Hilary White
Special to The Interim

The in-vitro fertilization industry is worried that a Chicago court decision, in which an embryo was ruled to be a human being, could put an end to IVF and abortion. On Friday, Feb. 4, Cook County Judge Jeffrey Lawrence ruled that a couple’s wrongful death lawsuit for the death of their embryonic child at a fertility lab could go forward.

The decision is likely to be overturned very quickly, but it can be considered a landmark case, being the first time any court in the U.S. has acknowledged that a human being and a human embryo are one and the same. The near-certainty of a quick reversal is not comforting to IVF clinics, who complain that the declaration of the humanity of the embryo could create a “chilling effect” for their industry and for that of abortionists.

“If the decision stands, it could essentially end in-vitro fertilization,” said Dr. Robert Schenken, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Schenken, who is also chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas in San Antonio, said doctors would not want to do in-vitro fertilization if there could be risk of a wrongful death lawsuit when an embryo is killed. Schenken did not mention that the killing of “spare” embryos is an integral part of the IVF procedure and that the great majority of embryos created artificially in labs are destroyed.

Before the legalization of artificial contraceptives, the idea that an unborn child comes into existence at the moment of conception was not a “controversial” or conservative political position, but merely rational acceptance of incontrovertible biological fact.

In the 1960s, however, pharmaceutical companines wanted to convince doctors to start prescribing the abortifacient hormonal contraceptive pill. To ease consciences, medical ethicists arbitrarily changed the definition of pregnancy to say that a human being does not come into existence until the embryo implants in the uterine wall. The embryo before implantation thus became a non-entity, one that the IVF industry and the law now treat as an expensive luxury product.

The Chicago court’s decision could herald the beginning of a change back to reality and that has the IVF industry – and, by extension – abortionists worried.

A lawyer for the Centre for Human Reproduction, James Kopriva, said, “We disagree with the court’s decision and do not believe Illinois law provides for the remedy provided by the court.” Judge Lawrence, in his decision, wrote that under Illinois law, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed on behalf of the unborn, regardless of age. Since the differences between a human being at the embryonic stage and, say, an adult lawyer, are only age, size, location and level of development, Judge Lawrence ruled that an embryonic human being is protected under the law.

Reprinted with permission of LifeSiteNews.com (Feb. 9)