“It really wasn’t love involved. It was Insemination.”

The essay was a response to a case involving surrogate motherhood—the essay was assigned back in the days when artificial insemination was a relatively new procedure. The young woman changed her mind and decided to keep her newborn son, and the disappointed couple were suing. Students were to argue for or against the woman’s right to her child (as opposed to the man’s right to his biological son and/or the strength of the contract all parties had signed).

This assignment produced some peachy statements about the law and about various aspects of what another student termed “this biological mess.” I will come back to it from time to time, rather than spend my riches all in one post.

In the sentence here, the student was making a legitimate point, if the reader accepted her basic argument that children should be the product of love and where this is not the case then the law, not emotions, should prevail. Love and insemination are different things. What tickled me was the capital “I,” which lends insemination a certain majesty that it doesn’t really deserve (especially since “love” isn’t capitalized)  and the writer didn’t intend. Really, I can’t imagine why she would capitalize Insemination, although I’d speculate that she intended us to view the word as a specialized, limited term referring only to the process involved in the case, and is hoping the capital letter will do that for her.

I am happy to see a young woman making a clear distinction, though, between love and insemination. Not everybody does.

Another student also seemed to view “insemination” in that specialized way—or at least I hope so, because he wrote “I wish society would just think what a mistake insemination is.” Surely he meant artificial insemination; but his sentence takes a stand against the continuation of the human race—except by cloning, which hadn’t been achieved on any level yet, or perhaps by putting God back to work with the dust and clay.

About RAB

Teacher of English writing and literature (college-level); academic-freedom activist; editor and copy editor; theater director, costumer, actress, playwright. View all posts by RAB

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