Frozen, Unique, Never Again to be Recreated
A baby that can’t survive outside the womb is not a baby, and therefore should be allowed to be aborted. This is a simplistic reduction of one aspect of the pro-choice argument. Certainly it is an inherently subjective one, as viability is just as much a consequence of medical advances as biological ones. We now have incubators, drugs to speed up lung development, and respirators. Years down the road, we may be able to do even more for the pre-born. The day may yet come wherein a foetus may be removed from the womb in the first trimester and sustained outside. Just because an individual is dependent on external help--as even those who are born are, infants certainly cannot feed themselves, and many adults struggle with disability--it has never made their lives less valuable. Regardless, the day has already come when children are conceived outside the womb and implanted. If embryos may be adopted, how then are they not human?
The first such adoption took place in March 1998 when the Strege family adopted their daughter, Hannah, as an embryo. Struggling with infertility the couple recognised the horror of IVF, specifically, in this instance, the frozen children that would be discarded or misused. Rather than add to the growing number of abandoned embryos, they chose to adopt. Such adoption has since earned the moniker “Snowflake” in recognition that each child is “frozen, unique, never again to be recreated.” Since then several thousand children who would otherwise have been abandoned have been granted life through such programs. Meanwhile, there are over a million frozen embryos who may never see the light of day.
The Catholic Church has always condemned IVF as an immoral act that begets children outside of the conjugal act. Moreover, with the understanding that life must begin at conception, it also results in what can only be termed abandonment. What to do about this desperate situation is a controversial one. However, in the same way that adopting a child who is born affirms the dignity and value of said child, adopting an embryo reaffirms the humanity of the child who was treated as property. When the possibility of research using embryos was raised, young Hannah Strege, the first Snowflake baby, was brought to the White House where she poignantly brought to light the tragedy of the matter. She was an embryo once, were they going to kill her? The simple fact is that when you have children in the community who have been rescued from frozen prisons, you have walking testimony to the fact that gestation, and viability, are inappropriate to determine the integrity of human life.