The Latest GOP Absurdity

Well, maybe not the latest, but just one in the myriad of things they do that boggle some minds. as I wasn’t aware of until the recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court declaring that frozen embryos in fertility clinics are children.

Graphic showing young children smiling and dancing with arms across each other's shoulder. Shirts and pants in bright colors of orange and green and blue. Multi-racial.

Last week, a case was brought to the Alabama Supreme Court by three couples who’s embryos had been accidentally destroyed at a fertility clinic. They filed a wrongful death lawsuit that had been dismissed by lower courts in the state, so they went to the top. The court ruled that “the couples could sue the fertility clinic for wrongful death of a minor child.”

Some wordage from the rulings:

“Frozen embryos created and stored for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) are children”.

“The People of Alabama have declared the public policy of this State to be that unborn human life is sacred”.

BTW, “unborn human life” would suggest a fetus in a woman’s womb, not a cluster of cells stored in liquid nitrogen after they have been slowly frozen to bring them to -321 degrees Fahrenheit. Those embryos have the potential to become human life once they are implanted and a woman gives birth.

The “potential” for life is much different than life itself.

Image of a three-cell embryo.

Keep in mind that Alabama is a Republican controlled state, with a Supreme Court filled with GOP judges.

However, absurdity regarding this issue isn’t limited to the Alabama court case.

In the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, a bill was introduced in January 2023 called the Life at Conception Act that states: “This bill declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being.”

Going back over the history of the whole Evangelical/GOP efforts to curb reproductive rights, I found this interesting article in a 2014 issue of Politico, The Real Origins of The Religious Right by Randal Balmer, a professor in arts and sciences at Dartmouth college. In the article, which is well worth the read, Balmer wrote:

“When the Roe decision was handed down, W. A. Criswell, the Southern Baptist Convention’s former president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas—also one of the most famous fundamentalists of the 20th century—was pleased: “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person,” he said, “and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.”

When it comes to reproductive rights, it’s clear that even the Evangelicals can’t consistently stay on the same page, and the GOP is happy to sway in the wind with them.

Sadly, the people who are immediately impacted by the Alabama ruling are couples who were scheduled to have procedures to implant fertilized embryos, and those those appointments were canceled. After spending as much as $30 thousand dollars to get to this point, not to mention the months of hormone shots and procedures for egg retrieval, it’s not going to happen.

Of the five clinics in Alabama, three have suspended all medical treatments following the court’s decision, fearing liability for any accident that could happen at the clinic. Many embryos are made for one couple because some are not viable. There are failures to grow, embryos that stick to a Petri dish, and other factors that create a scenario where not all embryos can be used.

Interestingly enough, while there are accidents with the handling and storage of embryos, those accidents aren’t as common as this current furor might suggest. According to Texas Fertility Center, the odds of a mistake in a certified IVF laboratory in the United States are extremely low.

When some embryos are left after a couple finishes the entire regimen of their IVF treatments and have a healthy baby, it’s up to them to decide what can be done with the remaining embryos. Options include:

Save for another cycle, if they want to try for another child.

Donate them to another infertile couple.

Donate the embryos to science.

Thawing, then burying them, although there may be issues with that in some states.

Keep the embryos frozen indefinitely, which usually involves a fee – $500 – $1000 a year.

In the US, the number of 

in vitro fertilization

There has been a huge jump in the numbers of IVF cycles in the United States, an increase of over 150% in the last 33 years to more than 300,000 cycles per year. So everything that is hovering on the horizon that will impact how many clinics will continue to operate will affect more and more couples.

Whew, this is a lot of information that took several hours to put together. If you have been following the news of the Alabama court ruling, I hope you find this article helpful as you parse all the ramifications. If you haven’t been following the news, maybe this is a good introduction to the subject.

Have a great rest of your week.

4 thoughts on “The Latest GOP Absurdity”

  1. I truly bellieve that it’s EVERY person’s right to determine what is agreeable for them. Government should have NO RIGHTS in deciding ANYONE’S health decisions. Their noses are into personal business of each individual’s lives. If they would stay out of ‘people’s bedrooms’ maybe they would have more time to run the government as they should be and work on that instead…believe that was what they ‘signed up for!’

    1. Well said, Barb. It’s so distressing that the folks in Congress don’t focus enough on what people want and need. Thanks for stopping by.

    2. Well spoken, except what people are signing up for when running for congress seems to be to break democracy, cause chaos, and get free money and benefits for rest of their lives… and where is accountability if senator or house rep is doing a bad job?? Do they lose job and benefits like any other normal person would?? Nope

      1. So true, Sue, as well as for corporate CEOs and top management. When something goes wrong with a service or product the worker is blamed and penalysed and the upper management gets away with thousands if not millions in their golden parachute. Sickening.

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