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By Jennifer Hartline

7/9/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

Anyone truly devoted to the good of a child will not create by design a motherless or fatherless home for that child.

Our culture is so obsessed with making the case for same-sex "marriage" that now, astonishingly, sane people have to actually make the case for mothers and fathers.  We've elevated sexual preferences and wants high above the needs of our children. Whatever else you may call it, it's not love.


By Jennifer Hartline

Catholic Online (

7/9/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: surrogacy, adoption, gay couples, family, mothers, fathers, Jennifer Hartline

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - The story of two gay men in Texas who became fathers of twin boys via a surrogate appeared in my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago, posted by a woman voicing her support for the men and her anger over their legal predicament.

Each man is the biological father of one twin, and each wants to legally adopt the biological son of the other. Because Texas does not recognize same-sex "marriage", the law will not allow the adoption or for the birth certificates to reflect the two fathers as parents of both boys.

So began the cry of discrimination toward these men, and the injustice of the law.

I decided to jump in with quite the opposite perspective. I wasn't expecting my comments to be well-received, but even so, I was stunned at how the thread developed.

What was truly maddening, I said, was that two babies had been manufactured and sold, and now were being denied their mother. It is wrong, I argued, to create by design a home for those babies that intentionally deprives them of their mother. They have a right to know and be cared for by their mother.

I went even further and said that what the two men had done was not love. The adults have gotten what they wanted, but the babies have not been given what they need nor what they deserve and are truly entitled to, which is their mother. Whatever emotions or longings motivated the decision to conceive the babies, it was not love.

For that, I got the usual: Hateful, judgmental bigot. No surprise. I was also informed that what I really meant was that homosexuals are not even capable of love.

The only moral outrage to be found was that two gay men were being prevented from legally adopting the other's child. Not one other person in the thread was the least bit concerned about two babies being purposely denied their mother. The boys will have two dads, and that's good enough.

I don't think it is. Not at all. Not even close.

I couldn't believe I was actually having to argue for the necessity of a mother in a child's life! How is it that we've convinced ourselves that mothers are not really needed beyond giving birth? How can we seriously believe that children do not require a mother? Yet that was the argument. The boys have two dads, so they'll be just fine. They are lucky to be so wanted, so loved. Lucky?!?

To be so loved...Except that love doesn't do that. Love doesn't amputate the mother from the baby's life immediately after birth in order to accommodate the sexual preferences of the adult. Love doesn't require the child to sacrifice for the lifestyle of the adult. Love does not tell the child, "You don't really need a mother. You don't get to have your mother." Love does not presume that the child won't feel the loss, and won't suffer because of it.

"Love wills the good of the other," I said. (Actually, St. Thomas Aquinas said.) "Love puts the other first. None of the adults involved in creating these babies put them first."

Sound harsh? It should. I think it's pretty harsh that kids are being made to order, to satisfy the wants of specialty couples who think it's their prerogative to deprive a child of either mother or father, depending on their own sexual inclination. It's extremely harsh that children are being required to forfeit their natural, healthy, undeniable need for both parents, mother AND father.

Frankly, it isn't good enough that children are "wanted." That's the lingo and the philosophy of our contraception and abortion culture. 'Every child a wanted child,' and all that bull. That just means that children are things we acquire when we want to, and dispose of when we don't want them. It's centered only on the desires of the adults, without regard for the inherent worth of the child or his inviolable rights.

That's not love. That's not how children are to be treated. Wanting a child isn't the standard. Clearly, these two men wanted a baby. They went to the trouble and expense to find a surrogate, and manufacture some embryos, and they were blessed with two healthy boys. They got what they wanted.

The real mother in Solomon's court proved her love and her authenticity by choosing to suffer the pain of losing her baby, rather than let any harm come to him. She sought his good over her own, fully expecting terrible heartache for herself. That's how love wills the good of the other.

Anyone truly devoted to the good of a child will not create by design a motherless or fatherless home for that child. Doing so causes great harm. And we're not talking about harm brought about by unavoidable, unforeseen tragedy. This is planned and inflicted on purpose.

What about their mother? She chose this harm as well. She's not a victim here. In fact, she may not even be only one person! She's what is now being called a "gestational carrier" and she may be carrying an embryo(s) created with a donor egg(s). Ugh -- can we possibly find a more degrading way to treat a woman? The battle for equality for women has led us to this? Women being used for their wombs and their biological functions?

That's the best case we can make for motherhood anymore? It's just the physical process of gestation and childbirth? But beyond that, well, moms aren't really necessary? How horrifying! And how ironic -- decades ago the fight was to be valued for more than only mothering; now the battle has to be for the irreplaceable, pricelessness of a mother!

Assuming the mother is even mentioned on the child's birth certificate, how will she be named? "Donor egg, incubated and grown by gestational carrier"? She's nameless, faceless, and entirely missing.

And of course, the one who suffers the most is the child. Always the child. The child is ordered up, the product of a contract, bought and sold, and delivered like a piece of property. But it's all dressed up in the language of wants and wishes and emotions, with a lovely baby shower and breathless oohs and ahhs, so surely it's all wonderful.

No one is entitled to a child. Even married couples are not entitled to children. They have no right to expect that they will be given the gift of a child. They pray for children, and remain open to them in their marriage, but there's no entitlement. You don't walk up to the Giver of Life and insist He give you what you want. You don't demand a gift. It's a gift.

Children are the fruit of marriage for a reason. It's God's wise and perfect design that the love of husband and wife is ordered toward the creation of new life. He certainly could have designed it differently, but He obviously felt that both mother and father are necessary, and that children require the presence of both their parents.

The increasing frequency of babies being manufactured through surrogacy and then delivered to same-sex couples is alarming and heartbreaking. I can think of nothing more selfish than for adults to deliberately deprive a child they claim to love of her fundamental need and genuine right to be raised by her own mother and father because their sexual preference precludes it. It is a perversion of the family unit. It's an injustice to the child.

Take a look at this photo.

It shows a gay couple in Toronto as the son they'd had conceived through surrogacy was born. This beautiful little boy will also be denied his mother. The photographer captured the moment the two men held the baby to their bare chests.

Yes, I can clearly see the raw emotion, the tears, the joy of the father holding the baby. I do not doubt that he was overwhelmed with love in that precious moment. It is plainly obvious.

Now look at this photo.

I recognize something crucial in this picture, something else that is plainly obvious. That baby was searching for his mother. A newborn baby has only one real need, and that is to be put to mother's breast and smell and feel her skin and suckle. That's it. Sorry, guys, but that's reality. Babies are born with a built-in homing device that drives them toward Mom.

I saw the baby's face, and my heart ached and broke for him. He wanted his mother. No baby would gladly do without his mother.

Fathers are not mothers, and mothers are not fathers. They are not interchangeable. They are both essential for the well-being of a child, far beyond pregnancy and birth. That's not just idealistic or old-fashioned dreaming. It's common-sense reality; it's moral truth; it's natural law; it's justice.

But it requires thinking, not merely acting on feelings. It requires considering the needs of another ahead of your own sometimes. It requires sacrificing what you may want in order to give the other what is truly right and just.

Our culture is so obsessed with making the case for same-sex "marriage" that now, astonishingly, sane people have to actually make the case for mothers and fathers.  We've elevated sexual preferences and wants high above the needs of our children. Whatever else you may call it, it's not love.


Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four children. She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit her online at Wake Up, Deborah!


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