling? Well, Dave Rubin is in a so-called, same-sex marriage with his partner, David Janet. And they announced that they were having babies, essentially; that they had hired surrogates. Well, they had procured a woman to donate her eggs, and then hired two surrogates to take their… So they took their sperm, the woman’s eggs, created embryos through in vitro fertilization, and then those embryos are going to be implanted in two surrogate wombs. And then they’re going to be born, and Dave and Dave are going to raise these children.

Trent Horn:

And there were some conservative commenters, I think, on The Blaze and at PragurU, that even said, “Oh congrats.” And I’m thinking, “No. Why would we congratulate this?” Why would we congratulate creating children outside of the marital act, through a process that commodifies them, or turns them into objects? Something like IVF, that has, as we will see, deadly consequences for many unborn children. And then, create a relationship that is explicitly designed so that these children will not be raised by their mother, will not be raised in an environment with their biological mother and father. The children will have two men that will share as their biological fathers, but not their mother. Then also, it’s involved in the business of egg donation, which includes a lot of exploitations. All around, this is just bad.

Trent Horn:

Now, I understand when you see a picture of an ultrasound, and there’s a baby there, your first instinct is to say, “Oh, yay.” And there is goodness in the sense of, here is a human being with an immortal soul, a new creation, a new human being who never has existed, no human being like this ever will exist in the future. So I understand being happy about a new life coming into existence.

Trent Horn:

But imagine if I showed you all an ultrasound saying, “Hey, here’s the new little baby I’m having. I had an affair with this other woman, and we’re going to hire a surrogate, and we’re going to do all this stuff. And isn’t this great?” You’d probably say, “Well, the baby is cute, but why are you bringing a baby into the world like this? This is a really messed up way to do that. Why would you do that?” And that is the reaction that we should have.

Trent Horn:

Now, I’ve seen other conservative commenters in the past few days being more forthright. I think some of them have been, what’s the word I’m looking for here? Hesitant to call out Dave Rubin in this respect, because they see Dave Rubin as a friend. And he’s an affable guy, he’s a nice guy. He’s thoughtful. Even though he is more libertarian, he does a lot of common cause with conservatives, so I think they’re more hesitant to call out what Dave Rubin is doing and to say, “This isn’t right,” then if this were just Pete Buttigieg and his so-called husband Chasten. Is that his name? That if Pete Buttigieg does this, they would say, “Oh, this is just bad.” And they would just right up say it, because he’s not a political ally of theirs.

Trent Horn:

And that’s where we need to be really careful in making sure that we don’t make excuses for people because we agree with them on many other things. The truth must always come first. And the truth here is that, we can know through natural law, as well as through divine revelation, that human beings are designed to come into existence through the marital act; and creating them outside of the marital act leads to disorder, leads to chaos, leads to violence. It’s just bad news all around. So I’m going to play some of the announcement, and then I will offer some commentary on it.

Dave Rubin:

There’s a lot of sperm. We didn’t have a shortage of sperm; so we’ve got sperm. So we had half the battle. Right? We had half of what we needed, but we needed an egg. So there are egg donors that are out there. These are young women who are willing to donate their eggs; and women obviously make a lot of eggs. Some make a lot of eggs, some don’t make eggs; but the donors usually are young and healthy. And if they want to help people that otherwise can’t have children, they can donate their eggs. So you basically…

Trent Horn:

Okay. So egg donation. There’s actually a documentary about this, and it’s called Eggsploitation. What’s happening here, this is not like the altruism that is involved in, let’s say, you go down and donate blood at the Red Cross or something like that. I don’t know how much you get paid for blood donation, but it’s not very much. The only people who try to make money giving blood are people who are really, really down and out. But you’re not making a bunch of money donating blood or plasma. And the idea… I thought, usually when you go to blood drives, you get a cookie afterwards, or you get some snacks for your insulin, and then that’s about it.

Trent Horn:

This is not the same thing. That young women who are recruited… And also it’s not the same thing, because donating blood is a relatively low risk procedure. Donating your eggs is a much riskier procedure. There are really a lot of long-term effects of egg donation that we’re not aware of, that we don’t understand; although we do understand effects of it that can be very disastrous for young women. So there’s much more of a risk that’s involved, and so there’s a lot more money that is involved to entice women to take on such a risk like this.

Trent Horn:

But also, of course, unlike blood or plasma, eggs will become a future human being. There’s a big difference between donating regular body tissue and then donating gametes like sperm or egg, which are the essential elements that cause a new human being to come into existence. So there’s a lot of exploitation that is involved in egg donation.

