In Limbo Fertilization

An embryologist works in an IVF lab in central Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo by Dominika Zarzycka/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

The Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling on embryonic life has unleashed the worst parade of horribles this side of the speaker’s stage at CPAC.

The facts are bizarre. A patient wandered into a room at an Alabama fertility clinic where frozen embryos were being stored, grabbed a few, then dropped them onto the floor when the intense cold burned her hand, destroying them. The couples to whom those embryos belonged sued the clinic under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. The question for the court: Were the embryos “minors” within the meaning of that statute?

The answer: Yes indeed. “Extrauterine children” are children. A provision in the Alabama Constitution makes clear that “it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.” That was enough for the court to err on the side of assuming personhood in the embryos, with the chief justice going so far as to say in his concurrence that “life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God.”

This content is available exclusively to Dispatch members
Try a membership for full access to every newsletter and all of The Dispatch. Support quality, fact-based journalism.
Already a paid member? Sign In
Comments (587)
Join The Dispatch to participate in the comments.
Load More