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Thank Alabama for Embryo Honesty

Froma Harrop on

I'm not here to join the mockery of Alabama for declaring that embryos are children -- and, therefore, in vitro fertilization clinics must protect them forever. On the contrary, I admire its honesty. Many states have effectively banned abortions, arguing that destroying an embryo amounts to baby killing. Yet they look the other way when fertility clinics discard hundreds of thousands of unused embryos, which they routinely do.

Let's be clear. I believe in the right to an abortion within a reasonable time limit and whenever the mother's life is in danger. Mothers-to-be often refer to the cluster of cells that constitute the embryo as a "baby," which is understandable. Science does not.

Nevertheless, an Alabama court ruled that frozen embryos resulting from IVF treatments are considered children under the law. Other states have hypocritically gone halfway in that direction. Some of their fetal personhood laws let women sue for back child support since conception.

Give Alabama credit for walking the walk.

Biologically speaking, there is virtually no difference between an embryo created through IVF and one conceived naturally. And that's what the Alabama court is saying.

Fearing the political repercussions, however, Republican lawmakers in Alabama are trying to weasel out of the consequences. They are working on proposals to redefine a frozen fertilized egg as "potential life," as opposed to the fully human one inside the uterus.

 

Baloney. Both kinds of fertilized eggs are potential life.

Some pro-life advocates hold that while most of the embryos created in IVF clinics will never be used, the clinics enable couples to create life that wouldn't have happened without them. That's a valid argument.

But for the true opponents of abortion, that argument is one of political convenience. Former President George W. Bush made a show of pushing for adoptions of frozen embryos by women who would have them implanted. He called the embryos "snowflakes."

But fertility centers continued to discard unused embryos. Bush never threatened to close them down or force the IVF clinics -- and the egg and sperm donors -- to preserve them in perpetuity.

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