Trent Horn:

And that’s the reason also, when it comes to organ donation that, in general… Well, I don’t know international laws, things like this; but normally, it is illegal to buy organs from people. Right? If you could pay somebody $50,000 for a kidney, so many people in India would try to sell one of their kidneys. People who live in extreme poverty would take on tremendous risks to sell organs they don’t necessarily need to live, like a kidney, for example. So that’s why we make it illegal to buy organs.

Trent Horn:

But I would say it’s really different when it comes to eggs in this respect. Because of that, because of the price tag that’s involved, you get this exploitation of… They’re trying to seek out young, fertile women; and the documentary exploitation covers this really well.

Speaker 4:

But how are these young egg donors recruited, screened, and selected? Is it possible to inform them of the risks? And does the money being offered cloud their ability to consent freely? In the United States, one seeking a human egg needs to look no further than a university campus.

Speaker 5:

They don’t tell you any of the health risks.

Speaker 6:

I find it really offensive, because I get these on my Facebook all the time.

Speaker 7:

When you start putting a dollar value on people.

Trent Horn:

That’s insidious right there, that Facebook and social media will track who is the person they really want. They want to find young, single, college females and target them with these advertisements. Especially, young college women are oftentimes saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt; and especially if they’re in graduate school, it’s like, “Hey, are you an educated young woman with a lot of eggs and a lot of debt? We’ll give you $50,000 or $100,000 dollars for your eggs.” And so you have, not just of course the damage is going to happen to your body and the risks that are involved there, but knowing your children who are going to come into existence, that you as a mother will never know. All of this recruiting people who are in oftentimes, vulnerable situations.

Speaker 6:

Because of their education levels-

Speaker 5:

It’s very unethical.

Speaker 6:

… it’s not right.

Speaker 5:

They’re offering us $20,000, 50,000, whatever the dollar amount is. And it’s just, it’s really sad because they know we’re desperate for money.

Speaker 7:

Uh-uh (negative). Look at this. It say elite donors. Honestly, have to go through a process. They don’t want just any egg.

Speaker 8:

I think it’s a lot of money. That’s scary. Well, hopefully I will never need money so bad that I will do it.

Speaker 9:

First of all, to sell organ, I think that’s stupid. You should donate if you want to help someone. And the other thing is you have to be attractive woman of all ethnicity between the age of 21 and 29. So that’s also pretty screwed up, I think.

Trent Horn:

The other place where this exploitation occurs is in foreign countries. This whole industry, the egg donation industry, it reeks of creepy practices, exploitation. And what they’ll do, in a lot of these stories that you read about IVF and surrogate moms, and egg donation, involves poor women living in other countries, impoverished countries, who are trying to get themselves out of poverty.

Trent Horn:

And one country where this is happening a lot where we’re seeing this right now, is in Ukraine. With Russia, invading Ukraine, there’s a problem that there’s a lot of children who are being gestated by surrogate mothers in Ukraine. The women giving birth there, but they can’t get out of the country because of the war. And so, you have these babies with their surrogate mothers, the mothers who birth them, but not the mothers who conceive them, trying to keep them safe in these hospitals during this war.

Trent Horn:

And it’s just a horrible situation that’s happening here. But it also shines light on the question of surrogacy. It says here in the Associated Press article, “Ukraine has a thriving surrogate industry, and is one of the few countries that allow the service for foreigners. These babies’ parents live in Europe, Latin America, and China.” They would not say how many parents have come to get their children, how many infants are still waiting, or how many surrogate mothers are expected to deliver soon.

Trent Horn:

So there’s many other countries that have outlawed this, the idea of foreigners coming in, trying to find women who are willing to carry a pregnancy to term; have a baby… The most traditional mothering. Right? Caring for a child in your womb, and giving birth. One of the most sensitive and tender moments that can exist between a mother and her child, where you naturally release hormones like oxytocin, to bond with this person, to make like a lifelong bond. You only release that hormone also when you breastfeed and in sexual intercourse; that hormone is meant for lifelong bonding. “Sorry though, this is contractual surrogacy. Once you give birth to the baby, out he goes, off to their parents. Job well done, here’s your $50K. Hope your body isn’t too wrecked from the hyper-ovarian stimulation treatments that you do.”

Trent Horn:

So that is just one thing right there, as to why we should not congratulate someone like Dave Rubin conceiving children, creating children through the in vitro fertilization process involving gestational surrogates like this, because it reeks of exploitation. And it gets worse.

Dave Rubin:

Go on all of these websites. There are all these sites and it’s sort of like Tinder or whatever app you are dating on, where you’re just kind of swiping through people and you say, “Oh, I like way she looks.” Or, “I like. This girl had a great education.” Or some combination thereof, or, “This one is actually geographically close. I like this person, but they’re very far.”

