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Is IVF pro-life?



The Alabama State Supreme Court recently sparked an uproar with its ruling concerning in vitro fertilization, or “IVF.” Politicians and pundits condemned the ruling, with President Biden championing IVF in his State of the Union address and President Trump declaring we should support the availability of IVF “in every state in America.” 


The case began when three couples sued a fertility clinic under Alabama’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act for the death of their frozen embryonic children. In 2020, a patient at the hospital in which the clinic was located entered the clinic, opened a freezer, removed test tubes of frozen embryos, and accidentally dropped them, killing the embryos.


A lower court ruled that embryos outside of a uterus are not minors according to the Act but, on appeal, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that frozen human embryos are children and that parents can sue for wrongful death.


In response to the ruling, at least two fertility clinics in Alabama paused IVF procedures. This pause was what caused the national uproar about the “attack on IVF.”


To be clear, the court simply said that human embryos are, in fact, human beings under the law - whether or not they are in utero. The court did not order a halt to IVF procedures. The fertility clinics’ decision to stop was due to more potential lawsuits, given the inconvenient fact that most embryos created via IVF are killed, either accidentally or as a deliberate part of the process. 


The vast majority of embryos conceived via IVF are abandoned by their contracting parents because they have genetic abnormalities, are the wrong sex, are no longer desired, or merely are extra. They are then experimented on and killed by researchers; thawed and killed; or simply left to perish in freezers. Two-thirds of those who are chosen for gestation die during the thawing process or in utero, either accidentally or intentionally. Some are aborted because their contracting parents don’t want twins, triplets, or more. Others are abandoned or aborted when their contracting parents split up. 


Some “pro-life” politicians are declaring their support for IVF and accusing those who oppose it of hypocrisy. They ask how people can oppose the means that help some infertile couples take home living children and still call themselves pro-life? President Trump stated that “the VAST MAJORITY of Republicans, Conservatives, Christians, and Pro-Life Americans” support IVF. Unfortunately, he may be right. 


Most people do not know how many embryos are killed for the chance to carry a child to term. They do not recognize embryos as human beings with a right to life. Further, they do not recognize that even if an IVF procedure involved creating only one or two embryos at a time and implanting them all, and even if those children had the same chance at survival as children conceived naturally, and even if those children and their mother had the same health outcomes as those conceived naturally, still, those children are denied their right as human beings to not be trafficked. IVF involves purchasing children from a business. Even if the contracting parents contribute their own genetic material and do not rely on a third party’s gametes for conception or womb for gestation, they are commissioning a child for purchase. 


No matter how natural, urgent, or heart-breaking, the desires of adults cannot justify denying the rights of children. 

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