IVF and Abortion

In the United States, it is becoming clear that the Democrat Party and its supporters hope to make abortion the issue that will provide them with victory in the next election. After all, it isn’t easy to get people to ignore rising crime, hordes of illegal aliens, rampant inflation, and sick ideologies spreading in schools, among dozens of other ills plaguing the United States. To that end, misrepresenting, misreporting, and misleading the populace is important. An Alabama Supreme Court ruling regarding embryos created for IVF – in vitro fertilization – provided an opportunity for shallow coverage that was used to stoke fears among American voters.

As with many scientific issues, IVF is a medical and technological advance that raises serious moral questions. I do not have a simple view to share. From my layman’s perspective, IVF seems like a miracle that answers the dreams of many who wish to be parents, and at the same time it can be the source of the cheapening of life and the mistreatment of women in desperate financial straits. If I had a personal, practical question regarding the procedure, I would turn to a qualified rabbi for guidance, not to the government. Nonetheless, a country cannot make decisions on the same basis as an individual would.

Unfortunately, a country can make decisions based on emotional manipulation and hysteria. It should not; but it can. To that end, I have a question about an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal of March 6, 2024, one which represents the type of “reporting” that abounds when the topic of abortion is raised.

The article highlights Elizabeth Carr, who speaks frequently and openly about the wonder of IVF allowing an otherwise childless woman who had undergone the grueling trial of three ectopic pregnancies, to have a baby. Elizabeth was that baby, the first IVF infant born in the United States. Here are two quotes from Carr quoted in the article.

“My life gives people hope,”

“If my mother had not been told by her doctor about IVF, I would not be here…”

In all fairness, the article includes concerns that Carr works and advocates for a company that sells genetic tests, acknowledging that IVF technology raises multiple ethical issues. Nonetheless, she is a live, vibrant human being who would not be here were it not for IVF – an emotional tug on voters’ hearts and a weapon to be used in the upcoming elections. Not surprisingly, Elizabeth Carr was a guest at President Biden’s State of the Union address.

Here is my question: There are many survivors of attempted abortions who would not be alive had the abortion been successful. They too are live, vibrant human beings who could also say that their lives give people hope. There are many adults whose birth mothers’ stories were heart-rending. Yet, these mothers endured their pregnancies and placed their infants up for adoption. If Elizabeth Carr’s life places an onus on others, don’t their lives do the same?

Claire Cuswell is one such survivor. Her 13-year-old mother was slated for a dismemberment late-term abortion, one that pulls the baby apart limb by limb. That did happen, but the team had not realized that she was pregnant with twins. Claire’s twin was dismembered. Claire survived. She was adopted and speaks of her happy upbringing and life. Her story makes abortion supporters uncomfortable. As she says, “I think for me, it [being ignored by the media and women’s groups] has been shocking, because to acknowledge that babies survive abortions and to acknowledge that we exist, they would have to go against everything that they have championed for so long. And so instead of acknowledging the truth, they are ignoring our existence.”

Melissa Ohden survived a failed saline infusion abortion. As a newborn gasping for breath, the medical team was instructed to leave her to die. One heroic nurse ignored that instruction and whisked her to the NICU.

I have not perused all the back issues of the Wall Street Journal. Perhaps they have run an emotional story about survivors of abortion that I missed. Maybe they have profiled women who, despite pressure, did not have abortions and who were grateful that their child lived. My point is that there are emotional anecdotes, stories, and responses on every controversial issue of the day. Basing important decisions on those stories is understandable, if potentially harmful, for individuals. For nations, it is dangerous and irresponsible.

This Musing is dedicated in memory of Yuri and Svetlana Lisovoy, ages 63 and 61. The couple was on a fishing trip off of Zikim Beach when they were murdered by terrrorists on October 7, 2023.

And with prayers for the safe release of those hostages who are still alive and the recovery of the bodies of those who have been murdered in Gaza. Among those taken to Gaza by Hamas terrorists is Emily Damari, age 27, a British and Israeli citizen.

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