Immunocontraception is exactly what it sounds like: using your immune system to prevent pregnancy. Research has been underway for years, and they have found numerous methods for using the body’s natural immune response to make both male and female animals unable to conceive. This is great news for keeping certain species, such as deer in the midwest and mid-atlantic states, from overpopulating; however, this is very complicated news when it comes to transferring this system of contraception onto humans.
The ethical dilemmas are numerous: will this be a good contraceptive option, affordable yet safe? will it be used to keep people with heritable diseases from reproducing? will it be used to keep everyone, except those that are approved, from reproducing? It scares me to think that we could end up like Children of Men, unable to reproduce. It also scares me to think that we could control who can and can’t reproduce.
Of course, this also could offer a safe and equally or more effective alternative to a vasectomy, tubal ligation, or other forms of contraceptives. And with our current world population growing exponentially, maybe limiting reproduction is not such a bad idea. We can’t keep growing the way we are if we want our children’s children to have a place to live. Our world is in danger and it is because of us. Not only is our world in danger, but individual children are in danger because of their parents. There are too many children who are neglected and abused by bad parents.
In fact, on Sunday afternoon, I walked out of our local grocery store just in time to witness two atrocious sets of parents. (Yes, I’m being judgmental based on short encounters.) The first involved a man pulling up in front of the store and getting out of his car smoking a cigarette. He had the driver’s side window lowered slightly, but no other windows were opened. A woman walked up to him, pushing a toddler in a stroller. The toddler was placed in the back seat of the car, at which point she started crying and asking for her mother. The mother replied, “Shut up! I don’t want to hear your sobbing.” As the father put the groceries in the back of the car, the mother lit her cigarette and rolled down her window slightly. The child continued to scream and cry, the mother continued telling her to shut up, and the father eventually made his way back into the car and they drove off, yelling at their child using obscenities, while smoking their cigarettes.
The second situation was no better. As I walked towards my car, carrying my groceries, I saw four children crawl out of the back seat of a car meant to hold three people. All four of the children were screaming and carrying on, ranging from about 3 to 8 years of age. At least two of them should have been in car seats, but weren’t. The parents got out of the car, and both of them hit a child. When the children didn’t stop laughing and making noises, the parents hit them again, harder. The two youngest children both started crying, and all four of them were screamed at and told to “stop crying and get your asses in the store.”
So, perhaps having people apply to have children wouldn’t be so bad. At least that would limit the abuse somewhat. But if that were the world we lived in, I wouldn’t have my son. And the world wouldn’t be the same without him.