Most Americans are familiar with the term “Bible Belt,” which refers to the Southern states ranging from Virginia to Texas, where church attendance is historically the highest in America. The state of Alabama sits right in the center of that belt, the buckle.

Twice in this century, Alabama’s Supreme Court has been at the front of the church and state debate in America. In the early 2000s when then-Chief Justice Roy Moore refused to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from his courtroom, contending that the Alabama Constitution required him to state a belief in God. In a scenario taking twenty years to play out Moore was eventually removed, reelected, and finally resigned from the Alabama bench.

And now, in 2024, current Chief Justice Tom Parker cited the name of the Almighty multiple times in writing a landmark ruling on in vitro fertilization (IVF) where his court established that embryos created from IVF are in fact children, truly human, just as much as a baby that entered the world from its mother’s womb.

The case in point prevented embryos created but not implanted from being destroyed. But the national ballyhoo resulting in the media, in Washington, D.C., and even among some pro-life citizens, would lead one to believe that Alabama had outlawed the entire IVF process, which was hardly the case.

As soon as the ruling came down, politicians of all stripes rushed to their social media accounts, nearest television cameras, and the very floors of the legislatures where they sit, to espouse their support for IVF. A few IVF clinics in Alabama have announced closure due to fears of liability issues if they mistreat any embryos, and laws have been introduced in Alabama and in Congress to “legalize” the very IVF which has not even been declared to be illegal.

Again, legality of IVF is not in question with this decision.

Admittedly, many pro-life and other religious American citizens believe that the practice is wrong, even immoral. They feel it is playing God, at best, and taking innocent human life, at worst — that is unless the couples implant every embryo created from their IVF treatments.

But at the heart of the Alabama case are those embryos (numbering in the millions if considered nationwide) sitting in a frozen state, never implanted, with no likelihood that they ever will be. Legal battles often ensue over such embryos when couples divorce and fight over the ownership of their embryos.

Often, other couples, desperate to have children want to “adopt” the embryos.

There is no truth to the liberal rallying cry that Alabama wants to outlaw the very IVF procedure. Although, some there, and elsewhere might. The Alabama decision only prevented the disposal of not-implanted embryos.

Of course, in a republican society we are governed by the Constitution, not by the holy Bible, but ignoring the Almighty’s advice on a matter never seems prudent. This Alabama ruling is not necessarily a religious question, however, as the scientific analysis seems sufficient. Even for atheists who claim no belief in God, the biology, once again, proves to be the most basic science we have: sperm and egg meet to form human life. I ask any reader: how else does human life come about?

Focus on the Family is often looked to for advice in such very personal decisions made between married couples. We believe concerns with IVF can be lessened if it is only used by a married man and woman with no third-party involvement (no donor sperm, donor eggs, or surrogacy), and that all embryos are implanted. For those embryos currently in a frozen state with no intentions of being implanted, we support adoption to other mothers and fathers who are also married to each other. Children born from those forsaken and adopted embryos are often called “snowflake babies.”

Many Americans know couples who have given birth to children conceived through in vitro fertilization. The first such child I knew of is a boy born in the early 1990s — practically the dark ages in comparison to how far the process—and the related dilemmas — have come since then. He is now a healthy and successful adult with a family of his own.

But if only, as with many issues in the public square, those sounding the alarms could agree to sound them in truth, rather than to obfuscate, and not in order to make political hay.


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