Today’s Telling It Like Is Award goes to the Standard, for spelling out in plain headline language who did what to whom in what the South China Morning Post cautiously describes as Sun Hung Kai Properties’ ‘trust rejig’. Madam Kwong, the 81-year-old Kwok matriarch, cuts number-one son Walter from his slice of the family fortune after he incurred her extreme displeasure for bringing the dynasty and company into disrepute through involvement with a woman to whom he was not married. Such is the degree of moral rectitude among our developers when not cheating home buyers by exaggerating the size of apartments. Walter’s share now passes directly to his heirs. Presumably he will be moving into a 380-square-foot public housing unit in Tseung Kwan O.
The big story, however, is the Vatican official criticizing the award of a Nobel Prize to in-vitro fertilization pioneer Robert Edwards. Without IVF, says Bishop and Opus Dei associate Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, “There would not be a large number of freezers filled with embryos in the world.” He adds: “…most probably they will end up abandoned or dead, which is a problem for which the new Nobel Prize winner is responsible.”
Since Mother Nature herself sees fit to spontaneously abort maybe half of human embryos when they don’t implant in the womb, the problem of abandoned or dead ones is longstanding and huge. The Catholic Church’s problem is that, to maintain ideological integrity, it cannot draw a line at a particular stage after fertilization and say that ‘proper’ life – the sort most decent people couldn’t stomach terminating – starts at that time. Indeed, none of us can; we rely on an arbitrary cutoff point in the abortion law. It might be icky, but to most folks it is certainly no worse than barring grown people at risk of catching HIV from using condoms.
There is a simple test to show whether you have what it takes to adhere to the Catholic line in real life. Imagine you are in a burning hospital building. You have the time and capability to take just one of two boxes with you as you escape. One is an incubator with a screaming month-old baby in it. The other is a freezer containing 20 childless-but-hopeful women’s embryos in test tubes. Which do you rescue?
(And I can’t stand screaming babies.)