Apologetics for the Masses #471 - In Vitro Fertilization, Donald Trump, the Alabama Supreme Court, and Catholic Teaching

Bible Christian Society


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The Alabama Supreme Court's Ruling on In Vitro Fertilization and how the Media, and Donald Trump, are Getting it Wrong.

General Comments

Hey folks,

I had a number of you email me to let me know you had sent, or were going to send, emails to Pastor Ryan Day and/or members of his leadership team at the Revolve Bible Church in San Juan Capistrano following my last newsletter (https://www.biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter/673-apologetics-for-the-masses-470-the-revolve-bible-church-and-mike-gendron-s-viral-anti-catholic-video).

I have not had any response from Pastor Day, nor any of his leadership team (23 people in all), to my email to them and, since I haven't heard from any of you about a response from anyone at Revolve, I'm assuming Pastor Day and his team have not responded to any of the emails they have received from Catholics requesting that they take that vile, anti-Catholic, filled with lies, video of Mike Gendron off of their church's YouTube channel (Mike Gendron's Anti-Catholic Presentation at Revolve Bible Church

But, what they have done, is put another anti-Catholic video of Mike Gendron up on their website (Another Gendron Anti-Catholic Video w/Pastor Ryan Day) - a video which Pastor Ryan Day is a part of.  This video is rather short (about 7 and a half minutes), but is, nonetheless, filled with multiple distortions, half-truths, and outright lies about the Catholic Faith.  So, I guess Pastor Day, instead of following the Commandment about "Thou shalt not bear false witness," and instead of living up to being a pastor of a church where integrity matters, has gone whole hog into anti-Catholic bigotry and lies. 

What I always find interesting when I ask folks like this to, at the very least, have a balanced representation of the Catholic Faith by presenting both sides - as opposed to just presenting the one side of the anti-Catholic bigots - is that they are apparently afraid to have their people hear an actual Catholic present what the Catholic Church actually teaches.  Why is that?  I've never been afraid to share Mike Gendron's - or any other of the anti-Catholic bigots' like him - videos, articles, newsletters, etc. with the subscribers to my newsletter.  Why?  Because my philosophy is truth does not fear error; rather, error fears truth.  So, Pastor Day, what are you afraid of?  The truth?


This week I thought I would say something about in vitro fertilization (IVF) and, particularly, about the Alabama Supreme Court's decision in regards to IVF that has been all over the news and was even mentioned last night by President Biden in the State of the Union Address, as well as being a topic addressed by President Trump - both of whom got it wrong.  So, below is what I have to say on the topic.  (I also have a few articles below in the "Articles of Interest" section on the Alabama IVF story and IVF, in general, as well as on a couple of other topics.)


The Alabama Supreme Court's IVF Ruling
The Alabama Supreme Court recently ruled that an unborn child, specifically an unborn child that was created in vitro, who is in a frozen state of suspended animation, is indeed a minor child under Alabama law.  Specifically in regards to the "Wrongful Death of a Minor" Act.  Because of that, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that an IVF clinic could be sued, under that law, by two couples who had lost 3 of their "frozen" children due to negligence on behalf of the IVF clinic. 

The reasoning behind this ruling was based in the same Court's finding from a 2011 case that the "Wrongful Death of a Minor" Act does indeed apply to not only minor children that have been born, but also to unborn minor children.  The Court found, in this most recent case, that an unborn child is a child that is conceived either in utero (within the womb) or in vitro (outside of the womb), thus making it applicable to all of the unborn children that are currently frozen in a state of suspended animation in IVF clinics throughout Alabama.  In other words, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a human embryo is indeed a "child" regardless of where it is located - in the womb or out.  Which means, the Court got it right!

Given that, the Court said the two couples whose frozen embryos - whose frozen children - died as a result of the clinic's negligence, could sue the clinic under the "Wrongful Death of a Minor" Act. Absolutely right decision - a decision that is consistent with the law, with science, with logic, and with something that is so desperately missing in the public sphere these days...common sense.

The Response
The media, along with Presidents Trump and Biden, presented this decision as if it was an attack on the practice of IVF in general.  It was not.  Neither was the ruling a result of, or in any way connected to, the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade as Biden and the Democrats and the Anti-Catholic Media (i.e., the mainstream media) tried to portray it.  The Alabama decision was a very specific ruling for a very specific case.  Again, what the ruling stated was, that the parents of the embryonic children that died because of negligence on behalf of the IVF clinic, could sue the clinic for damages under Alabama's "Wrongful Death of a Minor" Act. 

Nowhere in the Court's decision did it rule that IVF was illegal or any such thing.  Nowhere in the Court's decision was there anything that would allow lawsuits to be filed each and every time a frozen child died.  For example, the ruling said nothing at all about the situation where the parents of the frozen child asked the IVF clinic to no longer keep the child frozen, but to go ahead and dispose of that child, which, unfortunately, happens quite often.  So, again, this was not a ruling that disallowed the practice of IVF in any way, shape, or form. 

But, the Democrats seized upon this ruling and, with the aid of their media allies, completely misrepresented the ruling to a public that is generally ignorant of what all is involved with the IVF processes.

