More on the IVF Brouhaha

  • Vox summarizes the issue;
  • Republicans are walking the issue back; they know it won’t win them votes;
  • Amanda Marcotte on how this is about Christians controlling women;
  • Robert Reich on the emerging Republican theocracy;
  • A link to Connie Willis’ latest screed, about this issue and many other things;
  • And Crowded House’s “Pour de Monde”.

Vox summarizes the story so far.

Vox, Rachel M. Cohen, 23 Feb 2024: Alabama’s IVF warning to the country, subtitled “The movement to treat embryos as full-fledged people is taking a victory lap.”

Let’s be clear. This decision and its very obvious fallout are a victory for an extremist wing of the anti-abortion movement I’ve been covering for the last two years. These particular activists believe in the radical idea of “fetal personhood,” meaning they want to endow fetuses (and embryos) with full human rights and legal protection.

As some have already wondered, have they thought this through? Do fetuses count as tax deductions? If a fetus is frozen long enough, can it collect social security? Can a pregnant woman drive in the carpool lane?

Do Republicans not understand the consequences of this decision? That fewer women will have children, since some 2% of children are born via IVF procedures currently? Cue Tommy Tuberville.


AlterNet, David Badash, 23 Feb 2024: Democrats discredit GOP claims on IVF as Republicans try to regain ground after fallout

One week after the Alabama State Supreme Court ruled frozen human embryos are “children,” causing several medical institutions to pause their in-vitro fertilization (IVF) programs, Alabama and the GOP have seen tremendous nationwide anger, upset, and confusion from the left and the right over the decision, the Christian nationalist chief judge, and the Republican Party that set this in motion.

He hasn’t a clue. See the video in this piece.


AlterNet, Carl Gibson, 23 Feb 2024: Senate GOP campaign memo: ‘Imperative’ to ‘clearly and concisely reject’ Alabama IVF ruling

Really! Why would they reject it? Perhaps because they know, that like abortion, it’s a losing issue for Republicans in general elections. Pragmatism wins over zealotry.


Getting more analytical — this motivation has been floated for a long time.

Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 23 Feb 2024: Alabama’s targeting of IVF is the Christian right’s attempt to control motherhood, subtitled “IVF helps women become mothers — so why does the Christian right hate it so much?”

A lot of people are understandably shocked to learn that the anti-abortion movement also hates IVF. After all, the movement claims to be all about motherhood. One would think the people who are always yammering on about how a woman’s greatest purpose is giving birth would celebrate those who endure IVF, which is both painful and expensive, just so they can have a baby. But no, the Christian right wants to end IVF for two reasons: First, because of the bottomless misogyny and homophobia that fuels the movement. Second, because the end goal for the Christian right is to turn the U.S. into a theocracy, and banning IVF helps them get there.

It’s important to understand that what the Christian right really wants is not motherhood, per se, but a social order where women are second class citizens. They take a dim view of not just abortion and contraception, but all reproductive technologies that make it easier for women to exercise autonomy over their lives. There’s a widespread perception that IVF is primarily used by lesbians, single women, and women who waited until their 30s to get married. (In reality, there are many reasons, including male infertility.) Conservatives view IVF as a cheat code for feminists who want to have children on their own terms. They would prefer a system where the only path to motherhood is being trapped with a Trump-voting husband who controls your checking account so you can’t leave.

This is all very Biblical, as I’ve said: primitive Savannah morality, obsolete in the modern world, as conservatives do not realize.


Taking a broader view.

Robert Reich, 23 Feb 2024: The Emerging Republican Theocracy, subtitled “White Christian nationalism is the creed of red America”


In a case centering on wrongful-death claims for frozen embryos that were destroyed in a mishap at a fertility clinic, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled last Friday that frozen embryos are “children” under state law. As a result, Alabama in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics are ceasing services, afraid to store or destroy any embryos.

The underlying issue is whether government can interfere in the most intimate aspects of people’s lives — not only barring people from obtaining IVF services but also forbidding them from entering into gay marriage, utilizing contraception, having out-of-wedlock births, ending their pregnancies, changing their genders, checking out whatever books they want from the library, and worshipping God in whatever way they wish (or not worshipping at all).

All of these private freedoms are under increasing assault from Republican legislators and judges who want to impose their own morality on everyone else. Republicans are increasingly at war with America’s fundamental separation of church and state.


Am I over-obsessed with these issues? Then consider Connie Willis, a great science fiction writer (of both comic and tragic stories), who’s been posting daily screeds about the increasing outrages by Republicans for weeks now. (She’s always been a CNN fan; I was with her in a Green Room at the 1997 Worldcon, in San Antonio, when news came in about Princess Diana’s death.) Click to see her full post.


Crowded House was at its poppiest with its third album, Woodface, full of short catchy songs. Their songs became more complex in later albums, and at some point Neil Finn stepped away to do solo albums, with songs even more introspective and complex — and beautiful. For today, this track from Time on Earth, the band’s fifth album. This is the song from that album that lingers with me: “Pour de Monde.”

He imagines the world
As the angel ascending
Like the ghost of a man
Who is tied up to the chair

And he tries to believe
That his life has a meaning
With his hand on his heart
Pour le monde, pas pour la guerre

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