The front page article of this week’s Village Voice discusses a new niche sect of the Pro-Life movement that seeks to rebrand a frozen embryo as a child with human rights, and the process of in-vitro fertilization as “adoption.” It’s a fascinating read.
From Village Voice:
Since 1997, a small but growing arm of the pro-life movement has been promoting a new name […] “embryo adoption.”
The idea is to convince people that embryos created for in vitro fertilization—undifferentiated clumps of cells roughly the size of a comma—are actually individuals that deserve legal rights and the same protections afforded to actual children during adoption. To help popularize the notion of embryos as unique individuals, pro-life advocates refer to them as human “snowflakes” (because no two are alike), and say that women like Lauren are helping to bring “snowflake babies” into the world.
Now, I understand the opinion that an embryo is alive. I understand that an embryo has a unique potential to be a human being. It’s clear that there is no solid line between an embryo and a baby. But this is ridiculous. The mere potential to be a human being alone shouldn’t make them sacred; is menstruation a sin?
The real dilemma here is that our old framework that considers things either alive or dead is a gross simplification, and a morality based on this duality is increasingly irrelevant. A human personality, spirit, and experience is holy. A lump that has the potential to become human is not. We will never all agree on where the line is.
Sam Casey, Executive VP for Advocates International, says that treating embryos as nonhuman is just like the way we treated slaves as nonhuman before the Civil War. They want to require women who have frozen their embryos to either inseminate or give them up for adoption, because otherwise they are being “bad parents.”
There’s a weird denial of death here. Do they really believe it is possible to give life to every embryo in existence? What in their experience makes them believe this is desirable or the natural order of things? Ordinarily I believe that practical considerations shouldn’t come into the definition of what is right–but in this case what they propose is next to impossible, and therefore pretty absurd.