The Church's Teaching on IVF
#2376, Catechism of the Catholic Church - "Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' 'right to become a father and a mother only through each other.'"

#2377, Catechism of the Catholic Church - "Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that 'entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person.
Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.'

'Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses' union . . . . Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person.'"

#2378, Catechism of the Catholic Church - "A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The 'supreme gift of marriage' is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged 'right to a child' would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right 'to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents,' and 'the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.'"

My Comments
Here's the thing.  And this is why I am disappointed in the response of President Trump, and also in the response of many folks who call themselves "pro-life" - if the in vitro "product of conception" between a human sperm cell and a human egg cell is not a human being...a human life...a human person...from the very first moment of conception, then what is it?  If human life from the first moment of its existence - in utero or not - does not deserve the full protection of the law, then that opens up the possibility of human life at every moment of its existence to be denied the full protection of the law...which is exactly what we are seeing happen in country after country around the world, including the U.S. 

I was watching a local news story here in Birmingham on the Supreme Court's IVF decision and the reporter was talking to a woman who had conceived a child via IVF, and this woman stated, "I don't believe it's a child until it's implanted in the mother's womb."  She doesn't personally believe it's a child, so that makes it okay to dispose of these "non-children"?  Well, the Nazis didn't personally believe the Jews were persons. So, I guess that made it okay for the Nazis to dispose of those "non-persons", right?  Same logic.  If the value of human life is subjective and can be de-valued at any point on the spectrum of life - conception to natural death - then that allows for the value of human life to be subjective and to be de-valued at every point on the spectrum of life - conception to natural death. 

I would have loved to have asked her, "Well, then, if it's not a child, what is it?!  Is it human?  Is it alive?  Is it the product of your egg cell and someone's sperm cell coming together?  If, yes, to all of the above, then, sorry...but that is your child, period!  Scientific fact!  No debate!" 

Which is why I was so disappointed in Trump's response to this ruling and the response of so many in the "pro-life" community.  First of all, Trump's response showed he was ignorant of what the Alabama Supreme Court's ruling actually stated.  So the folks around him are not doing a good job of keeping him informed.  Secondly, he could have used the ruling to say exactly what I said above, "Well, if the 'things' that are conceived in vitro are not living human children, then what are they?"  But, unfortunately, since the last election he has backed off of his pro-life stance quite a bit.  His stance is still better than the Democrats' "feel free to kill them all at any time before they're born, and sometimes even after they're born" stance, but he has, nonetheless, taken a step in the wrong direction. Again, disappointing.

Anyone who says we need to be "politically expedient" and stick with a 15-week (or thereabouts) limit on abortions is, in my opinion, an idiot and a hypocrite.  And they certainly do not trust in God nor respect God's law.  Life is life.  What gives life inherent value?  God's love for that life.  And God loves each life as much at the moment of its conception as He does at the moment of its death.  A one-celled human being has as much inherent value to God as a multibillion-celled human being.  So, to try and put an arbitrary limit on when it is okay and not okay to kill that unborn child is idiocy and hypocrisy...not to mention just plain evil. 

So, What To Do With Frozen Children?
There's a larger question to consider here, though, and this is what, for me, makes IVF so evil.  The question is: What to do with the frozen children?  It is estimated that there are somewhere around one million "surplus" frozen embryonic children at IVF clinics just here in the U.S.  Most of those will never be implanted in a woman's womb.  They will die. 

The question is often asked, "Would it be okay to go ahead and implant these embryos into women as opposed to letting them be destroyed?"  This is a situation that the Church has not definitively ruled on. No matter what you choose to do with an embryo that has been created in vitro (outside the womb) and has been frozen and stored in some warehouse, you are violating a moral principle.

To purposely destroy the embryo is to kill an innocent human being. To implant an embryo in a woman's womb so as to allow it to develop and grow and be born, is to violate Church teaching on the nature of procreation and that the conception of a child, and the subsequent growth and development of that child in the womb, should take place through natural sexual relations between a man and a woman.
If the child is simply left in the freezer indefinitely, then it will eventually die one way or the other.

So, what is the moral thing to do with a frozen embryo? I would argue, sans any clear and definitive teaching from the Church, that the moral thing to do would be to implant the embryo in a woman's womb. This is a human life. I believe an exception to the Church's teaching against the artificial implantation of an embryo into a woman's womb should be made in the case where the embryo has already been conceived and will eventually die without implantation.

And I'm thinking more here of the soul than the body. Implantation would allow for the child to be born and baptized; whereas, the child will otherwise die without ever having had the chance to be baptized.
That's my opinion, anyway...

Closing Comments

I hope all of you have a great week!


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Articles of Interest

Report: Catholic Relief Services Supports Abortion and Contraception in Africa

Bishop Strickland, CPAC, and IVF

The Alabama Supreme Court Ruling on IVF

The Alabama Supreme Court and IVF

Catholic Woman Who Struggled With Infertility & IVF    

It's Time to Take On the Satanic Temple

It's Time to Face the Ugly Truth About In Vitro Fertilization

Is Freedom of Speech About to Die in Europe?


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Apologetics for the Masses