Trent Horn:

Note also the commodification. I did a great interview with Stephanie Gray Connors on my podcast recently on in vitro fertilization. Go check it out. And she makes a great case in her book, Conceived by Science, “People are subjects, not objects. And in vitro fertilization objectifies children. That what you’re doing, instead of the child being the fruit of the marital act from someone that you’re united to in marriage, you try to design children by choosing donated eggs or donated sperm, as if you’re looking through a catalog. You’re trying to construct your ideal child by just picking. They’re not the fruit of love with another person. It’s just you’re picking another person solely based on traits to create this kind of a product. And children should not created like products. They should not be manufactured like products. They’re begotten, not made.”

Dave Rubin:

And there are different rates and all of these things.

Trent Horn:

Well, yeah. The rates. Note the consumer transaction element that’s there.

Dave Rubin:

And our feeling was that we wanted one egg donor, meaning you get a whole bunch of eggs. Well, hopefully you get a whole bunch of eggs from the egg donor. And then, we would take several… We’d split the eggs. So let’s say you got, I think the first time around, we got like 18 eggs. And then you take the sperm; we would split them, so now there’s like nine and nine. I’m giving you the rough estimates here. And you would then inseminate them, and then you hopefully from that, some of it takes, some of it doesn’t take.

Trent Horn:

So they created 18 human beings. 18 human beings who have a right to reside in their mother’s body, who are now, or at one point at least, in a Petri dish, in a laboratory, being handled by a technician. And a lot of people can’t grasp their minds around this because they just see a little embryo, and they think, “That’s not a person.”

Trent Horn:

An analogy I like to use help people understand this is a Polaroid picture. Right? You remember Polaroid pictures? Take the picture. It comes out. It’s a brown smudge. It needs to develop later. Well, imagine you were out with a friend, and you took a picture of something amazing like Bigfoot. And you got your Polaroid picture of it; and it comes out, and your friend took the picture, looked at it, and tore it up. You’d be super mad. Right? What if he said, “That’s not a picture of Bigfoot. It was just a brown smudge. There’s no Bigfoot in that picture.” You would say, “There was Bigfoot. You couldn’t recognize it, but you didn’t give it time to develop. If you let it develop, you’d see Bigfoot was in the picture the whole time.”

Trent Horn:

Much the same way, you might say, “Well, that’s not a human being. It’s just an embryo. I don’t see a baby there.” Well, you don’t recognize the baby; but if you let that embryo develop, you’ll see the recognizable traits later. But everything that is and was that baby, genetically, is present within that little embryo. And if you destroy it like you destroy that picture of Bigfoot, it’s gone. I’ll never get the moment back. If you destroy that embryo, that human being will not come back.

Trent Horn:

And so you have these 18 human beings that are created. Only two of them are now being gestated, or in the womb. What happened to the other 16? Maybe some of them failed to implant, for example. That sometimes happens even in the marital act. But I would say probably several others were genetically screened or they were destroyed. Some of them, in some cases when people do this, they place the child in a cold storage. And that raises the dilemma of whether you should adopt these frozen embryos.

Trent Horn:

So either these children are killed; they die, they are killed, or they’re placed in a freezer and kept there indefinitely where they’ll die eventually. But they’re kept in a freezer definitely, and babies shouldn’t be put in freezers. That’s like number one advice if you’re a parent. You have a baby, don’t put it in a freezer.

Trent Horn:

So not only do we have the disorder involved with donation of eggs and sperm, which involve disordered acts like masturbation, for example, or the exploitation of women, either for donating the eggs or the exploitation involved in procuring a surrogate and part of the surrogate industry. Now you also have the embryos that are created. You have human beings that are being killed specifically, directly killed in a process in order to allow other human beings to exist. And of course, that’s wrong.

Trent Horn:

And finally, when you take the creation of human life outside of the marital act, some people say, “Well, I don’t care. Look, they’re making a baby. The cute little family. Who cares?” What I would say is this, “All right. If you think there’s nothing wrong with this process where human beings can just be created in this way, then you have to own the absurd, morally absurd consequences that follow from this.”

Trent Horn:

Because there was a time people would say with IVF, “Well, what’s wrong with a husband and wife donating a sperm, an egg, and they get to have a baby and they’re infertile?” And say 30 years ago, you would say, “Well, what if two gay men want to get an egg donor, and just a gay man, two gay men. They use their sperm and want to create a baby?” And 30 years ago people would say, “Oh, that’s silly. That’s a slippery slope. That’s not going to happen.” Well, we’re here. That is happening.

