Vice President Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter, Mary, found a way to impregnate herself so that she and her lover, Heather Poe, whom Mary met while playing ice hockey 15 years ago, can rear a child. Grandma is thrilled. “Dick and I both are very much looking forward to this new baby,” said Lynne Cheney. Mary will be a “great mom.” President Bush told People that he was happy to hear the “good news,” adding, “I think Mary is going to be a loving soul to her child. And I’m happy for her.”
So, it would seem, are National Review’s John Podhoretz and Jonah Goldberg. When Concerned Women for America’s Janice Crouse called Mary’s behavior “unconscionable,” Podhoretz huffed, “This is disgusting. The birth of a child is never unconscionable. Adults who say such things about the impending birth of children are.” Goldberg, who has “for years” endorsed civil unions for homosexuals, agreed and one-upped Podhoretz’s non sequitur: “Count me as a member of the Pod camp when it comes to Mary Cheney. . . . My guess is that Mary’s kid will do better in life than Britney’s.”
Mary Cheney’s pregnancy is a logical step in the career of a woman who has already run the homosexual-outreach program for Coors and published a memoir of her life as a lesbian Republican. Next, she will serve as vice president for advocacy at AOL.
Whatever her intentions, Mary’s deviant behavior is nothing less than an attack on the institution without which society cannot survive—the family. We live in an age when that word requires definition. Contra Barbara Bush, a family is not whatever you want it to be. The unnatural relationship of Mary and Heather is not a marriage. When the child is born, the three will not be a family. As Tolkien observed, evil cannot create; it can only mock.
The diabolical institution mocking conjugal unity and its purpose is the sperm bank, the likely source of Cheney’s pregnancy. Like all of the post-Christian world’s reproductive technologies, it is eugenic in nature and a thumbing of the nose at the divine plan for human procreation. That this plan is ordered to a natural end is made obvious in the mountain of data showing that a marriage built on mutual self-giving is the best environment for the mental and physical health of children. The plan is directed at a supernatural end as well: cooperation in the creative nature of God, which can only occur when the marital embrace is open to life.
The lesbian couple’s need to use a sperm bank is a reminder of this divine plan: Two women are not equipped to bring life into the world. The fact that Mary Cheney still needed a man to become a mother has received scant attention from those heaping accolades on her for her courageous efforts on behalf of social progress.
That a father was required will become a matter of great concern, if only for Baby Cheney (or is it Baby Poe?), when the child realizes his household is abnormal. If he asks, Mary could tell him that he was the product of a gravely immoral laboratory procedure that allowed her and Miss Poe to realize their selfish desires.
She will not, of course. Nor will the proud grandparents, the President, or the editors of National Review. There is some chance the child will figure it out, however. Several days after Mary Cheney broke her happy news, a column appeared in the Washington Post. “My Father Was an Anonymous Sperm Donor” was written by Katrina Clark, a college freshman and one of 30,000 children who are conceived with the help of a sperm bank each year.
“When she was 32,” wrote Katrina, “my mother allowed a doctor wearing rubber gloves to inject a syringe of sperm from an unknown man into her uterus so that she could have a baby. I am the result: a donor-conceived child.” Then she exposes the horror of her existence. “[E]veryone focuses on the ‘parents’—the adults who can make choices about their own lives. The recipient gets sympathy for wanting to have a child. The donor gets a guarantee of anonymity and absolution from any responsibility for the offspring of his ‘donation.’ As long as these adults are happy, then donor conception is a success, right?”
“Not so. The children born of these transactions are people, too. . . . I’m here to tell you that emotionally, many of us are not keeping up. We didn’t ask to be born into this situation, with its limitations and confusion. It’s hypocritical of parents and medical professionals to assume that biological roots won’t matter to the ‘products’ of the cryobanks’ service, when the longing for a biological relationship is what brings customers to the banks in the first place.”
Perhaps Mary Cheney’s baby, as Jonah Goldberg predicts, will fare better than Katrina. After all, if he plays ice hockey, he will have no shortage of coaches.