The “People” Frozen to -320 degrees in Alabama

To the deep astonishment of many there has been a “discovery” that there are vast numbers of “people” who have been frozen to -320 degrees in Alabama.

Well yes, this is of course about the IVF ruling lunacy. How could I possibly resist commenting on the observation that Republicans have now managed, if I may borrow a phrase from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, to “Hoist themselves with their own petard” on a truly epic national scale, and it is indeed a glorious sight to bask in, relish, and behold.

What are we actually talking about?

Before we get into the “What happened?”, lets very briefly explain what IVF is. I’m confident that you do know know this, but there are a couple of details well-worth appreciating.

As is generally well-known, IVF is a procedure that involves taking the eggs from a women, identifying the best candidates and fertilising them with sperm, and then planting several of the best candidates back into the women so that she can then hopefully have a baby. This is a well-established medical procedure that is available to couples who are facing infertility challenges. It has been in use since the late 1970s.

A few key points …

  • They don’t just take one egg,  but instead they collect the contents from the fallopian tubes or uterus after natural ovulation. This also often involves Ovarian hyperstimulation because without it, this will not work. It’s tricky stuff and involves an ultrasound-guided needle. You really don’t what to be doing this for just one egg that by itself may not be viable.
  • Many of the collected eggs are fertilised, and then several of the best candidates are selected and transferred to the uterus. What remains is then frozen. This is done because patients who fail to conceive the first time, may try again without having to go through a full IVF cycle which is expensive. This is the established approach that make this process viable.

What happened In Alabama?

I speculate that you may indeed be familiar with what happened, but for completeness, especially for readers who reside in other nations, let’s step through it so that they also can embrace the true lunacy of the “they did what” moment.

In 2020, a patient at the Center for Reproductive Medicine managed to gain entry to the fertility clinic via an “unsecured doorway” and got access to the freezer that contained frozen embryos. Being curious he (or her) pulled some out to have a look and ended up dropping them, and so destroyed them. As described here within local media…

Mobile Infirmary “allowed one of its patients to leave and/or elope from his or her room in the Infirmary’s hospital area and access the cryogenic storage area.”

The patient removed embryos from the freezer, and “it is believed that the cryopreservation’s subzero temperatures burned the eloping patient’s hands, causing him or her to drop the cryopreserved embryonic human beings on the floor, where they began to slowly die,”

Three sets of patients undergoing IVF were very upset about this so they sued. The legal stance taken by their lawyers was that the hospital had been so negligent that it led to their embryos being destroyed and that this breached the Alabama’s “Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.”

In 2022, the circuit court tossed the case on the basis that a frozen embryo was not a “minor child”. Yes, the hospital was negligent, but the problem was that they had foolishly tried to use the “Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.” and it legally did not apply in this case.

There was an appeal and so it went to Alabama Supreme Court for a ruling. This is where the deeply religious individuals there proceeded to rule of Feb 16, 2024 that frozen embryos are indeed people.

The religious language sloshing around within the ruling is indeed a wonder to behold …

… But the principle itself—that human life is fundamentally distinct from other forms of life and cannot be taken intentionally without justification—has deep roots that reach back to the creation of man “in the image of God.” Genesis 1:27 (King James)….

… Finally, the doctrine of the sanctity of life is rooted in the Sixth Commandment: “You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13 (NKJV 1982)…

…In summary, the theologically based view of the sanctity of life adopted by the People of Alabama encompasses the following: (1) God made every person in His image; (2) each person therefore has a value that far exceeds the ability of human beings to calculate; and (3) human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself. Section 36.06 recognizes that this is true of unborn human life no less than it is of all other human life — that even before birth, all human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory…

This judgement is not law, but instead is religious superstitious nonsense.

Does this ban IVF?

In essence, yes it does, but indirectly.

If frozen embryos are legally “people”, them the IVF clinics are forced to abandon the standard IVF process that involves freezing embryos and also are forced to keep all the frozen embryos they currently have forever.

As a result multiple IVF clinics in Alabama are now suspending services.

Actions really do have consequences

Some are celebrating this outcome. For example both Liberty Counsel and the Family Research Council are cheering this Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos are children.

Beyond such narrow extremist bubbles the wider swathe of Republicans who have been embracing such religious extremists are now suddenly discovering that the policies they impose are not popular, so they are forced to try and pretend that they did not mean banning IVF, yet many of them are on record as supporting exactly this.

They are also now discovering that negotiating with the religious extremists is not an option. They don’t do compromise.

The key to it all is this.

As we all know, the stance is “Abortion is Murder”. The basis for that religious belief is the religious claim that life begins at conception, hence an embryo is a person. What the Alabama ruling now reveals is that the natural consequence of that belief is to also scupper IVF, and so many leading Republicans now go, “Oh wait, we support IVF and did not mean to impact that”.

They don’t actually give a **** about IVF, the problem is that vast numbers of people who have voted for them do, so they need to be both anti-Abortion, and also Pro-IVF to keep their support.

Nope, sorry guys, but you don’t get the play a game by pretending you can square that circle of raw stupidity.

In this Congress, 124 House Republicans — including Speaker Mike Johnson — are co-sponsoring the Life at Conception Act. Once you adopt that religious stance then one of the consequences of it is to also scupper IVF. There really is no ducking this.

Debunking The Religious claim: “Life begins at Birth”

Let’s start with the facts and be very very clear about this – the claim is religious and not scientific.

Life does not suddenly appear from non-life at conception. Rather obviously every sperm and every egg is alive.

All would agree that sperm and also eggs are not themselves human beings. They do however together contain the entire genetic blueprint for a human.

  • Is the destruction of an isolated sperm or eggs deemed to be a murder?

Once you have a fertilised egg the religious would have us believe that the destruction of this collection of a few cells is murder. The implication of that stance is that a miscarriage is manslaughter, and yet the fate of most fertilised eggs is that they are miscarried.

If indeed it is murder to destroy a fertilised egg then why does the same standard not apply to isolated eggs and sperm?

What comes next?

Will the deeply religious be seeking to protect every single sperm and egg by putting in place a corps of religious sperm protecting police who will prosecute all who masturbate?

(Actually, the deeply religious do also oppose masturbation and also contraception, but that’s not our immediate focus here, so let’s just gloss over all that for now, and as we do so quietly recognise that it is layers of clowns all the way down)

You really don’t need to think too hard to grasp how deeply absurd the entire “life begins at conception” claim actually is – you need to embrace the belief that an egg is 0% a human person, and then suddenly a zygote is 100% a human person. To be 100% clear and once again repeat myself, this time with a link to the literature, the religious stance is not scientific. Anybody claiming it is, is lying to you.

The 2024 election

What is now coming into focus is the realisation for many that the 2024 election is rapidly evolving into a very blatant choice between enabling religious extremism to dominate and interfere in society, or for us to instead step away from such lunacy and focus on making good evidence-based decisions that maximises the well-being for the most number of people.

Some will of course maintain the extreme position of a total rejection of abortion regardless of circumstances, rejection of IVF, rejection of contraception, and also rejection of masturbation. Individuals have complete freedom to walk that path if they choose. Monks and Nuns have being doing that for centuries. Meanwhile, the rest of society really does need to wake up and walk away from those that wish to enable such extreme non-scientific religious views to be imposed by force upon the rest of us.

That’s the real 2024 choice.


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