Trent Horn:

Why can’t you go even further then? Why can’t you just have a single man who literally goes on a website; this is the commodification of children. A single man, he goes online. He purchases sperm. He purchases egg. Has them mix together in a lab. Hires a gestational surrogate. Baby is born. And then the baby is delivered to his home, like an Amazon package.

Trent Horn:

There’s no logical stopping point if you believe in the morality of IVF, egg and sperm donation and gestational surrogates. There’s no logical stopping point to that. And it gets even worse if you allow this. Let me give you three horror stories to show how it gets worse.

Trent Horn:

Here’s the first one. “Mother called disabled baby from surrogate a dribbling cabbage. A British mother has reportedly taken her healthy baby son from a surrogate, but rejected the child’s twin sister, referring to the baby as a ‘dribbling cabbage.'” Here’s the woman who hires a surrogate. They have twins. One of the twins turns out to be disabled. And you say, “Just like when you order something from Amazon, ‘This isn’t what I ordered. I’m going to send it back now.'” That’s how you commodify and objectify children.

Trent Horn:

“The surrogate mother, who is also British, says she received $21,000 to give birth to the twins for the couple, and is now raising the girl who suffers from congenital myotonic dystrophy. I remember her saying to me, ‘She’d be an effing dribbling cabbage. Who would want to adopt her? No one would want to adopt the disabled child.’ I was shocked. I could not believe what I was hearing.” Why would you be shocked? She paid for a healthy child, and she didn’t get the product she wanted, so she returned it; returned to the manufacturer. That is the commodification that occurs in IVF. And that is the attitude that it leads to.

Trent Horn:

Here’s another one. Also, who gets disordered, is who ends up being the surrogate? “British mum, mom, becomes surrogate for son’s baby.” Now, this week’s story from Britain wins the New Frontiers Award in assisted reproductive technology hands down. “24-year old, Kyle Casson, a supermarket worker, was gay, but was desperate to have a child. One of his relatives volunteered to be a surrogate, but when she pulled out for medical reasons, Kyle’s mother stepped forward. Kyle shopped around for a donor.”

Trent Horn:

So, here she has a gay son. He wants a baby. Surrogate steps out. He shopped around for a donor. That commodification again. Right? Hair color, eye color, organized fertilization implantation, and then had his mother give birth. “The relationship of the three people are tangled to say the least. Ann Marie is the mother of Kyle, and both the mother and grandmother of Miles,” The child that was created. “The ethical complexities do not trouble Kyle.” I’m sure they don’t.

Trent Horn:

Here’s the last one. “Surrogate mother’s nightmare.” This is one… Let’s see here. “Cathleen Hachey’s first try as a surrogate mother took a heartbreaking turn when she was abandoned via text message last spring, 27 weeks into the pregnancy she initiated to help another couple start a family. This is in New Brunswick, I guess. I think that’s Canada. Hachey, who was 20, was already the mother of a one and a two-year old, delivered the twins, a boy and a girl.”

Trent Horn:

Oh, what happened was… I skipped that part. “Three months before Hatch’s due date, the couple,” the infertile couple that hired her to gestate the twins, “the couple declared their marriage had ended, and they would not be coming for the babies.” It’s like when you return something to Amazon, you click the reason: product no longer needed. And that’s what they’re treating these children… “Well, we’re not together anymore, so we don’t need these kids.”

Trent Horn:

It’s sick. It’s sick. “She was able to find the twins in adoptive home, but experts in the field say the episode is a lesson on the need to better safeguards for both surrogate mothers and the intended parents.” And I would say that it’s more of a lesson of why the creation of children, procreation, should stay within the marital act. Children… We don’t reproduce like animals or objects. We procreate. We partner with God to create.

Trent Horn:

And even if you’re not religious, I think you should be able to take a look and see when you take the creation of human life outside of the confines of the marital act, you get disorder, and you get these awful consequences. And I would just plead with people who are not religious, who on the fence about this, don’t let your desire for some things you think are a good, justify something that leads to all these kinds of evils, because of its intrinsically disordered nature.

Trent Horn:

So when it comes to Dave Rubin, once again, I think he’s an affable guy. I agree with some of his politics, disagree with others of his politics. But in good conscience, we should not congratulate the creation of children through disordered means. We should value the children that exist. They are good and should be loved and cared for; but we ought not celebrate every way a child comes into existence; because not always of bringing a child in existence are equal.

Trent Horn:

So I would definitely recommend a good book if you want to go on this, is Stephanie Gray Connor’s Conceived by Science. Check out her interview with me on the podcast if you want more on the objectifying nature of IVF and why it is wrong, how to explain it’s wrong to other people. Thank you guys so much. I hope this is helpful, and I hope you have a very blessed day.

 

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