Feedback from May 2 and Beyond | Letters | Salt Lake City Weekly

Feedback from May 2 and Beyond 

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Think of the Children
As has been widely reported, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling declaring that embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) should be considered children. The ruling states that frozen embryos are "unborn children" for purposes of civil liability under Alabama's wrongful death statute.

The court also states that anything that can happen to an embryo can be considered the wrongful death of a minor, with legal consequences.

While wrongful death is a civil, not a criminal matter, it strikes me as an irresistibly short step for the so-called "pro-life" set to argue that there is nothing about a frozen embryo life that meaningfully distinguishes its "life" element from any other embryo. After all, under most circumstances, a frozen child would be considered less viable than a child not frozen.

And if anything that can happen to an embryo can be considered the wrongful death of a minor, it would seem difficult to defend that an adverse embryo event be considered such a wrongful death only if the embryo is frozen.

Speaking of irresistibly short steps, if any embryo is a child under the law, why should injuries to it be denied the further protection of criminal law? Agreeing that harm to a frozen embryo constitute harm to a child, while at the same time shielding perpetrators of those harms from criminal penalties, will surely appear feeble to pro-life defenders of children everywhere.

Be assured, criminal penalties are dressed up and waiting in the wings.

It seems logical and almost inevitable that such penalties will be enacted, strictly interpreted and aggressively enforced. But once a few pro-life women—either legislators themselves or else married to pro-life legislators—endure the heartbreak of miscarriage and are further required to endure a police investigation of the "child's" death, or to defend themselves against a potential capital offense charge, the nonsense pro-lifers earnestly proclaim might finally be revealed.

It is the defense of a social construct that males, especially white males, have their role, which is to be in charge and make all important decisions for everyone else (routinely exempting themselves). And, women also have theirs, which is to meekly/obediently serve their men and make babies.

While there is ongoing secular (not medical) controversy about when human life begins, it is completely noncontroversial that the woman potentially seeking an abortion is alive—a living, breathing human being.

That woman's life is many times placed in jeopardy by the consequences of pro-life dicta. The abundant contradictions are astounding.

Abortion is medical care, except as viewed through the lens of certain religious beliefs.

Let's let caregivers and patients make health care decisions, rather than ceding that responsibility to the social elements that brought us inquisitions, ducking stools and witch burnings.
TOM WALKER
Salt Lake City

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