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An embryo is a child?

Over the past several weeks, the nation has watched the state of Alabama Supreme Court ruled the use of IVF to support and grow the families of Alabama citizens illegal.  The ruling intends to punish doctors and other providers who assist families in this process.  In some distorted way, the state of Alabama court, reflecting the beliefs of Evangelicals and conservative MAGA Republicans, has ruled to ban IVF as part of their anti-abortion, pro-life agenda.  It’s hard to know these days what their agenda really is or what they really stand for. 

They say that a frozen embryo obtained through the IVF process is the same as a child.  However, if we take the time to explore their beliefs and actions, we come to understand that the supporters of the recent IVF ban in the protection of children, demonstrate that they don’t even like children given the way they vote, and the public policies and politicians they support. 

They do not support quality healthcare for children; vote against the expansion of food stamps which help to feed many of America’s children; are denying many of them their history and are banning the books they can read in their schools and public libraries.  They vote against ensuring strong high quality public schools and would only support those embryos that attend private/religious schools.  They discriminate against children who are gay, lesbian, transgender, and seek to deny them educational opportunity and work to stigmatize them in the public square.  And their most horrific position of all-they allow our children to be murdered by guns with impunity and in staggering numbers.

For 15 years, I served as the president and CEO of The Home for Little Wanderers, America’s oldest and one of New England’s largest child and family service organizations providing direct services and acting as advocates representing their interests.  It was our job to advocate for the policies and practices that would best serve children and their families living in at-risk circumstances in MA and the region.  In fact, many of the children served by The Home were victims of trauma resulting from the serious abuse and neglect they experienced, often at the hands of adults who were supposed to love and care about them.  The world in which many of the kids we served lived and the systems they were forced to navigate felt cruel and unforgiving.  The policies and practices undergirding these systems are equally so. And we often found that change was required to best promote the educational, health care, housing, and basic needs of families.  Both at the national and statewide levels, it is sad to acknowledge that the needs of our children have not always come first-children do not vote and children do not pay taxes. Children are among the poorest citizens in America, and the most harmed from gun violence.  Organizations like The Home and their partners, need to remain on the front lines of the struggle for equity and opportunity for all the nation’s children.

The frozen embryos that are being “protected” by the conservative and regressive policies coming from the MAGA Republicans  (who today dominate the Party) and their Evangelical allies are safer today if they remain embryos.  When that bundle of cells develops into what we all recognize as a child, God bless them. If they live in many of our southern or mid-western states, they haven’t got much of a chance if they are poor, working class, Black or Brown, immigrant, and/or non-English speaking.  The pretzel into which today’s Republican Party has twisted the country at the crossroads of pro-life, anti-abortion, IVF and overall reproductive health is utter madness.  Being a child, these days is not all that great, and so what are they in favor of really?




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