In Dr. Seuss’s book Horton Hears a Who!, we read, “A person’s a person no matter how small.” Little did Theodore Seuss Geisel know how poignant his words would become over the next decades. Dr. Seuss clearly wasn’t making a political statement about abortion, but what he expressed is profoundly biologically accurate.

The moment a human egg is fertilized, a human person is formed—a human person distinctly different from his or her biological mother—right down to distinct DNA. Yes, a person’s a person no matter how small.

That reality played into the news this week here in Wisconsin and around the country. Last week, the Alabama Supreme Court handed down a decision in a case involving in vitro fertilization that seemingly set the world on fire. Much of the firestorm is because people don’t understand what happens with in vitro fertilization. Typically, in this process, many eggs are fertilized creating many embryos. Only a few embryos are implanted in the woman using this process. The embryos that are not implanted are usually frozen. If they are not used or adopted in a certain amount of time, they are destroyed.

The Alabama case focused on whether someone responsible for destroying some of these frozen embryos could be held liable under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor law. In this instance, someone had wandered into the room where these frozen embryos were stored and removed several, ultimately dropping them, which in the wording of the majority opinion author, “killed them.”

Bear in mind that these tiny human persons were the developing children of identified couples. The couples bringing the lawsuit alleged their minor children were killed. The high court agreed, ruling that the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act “applies on its face to all unborn children, without limitation.” The majority opinion also stated, “Unborn children are ‘children’ under the Act, without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristics,” meaning the fact that these embryos were not implanted did not make them less human.

Essentially what the Alabama high court said was a person’s a person no matter how small and no matter whether that person is in utero or in a frozen suspended state.

Some are saying this ruling means IVF will be deemed illegal in Alabama and perhaps elsewhere if other courts follow suit. That’s not what this decision says. What it says is you cannot destroy these tiny humans with impunity. We have long said every embryo—every tiny human— created in the IVF process must be implanted and given the opportunity to grow and develop. Creating excess embryos to freeze them and then most likely destroy them is wrong. You don’t have to stop doing IVF, but it must be done ethically.

Then, here in Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced last week that they have petitioned the Wisconsin Supreme Court to, in their words, “clarify” whether our State Constitution provides an unfettered right to abortion, apparently right up to birth. Planned Parenthood says our Constitution’s Declaration of Life, Section I, includes a right of “self-determination,” meaning women have a right to decide if they want to carry to term their tiny unborn human baby.

That section includes language declaring people “have certain inherent rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It appears Planned Parenthood takes the “self-determination” idea from “the pursuit of happiness,” conveniently ignoring the first inherent right—life. Tragically, the abortion giant has never acknowledged that a person is a person no matter how small, and now wants our state’s highest court to agree with them.

Rounding out last week on the life issue here, another abortion facility, one that has been shuttered since Roe was overturned, is reopening on March 5, putting our state back to where we were with abortion before the Dobbs decision.

Societies that do not operate by the biological reality that a person’s a person no matter how small are on a disastrous, destructive path—especially when you consider that at the moment of conception, a tiny human is bearing the image of God.

 

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